HBO is known for creating high quality and critically acclaimed content, but some of its offerings pass under the radar and are overshadowed by the blockbuster options. Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is an example of a series on the platform that didn’t get much attention upon its release in 2022. However, it’s one that more people should think about watching.
The series created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht will appeal to basketball fans greatly, as it details one of the most important periods in the NBA’s history. It can also act as an excellent introduction to the sport for people who want to get into it.
NBA Has Attracted Global Audiences in Various Ways Over the Years
HBO’s recent foray into the world of NBA is the latest in many entertainment offerings that have helped spread the league to global audiences. The sport is hugely popular across the USA, with more than 12.4 million people watching it now and viewership on the rise. Back when the competition was in its infancy, it was brought to mainstream attention thanks to leading teams like the Los Angeles Lakers. This was particularly the case in the 1980s, when the Showtime style of play that the team adopted helped enamor millions more followers to the brand.
During this period, teams like the Lakers and the Boston Celtics started helping to promote the NBA on a global scale. International fans were able to forge connections with teams based on their favorite players or the history of the franchise. For example, the Celtics helped to allure viewers in Ireland thanks to their Irish connection. The team has a huge following in the country, where viewers can view the matches using the NBA League Pass. There’s also a thriving betting industry around the sport, with online betting sites in Ireland like GreatWin and Luckster Sport offering NBA markets. They have competitive offers for new bettors too, with free bets and deposit match bonuses available.
More recently, the streaming era has been the latest method for the NBA to reach new audiences. One of the most successful sports documentaries in recent times was The Last Dance on Netflix. The 2020 miniseries from Jason Hehir focused on Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls, and their famous 1997-98 season. It received high critical acclaim and various awards, and this led to a flurry of other NBA-related programs in the years that followed. HBO’s series is one of the most recent ones, but it is unique in the way that it dramatized the events it was depicting rather than present them in a documentary style.
Winning Time is One of the Best Basketball Series to Date
Winning Time has many aspects working in its favor that make it one of the greatest basketball series ever made. Thanks to opting for a dramatization approach, the creators were able to take Jeff Pearlman’s Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s and add their own flavor to the content. There are many aspects of the series that are historically accurate, but there are also elements that have been exaggerated or embellished for television. The first season was ten episodes, each with a runtime of more than 54 minutes. This means that viewers can get highly immersed in the story.
There are some big names involved with Winning Time, which helped boost the quality of the show and garner critical acclaim. Adam McKay served as the executive producer and director on one of the episodes. The 54-year-old has become an influential figure in the streaming sphere in recent years, and has been lauded for his work on Succession and Don’t Look Up as well. Winning Time also has an incredible cast, which is fitting for an HBO series. John C. Reilly plays the lead role of Jerry Buss, and he’s accompanied by other huge names like Adrien Brody and Jason Segel.
Winning Time has been renewed for a second season, which could help the series gain more popularity. The first set of episodes peaked towards the end when the ninth and tenth attracted half a million viewers each. Its sophomore season is expected in 2023 and could draw more viewers to go back and check out season one before watching it.
What Other Sport Content Has HBO Produced?
Winning Time isn’t the only sport-themed series for HBO viewers to watch. Ballers is another much-loved show for sports fans, which focused on NFL. The show starred Dwayne Johnson as a retired player as he had to manage other star players in the league. It ran for five seasons between 2015 and 2019, and was lauded by critics. Along with review sites enjoying the accessible premise of the show and the depiction of one of America’s most-loved sports, they also praised Johnson for bringing charm to the role. This outing elevated the former WWE star’s profile massively and acted as a springboard to his becoming a Hollywood A-lister.
Eastbound & Down is another loosely sport-related HBO offering. The comedy series created by Danny McBride, Ben Best, and Jody Hill revolved around McBride’s Kenny Powers, a former professional baseball pitcher in MLB. This was also produced by McKay, who teamed up with regular collaborator Will Ferrell. It ran for four seasons and featured some amazing comic moments. One notable thing about this offering was that its reception improved as it went on. The fourth season holds a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The series also helped McBride become a household name and gave him the platform to make other great content including Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones.
It has been more than a year already since the release of season one of Winning Time, so it would be wise to expect season two to come soon. This could be considered essential viewing for lovers of basketball, along with people who want to get a solid introduction to the rich history of the sport and its all-star players.