Basketball Is to HBO’s New Lakers Series What Dragons Were to Game of Thrones, Says Writer

"Game of Thrones is a dragon show, so we got to deliver on our version of the dragons and battles," says Max Borenstein co-creator of HBO's new '80s basketball drama.

HBO Lakers Series NBA
HBO’s Los Angeles Lakers miniseries will explore the true story behind the franchise’s dynasty in the 1980s. Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Not a whole lot is known about HBO’s untitled Los Angeles Lakers limited series based on the book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. The sports drama is being developed by Adam McKay (ViceThe Big Short), Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Max Borenstein (WorthGodzilla vs. Kong) and has assembled an impressive cast of talent ranging from John C. Reilly (Jerry Buss) and Adrien Brody (Pat Riley) to Sally Field (Jessie Buss) and Jason Segel (Paul Westhead). We know it will revolve around the Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led Lakers of the ’80s. But outside of that, specific details have been few and far between.

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Given the way biopics tend to sanitize the source material, it’s fair to wonder if the HBO series will delve into the less-than-flattering real world drama of the time. The Lakers are a prestigious NBA franchise with a glitzy sheen, but as anyone familiar with the book already knows, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows behind closed doors. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound as if the show will shy away from those elements.

“It’s a continuing drama that’s inspired by the true events and will be very factually checked,” Borenstein told Observer. “As a result, I’m doing my best to tell the loving version of the works and all the story. Life, sports, and all. At the same time, we’re huge fans of basketball, of the Lakers, of these individuals and these people who made up this moment. There’s great affection in all of the portrayals. But of course, part of the fun of it is seeing the true story of what happened.”

The Lakers would ultimately win five NBA championships in the 1980s, becoming one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. As a result, any depiction of this era comes with a high expectation from sports fans. HBO is known for its sparkling dramas, but the Lakers series will also attempt to deliver NBA spectacle that do the legendary icons of the sport justice.

“People will see their share of basketball,” Borenstein said. “Certainly, we’re bringing the barrel, the movie magic that we can to deliver something that’s going to have a lot of character, a lot of a drama, a lot of humor. A lot of that great tone that Adam brings to his films, I think carries into the DNA of the story that we’re telling and there’s spectacle too. It’s a basketball show. Game of Thrones is a dragon show, so we got to deliver on our version of the dragons and battles.”

HBO has not yet announced a premiere date for the Lakers limited series.

Basketball Is to HBO’s New Lakers Series What Dragons Were to Game of Thrones, Says Writer