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‘Winning Time’ on HBO: Trailer, premiere date and everything we know about Lakers drama series

Winning Time HBO
Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson in 'Winning Time' (Image credit: Warrick Page/HBO)

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most iconic sports franchises in the world, so it’s certainly not a stretch that they would get their own HBO drama series. Chronicling the franchise’s meteoric rise in the 1980s, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty will bring fans a dramatic look at how the team, led by Jerry Buss and Magic Johnson, helped define an era of NBA basketball known as “Showtime.” 

HBO has long been a home of great sports content. In addition to its documentary and sports news programming, including Real Sports with Bryant Gumble, HBO has developed shows like Eastbound & Down, Ballers and the TV movie 61*. The premium cable channel is heading to the basketball court for this latest entry.

Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up, The Big Short) is producing Winning Time and is credited with directing one episode. Max Borensetin and Jim Hect co-created the series.

As we wait for Winning Time to tip off, here is everything that we know about the new HBO drama.

‘Winning Time’ premiere date

March is always a big basketball month with the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments (more affectionately known as March Madness). HBO hopes people stay in a basketball frenzy to watch Winning Time, as the series slides right into the month of March.

An exact date for Winning Time’s premiere is still TBD, though as a marquee TV series it would make sense if it winds up airing on a Sunday night as many of HBO’s biggest shows do. If that’s the case, then we’re looking at March 6, March 13, March 20 or March 27 as options.

‘Winning Time’ trailer

HBO unveiled Winning Time in big fashion with a trailer that highlights the time period and the kind of showmanship that the Lakers themselves delivered on the court. Looks to be a wild ride based on this quick look. Watch the full trailer below. 

‘Winning Time’ plot

You can gather a lot from the trailer above, but one thing that it omits is that Winning Time is based on the 2014 book by Jeff Pearlman, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. The book follows the Lakers from their selection of Earvin “Magic” Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft and dives into all of the larger-than-life personalities that made up the team, including other players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and head coach Pat Riley, and the run-and-gun style of play they used that became must-watch and helped define that era of basketball. 

Winning Time HBO

John C. Reilly, Gaby Hoffman and Hadley Robinson in 'Winning Time' (Image credit: Warrick Page/HBO)

HBO has not given their own official synopsis of Winning Time, but it sure looks clear that it will have a wide scope on all that was going on with the Lakers during this time. 

‘Winning Time’ cast

The Los Angeles Lakers were made up of plenty of all-star type players, well so is the roster of actors set to appear in Winning Time.

Headlining things is John C. Reilly. Best known for his roles in Step Brothers, Chicago and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Reilly will be playing Lakers owner Jerry Buss in the series. Joining Reilly will be the likes of Adrian Brody, Jason Clarke, Sally Field, Gabby Hoffman, Rob Morgan and newcomer Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson.

Here is a detailed list of the main cast:

  •  John C. Reilly - Jerry Buss 
  •  Quincy Isaiah - Magic Johnson 
  •  Jason Clarke - Jerry West 
  •  Adrien Brody - Pat Riley 
  •  Gaby Hoffman - Claire Rothman 
  •  Tracey Letts - Jack McKinney 
  •  Jason Segel - Paul Westhead 
  •  Hadley Robinson - Jeanie Buss 
  •  Dr. Solomon Hughes - Kareen Abdul-Jabbar 
  •  Tamera Tomakili - Earletha “Cookie” Kelly 
  •  DeVaugh Nixon - Norm Nixon 
  •  Rob Morgan - Earvin Johnson Sr. 
  •  Sally Field - Jessie Buss 
  •  Julianne Nicholson - Cranny McKinney 

How to watch ‘Winning Time’

Winning Time will air on HBO, which is a cable channel that is available on many traditional cable/satellite pay-TV subscription services, as well as an add-on for live TV streaming services like Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV. Check your provider to see if HBO is available on your deal.

The other option you will have to watch Winning Time is to stream it on the HBO Max platform. Subscribers to HBO get free access to HBO Max, but you can also sign up for it as a stand-alone streaming service for either $9.99 per month (with ads) or $14.99 per month (ad free). Winning Time would be available on HBO Max as soon as it airs on traditional HBO.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.