While the reception from fans has been largely positive when it comes to HBO’s series Winning Time, effectively everyone associated with the Lakers — with a few exceptions — has decried the show. Whether it was for factual inaccuracies or character portrayals or something in-between, the criticisms came on strong during the show’s inaugural season.
But the latest Laker comment on Winning Time could hardly be more complimentary, nor could it come from a more prominent person associated with the franchise. During a recent interview with Addie Morfoot of Variety where she discussed the new Legacy docuseries on Hulu, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss offered one of the more glowing reviews of John C. Reilly’s portrayal of her father, Dr. Jerry Buss.
“That was entertainment that wasn’t based on a lot of truth, but it was entertaining for some people. I think John C. Reilly playing Dr. Jerry Buss — he should have been nominated for an Emmy.
In a separate interview with Tyler R. Tynes of GQ, Jeanie dove a little bit deeper into both what she liked about Reilly’s portrayal of her father and the parts the show got wrong.
“I’m conflicted because I think John C. Reilly captured a lot of my dad in his performance. And, you know, I miss my dad. So, revisiting some of those fond memories, I have to say, was nice for me. But, you know: the timeline was completely wrong with my grandmother and things like that. I felt like I was watching a TV show, I wasn’t watching my life.”
While it was a controversial selection that actually led to a friendship ending, Reilly turned out to be a solid choice for the lead of the show.
And, honestly, this is about as much of a compliment as I’d expect Jeanie to give the program itself. It does imply that she has watched the show, which is farther than either Magic Johnson or Jerry West could go before criticizing it themselves.
Also unlike the others that have criticized the show, Jeanie does recognize it is a piece of entertainment. It’s not a series that was intended to be completely factual and they’ve bended the truth for dramatic effect. It didn’t appeal to Jeanie or most associated with the Lakers but it resonated with lots of Lakers fans.
This is probably as much of an endorsement as the Lakers are ever going to give the show as well. Given the response from most of the rest of the former Lakers, there likely won’t be much more backing by the franchise, but it’s still a huge compliment from Jeanie to Reilly.