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See Michael Chiklis as Basketball Coaching Legend Red Auerbach in HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ (Exclusive)

“Red Auerbach was one of a kind,” Chiklis said in a statement to TheWrap

“The Shield” alum Michael Chiklis is playing legendary NBA Boston Celtics coach-turned-general manager Red Auerbach in HBO’s new series “Winning Time: The Rise of The Lakers Dynasty,” and TheWrap has an exclusive look at the actor in character.

In the new pic, Chiklis, as Auerbach, is seated at a table during what looks like the NBA draft.

“Red Auerbach was one of a kind,” Chiklis said in a statement to TheWrap. “A larger than life character and competitor. In a word…iconic. What a blast to slip into his jacket for a while as an actor and a guy from the Boston area.”

Here’s a description of Chiklis’ character, per HBO: As the coach of the Celtics, Red Auerbach won nine NBA championships. As general manager, he won seven more. When the Lakers’ rise threatens his Boston dynasty, Auerbach proves himself to be the basketball genius and cut-throat competitor of every Laker fan’s nightmares.

Premiering March 6 on HBO (it will also be available to stream on HBO Max), “Winning Time” follows the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, “a team that defined an era, both on and off the court,” per HBO’s logline. It’s based on Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.”

During a panel with TV reporters on Tuesday about the show, executive producer Adam McKay addressed how the show looks at the change in basketball from Auerbach’s era brought on by Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers.

“With Magic, what was so amazing about him was that he was this blend of joy and skill and winning that, up until that point, you had the Red Auerbach era of the NBA in the ’60s and there was this idea that Bobby Knight, sort of three passes before you shoot was the answer. And what’s so amazing about Magic, we know the smile, we know the incredible creativity, but he was a winner,” McKay said. “And I think that’s what’s so exciting about this story is you saw this style that previously people would have rolled their eyes at becoming the dominant style of the NBA.”

The “Winning Time” cast includes John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, Gaby Hoffmann as Claire Rothman, Tracy Letts as Jack McKinney, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, Julianne Nicholson as Cranny McKinney, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, DeVaughn Nixon as Norm Nixon, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tamera Tomakili as Cookie Kelly, Brett Cullen as Bill Sharman, Stephen Adly Guirgis as Frank Mariani, Spencer Garrett as Chick Hearn, Sarah Ramos as Cheryl Pistono, Molly Gordon as Linda Zafrani, Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen, Delante Desouza as Michael Cooper, Jimel Atkins as Jamaal Wilkes, Austin Aaron as Mark Landsberger, Jon Young as Brad Holland, with Rob Morgan as Earvin Johnson Sr. and Sally Field as Jessie Buss. 

McKay directed the pilot. He executive produces with Kevin Messick for Hyperobject Industries. Max Borenstein is an executive producer, co-creator and the show runner. Jim Hecht is executive producer, writer and co-creator. Rodney Barnes serves as executive producer and writer. Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens also serve as executive producers.