NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal is the latest Los Angeles Lakers alumni to react to HBO's "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty," TV series which has garnered multiple controversial reactions from Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
O'Neal believes that West has every right to be mad about his portrayal on the show.
“I like it, but I don't like how they depict my good friend Jerry West. But other than that, I think it's very interesting.” O'Neal said, as reported by Reuters. “Jerry was always kind and compassionate to me. I've never seen him have those meltdowns. So I think that portrayal of Mr. West was probably false,” O'Neal added.
West threatens to take his case with HBO to the Supreme Court
After demanding an apology from the show's producers for his portrayal, West came out with a statement via The Los Angeles Times last April 23, noting that he's willing to go as far as the Supreme court to sue the people in charge of his characterization in the series.
"The series made us all [the Lakers] look like cartoon characters," West told the Los Angeles Times. "They belittled something good. If I have to, I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court," West said.
Moments after West's statements were published, HBO clapped back and released their own announcement saying that they stand by the show's production.
"HBO has a long history of producing compelling content drawn from actual facts and events that are fictionalized in part for dramatic purposes. 'Winning Time' is not a documentary and has not been presented as such," the company said via The Athletic.
"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," HBO added.
O'Neal may have West's back, but it seems HBO isn't backing down from its critics. It makes sense as to why West would react this way because, in case you haven't watched a single episode, The Logo's character in "Winning Time" is portrayed as this hot-tempered and chaotic dude who can't seem to get his life in order. Some scenes displayed West's stubborn personality and how that impacted the Lakers during its foundation days.
O'Neal wants him, and Kobe Bryant, featured in the series
"Let's do it," O'Neal said about a potential series focused on him and Kobe Bryant.
HBO announced this month that "Winning Time" was renewed for a second season. The creative team hasn't publicly announced what the new season will cover, but it will likely pick up where the first season left off.
There are no reports yet on whether the series will feature O'Neal and Bryant's three-peat run, but maybe it might just happen one day since the duo's run perfectly fits the theme of the show.