Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is definitely not a fan of “Winning Time,” the HBO series dramatizing 1980s Los Angeles and the rise of the NBA’s Lakers. In a lengthy review posted on his Substack, the Hall of Famer had some harsh criticisms of the show.
In his post, Abdul-Jabbar admits that he originally “had no real interest in watching the show,” simply because he actually lived through the events of the plot. “To watch 10 hours of someone else’s interpretation seemed like a waste of my time,” he writes.
To preface his thoughts, Abdul-Jabbar made it clear that his opinion on the show “has nothing to do with how I’m portrayed” or with how factual it is. That being said, he did have problems with how virtually everyone was portrayed — but more from an artistic, storytelling perspective.
“The characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Hans Solo resembles Harrison Ford,” he writes. “Each character is reduced to a single bold trait as if the writers were afraid anything more complex would tax the viewers’ comprehension.”
Then, the former Laker turned to the story of “Winning Time,” calling it “frenetic melodrama.”
“If you gathered the biggest gossip-mongers from the Real Housewives franchise and they collected all the rumors they heard about each other from Twitter and then played Telephone with each other you’d have the stitched together Frankenstein’s monster that is this show,” he added. “I was shocked that for all the talent and budget, the result was so lacking in substance and humor.”
In fact, the lack of humor was particularly surprising for Abdul-Jabbar, considering Adam McKay is at the helm of “Winning Time.” The athlete criticized virtually every attempt at humor in the show, calling them “as cringy as a bad ‘SNL’ skit.”
You can read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s full thoughts on “Winning Time” here.