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WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY S1 E9 “ACCEPTABLE LOSS” ๐Ÿคฉ

Powerhouse performances from damn near everyone.

PREMISE

As the Lakers prepare to enter the play-offs, Buss struggles with the team’s tenuous coaching situation and his mother’s failing health. Later, Haywood receives an ultimatum from Kareem.

EPISODE MVP

WOOD HARRIS – This was the episode in which many of the characters’ worlds were turned upside down after a ton of buildup. None of these instances are more notable than the somewhat tragic fall of Spencer Haywood. The man who was once married to Iman, the man who circumcised himself with his bare hands and became the stuff of legend, the man who was a pioneer given his antitrust lawsuit against the league that allowed college players to go into the league early… was one of the notable figures in the NBA during the leagues cocaine riddled 1980s era. Though always effective on the court, Haywood ultimately loses the trust of the team, the coaching, and most notably, his best friend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Quite possibly, my favorite moment in the show so far is a powerful monologue given by Hayward about his distrust in God after the team votes to have him kicked off right before the NBA finals. It is incredibly heartbreaking and very well performed. (More on that in just a second) Harris has been around for a long time. He’s been a recognizable face in many really famous movies and shows. But never really had a moment like this.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

JACK MCKINNEY’S COMEUPPANCE – Unfortunately, one of the lasting effects of last week’s disappointing episode was that it effectively and confusingly decided to make Jack McKinney thoroughly unlikable given his current circumstances. It was so effective in doing this that seeing his comeuppance happen in the way it does during this episode invokes no sympathy.

You’re not exactly laughing at the man for what he’s going through. But it feels like you’re watching one of those instant karma videos instead. It shouldn’t feel like that, and I know that wasn’t their intent. Tracy Letts is still incredible nonetheless, and aside from John C Reilly, it might be the best part about the entire show so far.

THE BUSS FAMILY – Speaking of Jerry Buss, this was the episode where he and the rest of his family had their worlds turned upside down in ways that I cannot spoil. In an episode filled with heavy moments, everything involving the storyline of everybody involved with the bus family has been exceptional. I can’t just give the credit to John C Reilly but also Sally Field, and Hadley Robinson.

SMALL DOSAGES OF MAGIC – If you’ve been reading these reviews for any particular length of time up until this point, you understand that the main weakness of the show has been everything involving Magic Johnson outside of team Dynamics and the basketball rivalry with Larry Bird. I’d often wondered what would happen if they gave a little bit more screen time to the rest of the team and limited the focus on him. In this episode, there’s plenty of Quincy Isaiah to go around, but he sprinkled here and there. This episode was focused on literally everyone else who had a storyline building up until this point, and I got to admit it was someone gratifying to see.

LINE OF THE WEEK

“My Mama used to tell that story, and without skipping a breath, she’d say, ‘God loves us.’ And it took me some years to muster up the gumption to ask… ‘why are we on the bottom, then? Everywhere you see a brown face you see tears on it. If he love us so damn much.. then why?’
And you know what she said?….
“God loves them more.”

– Spencer Haywood telling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about his sharecropping days.

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

There wasn’t much to dislike about this episode. In fact, this may be the second or third best episode of the series so far.

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I honestly don’t know what to expect at the season finale of this show. This is an episode that closed some of the storylines involving the main characters. The lack of Cookie and Magic melodrama is like a cool breeze on a really hot day. This is one of the better cast and shows to come on TV in a really really long time, and when the show is really good there’s at least one super amazing performance, in this episode had quite a few of them.ย 

WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY is playing on HBO MAX

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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