Memo to Shallow Laker Honks

By T.J. Simers

Laker honks, you’re gonna love HBO’s season 2 about your heroes, of course missing the point about how shallow it makes you all appear.

I watched the first episode of season 2 of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, but have no idea how shallow you must have been to adopt these bum steers as your idols.,

The HBO show, based on “Showtime,” by Jeff Pearlman, makes everyone appear devoid of any redeeming qualities beyond shooting a ball, and yet the people of Los Angeles adore them.

Jerry Buss comes across as the worst father imaginable on an episode dedicated to fatherhood, his sons—dopes and his daughter winning favor because she sucks up to daddy by telling him she’s just like him.

Paul Westhead and Pat Riley have been assigned the roles of resident buffoons and Jerry cussing West would never become the NBA logo if this is how the league regarded him. West ought to be suing the makers of this show, his reputation trashed.

Magic Johnson comes across as a sex fiend, his knee brace ruining his time in bed with one young lady and then listening to his knee talk to him. Amazing the access Pearlman must have had.

Magic is portrayed as an egotistical me and me only player, who is the last guy I would want my son accepting as a role model. And you people were buying his jersey.

The father of the girl that Magic knocks up early on with the Lakers, says, “I want (Magic) to step up and be a father and not a coward,” as a financial payoff is discussed.

“Until this is all worked out,” Magic tells his parents, “I got to be thinking about me.”

Magic. Magic. Magic.

Magic is later seen holding his baby and asking the birth mother what his name is. Very heartwarming.

Magic’s father tells a money-grubbing lawyer that Magic’s family has worked everything out with the girl’s family. No idea if the Lakers were part of that deal.

When the episode shifts to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he comes across as a brooding isolationist, and well, maybe they nailed that.

The Lakers do well in Westhead’s system until Magic returns from his knee injury, the Lakers beating Boston until he shows up to watch the game and the crowd starts chanting his name.

That’s shallow Laker fans for you, Magic turning to the camera and badmouthing the guy playing Larry Bird, everyone watching in Lakerland probably yelling, “Yeah!”

The episode goes deep into Buss’ relationship with his kids, the abusive father belittling his sons and then leaving in a huff to pull out the scrapbook he’s kept of all the women he dated over the years. I’m not sure that’s what my wife means when she says she’s going to do some scrapbooking.

Jerry’ has just belittles his sons, but for the moment he’s not any of the beauties in the scrapbook believe in him. Jeanie overhears and tells her dad she’s always believed in him. The closest Pearlman comes to chills, and I wonder where he was sitting when Jeanie told that to her dad.

A short time later we see Magic’s wife, “Cookie,” telling Magic’s mother that Magic will soon be on the prowl for another woman. I presume that’s where Chick Hearn got the saying: “The game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jello’s jiggling.”

Magic’s mother explains to Cookie that Magic’s father had another family, so she takes comfort in that.

As soap operas go, Pearlman has given the show’s writers a wonderful framework built on angst, an illegitimate child, bungling brothers, a daughter who is a climber a womanizing father and heroes on the basketball court adored by millions who are really troubled human beings.

Perfect for Lakers’ fans who want to relive the glory days.

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