Sunday offered a very abrupt and unexpected end to “Winning Time” after just two seasons on HBO. The slow build of the show through the 1980s certainly indicated a much more long-term view from those creating the show, but those views clearly weren’t shared by everyone.
There was quite lot left on the bone as a result. In a recent interview on The Official Winning Time Podcast with Rodney Barnes, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who has repeatedly shown her support of the show, was asked about where she would like to see the show head in the future.
Barnes: Knowing where we’re going to end the ‘84 championships and knowing the outcome, where would you like to see us go in regards to the future?
Buss: I mean, you have to you have to let us redeem ourselves and finally beat the Celtics in 85. And I think even, you know, a heartbreaking moment... When Magic had to retire from HIV... I still have to explain to people that that was only 12 years into his career. He had a lot more basketball to play. And I think that’s a moment that you talk about a person and the right place to be a leader and to step up. We were all a wreck that day of the press conference and Magic was the one holding us up. And you know what? What a difference he made in bringing awareness to a disease... He never flinched.
It seemed like, again, “Winning Time” had ideas of including the scene of Magic’s HIV announcement as it was teased during the series. However, again, that doesn’t look to be in the cards right now with the series being canceled by HBO.
Now, this interview came before the announcement of the show not being renewed. But given her visions for the future, she was in support of the show having more seasons.
Barnes: Not knowing what the future holds, how do you think we did in portraying these two seasons?
Buss: It’s not enough. There’s more. There’s more stories to tell. And like the evolution of Pat Riley... It was very well written in terms of, you know, I had the experience — and it’s it’s reflected in the show — where one day I’m walking down the hallway at The Forum and I’m like ‘Hey, Riles.’ And he literally stops me and says ‘Jeanie, I’m Coach now, you have to call me Coach.’ And it was like, ‘okay, whatever.’ ... He really was where he wanted to be. And he was going to stand his ground. And what a time and a place for a person to be where they were meant to be.”
For now, we won’t see the evolution of Pat Riley from radio analyst to assistant coach to leader of a dynasty. It’s among the many things that we won’t get to see.
Theoretically, the show could potentially be picked up by other companies. It’s unclear if that would be an option and the strikes right now probably further cloud the future of the series, too.
But there’s no way we can really have this show end on the Celtics winning.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.