LA Lakers Drama 'Winning Time' is Like 'The Crown' According to Showrunner Max Borenstein

The new sports drama Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is similar to The Crown—but not in the way you'd think, according to showrunner Max Borenstein.

The upcoming HBO Max TV series has been created by Borenstein, Adam McKay and Jim Hecht, and stars the likes of John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Sally Field, Rob Morgan, Adrien Brody and Jason Segal.

The show is based on Jeff Pearlman's book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. The first-look trailer of Winning Time revealed the series will arrive on HBO Max in March 2022.

Borenstein, whose credits include the recent Godzilla movies and the Netflix original Worth, spoke to Newsweek about what to expect from the new show, which tells the story of the L.A. Lakers rise to success in the 80s.

Making an unexpected comparison but then clarifying his intention, Borenstein told Newsweek: "I've compared it, not tonally or in any other way, to The Crown or a show like The Crown, in the sense that it's based in fact."

He continued: "It's inspired by a true story. Obviously, there are liberties taken because it's a dramatization and we have an incredible cast playing these characters."

Max Borenstein Winning Time
Max Borenstein (left) is the showunner for the new HBO Max show "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" which stars Quincy Isaiah (right) Cindy Ord / Warrick Page/Getty Images / HBO

Continuing his comparison to The Crown, Borenstein thinks Winning Time is also similar because of the powerful people who're the focus. "In a sense, it is a dynasty story, because it's an American dynasty, where instead of royalty, it deals with celebrity and all those kinds of American teams."

In 2020, even people who weren't usually fans of basketball became interested in the NBA due to the success of the Netflix documentary The Last Dance. That series featured interviews with real players from the successful Chicago Bulls team featuring Michael Jordan in the 80s and 90s. It also highlighted the rivalry between the Bulls and the Lakers, including an aging Magic Johnson.

 Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers
"Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" stars John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah and Jason Clarke. It's scheduled to air in March 2022 on HBO Max. Warrick Page/HBO

Borenstein acknowledges The Last Dance's success but says the two projects are completely different.

"We're really proud of it [Winning Time]. We shot it before The Last Dance. We shot the pilot before The Last Dance and before the pandemic and then we've been biding our time patiently. Fortunately we've been able to come back and start making the rest of the show," Borenstein said.

In terms of the tone of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Borenstein thinks McKay's (The Big Short, Don't Look Up) involvement will be felt onscreen.

John C. Reilly Winning Time
John C. Riley leads the cast of "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" while Gabby Hoffman and Hadley Robinson also star Warrick Page/HBO

"It is certainly funny. Adam McKay directed the pilot, who obviously is brilliant and funny and many things," Borenstein continued, "And yes, it's got a tone that is not dissimilar from Adam's films like The Big Short. Where it's a true story, it can go deep, it goes deep into character, and at the same time, it's got irreverence and humor and it's kind of light on its feet."

McKay directs the pilot episode and is credited as an executive producer while Borenstein is the showrunner, writer, co-creator and executive producer. Hecht is also a co-writer, co-creator and executive producer.

The exact launch date of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty has yet to be announced but it's currently scheduled to air on HBO Max some time in March 2022. The series comprises of ten episodes which will air on HBO before becoming available to stream on HBO Max.

Solomon Hughes
Solomon Hughes stars as Kareem Abdul Jabbar in "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" on HBO Max Warrick Page/HBO