Jerry West isn’t a fan of HBO‘s “Winning Time.”
The new dramatized series about the Showtime Lakers has drawn mixed reviews from viewers, but the former Los Angeles star is threatening to sue HBO over what he believes is the show’s “harmful representation” of him.
Last week, West’s lawyers sent a letter to HBO demanding an apology for allegedly portraying West as an “out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic.” West, 83, on Tuesday told former Los Angeles Times sports editor Bill Dwyre that he is intent on suing HBO if it doesn’t offer a retraction.
“The series made us all look like cartoon characters,” West told Dwyre. “They belittled something good. If I have to, I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
HBO also released a statement on Tuesday.
“HBO has a long history of producing compelling content drawn from actual facts and events that are fictionalized in part for dramatic purposes,” the network said in the statement given to The Hollywood Reporter. “’Winning Time’ is not a documentary and has not been presented as such. However, the series and its depictions are based on extensive factual research and reliable sourcing, and HBO stands resolutely behind our talented creators and cast who have brought a dramatization of this epic chapter in basketball history to the screen.”
“Winning Time” is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.”
West isn’t the only former Laker unhappy with HBO‘s depiction. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar released a statement condemning the show’s portrayal of West.
“Instead of exploring his issues with compassion as a way to better understand the man, they turn him into a Wile E. Coyote cartoon to be laughed at,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. “He never broke golf clubs, he didn’t ‘t throw his trophy through the window. Sure, those actions make dramatic moments, but they reek of facile exploitation of the man rather than exploration of character.”