‘Winning Time’ Season 3 Would Have Focused on Lakers-Celtics Rematch, EP Says

HBO canceled the series on Sunday after its Season 2 finale

Warrick Page/HBO

Season 2 of “Winning Time” concluded Sunday evening with the Lakers’ devastating loss to the Celtics during the 1984 NBA finals, and as it turns out the episode serves as the series finale for the HBO series — the network announced Sunday night that it would not be moving forward with more seasons.

But that’s not to say future seasons weren’t already in mind for the show’s creators.

“In real life, the Lakers come back and beat the Celtics the next year. So that would absolutely be at the heart of any Season 3,” executive producer Kevin Messick told TheWrap during an interview conducted before the show’s fate had been determined. “In terms of the longevity of the show, there’s a lot more Laker stories to tell, a lot more characters, larger than life, as big and bigger than Magic [Johnson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] that have yet to enter onto the stage.”

“Winning Time” draws from author and sports writer Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” autobiographies from individuals portrayed in the show and print and video interviews. It also leverages actual footage from Lakers games.

“If the show is successful, we bought the rights to Jeff’s books that keep chronicling the adventures,” Messick added, stressing his hope at the time to keep the show running for many years to come. “We’ll keep creating great seasons, hopefully that allow us to come back and fight another day, but we’re gonna take it one season at a time.”

Pearlman previously issued a plea on social media calling on audiences to help the HBO drama get renewed for a third season.

“I’m telling you — the future of ‘Winning Time’ hangs in the balance. We need viewers. The strikes are crippling. Please help spread the word. Season 2 is amazing. But … HBO is big on #s,” he wrote on X. “And, to be blunt, I’m worried there won’t be a season three. And it’s not about me. I’m fine. It’s about a cast of amazing young actors who live this. So, seriously, tell your friends to support “Winning Time” and show @hbo you want it to continue. Peace. #winningtime.”

“Winning Time” stars Quincy Isaiah, Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, Jason Clarke, Gaby Hoffmann, Jason Segel, Hadley Robinson, Sean Patrick Small, DeVaughn Nixon, Solomon Hughes, Tamera Tomakili, Brett Cullen, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Spencer Garrett, Molly Gordon, Joey Brooks, Delante Desouza, Jimel Atkins, Austin Aaron, McCabe Slye, Thomas Mann, Gillian Jacobs, with Michael Chiklis and Rob Morgan.

In addition to Messick, the series is executive produced by Adam McKay, showrunner, writer, and co-creator Max Borenstein, writer and co-creator Jim Hecht, director Salli Richardson-Whitfield, writer Rodney Barnes, Scott Stephens and Jason Shuman.

The first two seasons of “Winning Time” are available to stream now on Max.