Lodi News-Sentinel

HBO defends ‘Winning Time’ against Jerry West’s criticism of portrayal

- FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS — Kate Feldman, New York Daily News

NEW YORK — HBO would like to remind you — and Jerry West — that “Winning Time” is not a documentar­y.

The network is sticking by its Showtime era Lakers show after team icon Jerry West lashed out about how he was portrayed in the series.

“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 network told the New York Daily News in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

Last week, lawyers for West, who played for the Lakers before becoming the head coach and then general manager, demanded a retraction and public apology for his depiction in “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” calling it “a baseless and malicious assault” that “falsely and cruelly portrays Mr. West as an out-of-control, intoxicate­d rage-aholic” and “bears no resemblanc­e to the real man.”

“The portrayal of NBA icon and L.A. Lakers legend Jerry West in ‘Winning Time’ is fiction pretending to be fact — a deliberate­ly false characteri­zation that has caused great distress to Jerry and his family,” his lawyer, Skip Miller, said in a letter sent to HBO and producer Adam McKay and obtained by the Daily News.

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