Season one of the controversial and popular HBO series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” wrapped up Sunday (May 8) with an episode about the Lakers’ game for the 1980 championship, and Hughes got an enthusiastic review from Esquire, which said this:
Solomon Hughes (as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) gave his best performance of the season.
And now that HBO has ordered a second season of the series, you might think Hughes will have a central role in it again. Well, there are some conflicting opinions about that, as we will detail later.
we Reported back in early April (including Hughes’ video interview with Fern Glenn) that the series marked Hughes’ first acting job, and that he did a lot of research and trained to master Abdul-Jabbar’s hook in preparation.
Solomon—now Dr. Solomon Hughes—was a member of Cal’s basketball teams from 1998 to 2002, starting 52 games for Cal, which won 20 games three times in his four-year career. He led the Pac-10 in field goal percentage in 2001 (62.9%), and was the team captain.
But now he’s getting good ratings for acting, and on April 4 Esquire.com published a story With the title: “Solomon Hughes Is Most Likely Star of the Year”.
There is no set date for the start of filming and broadcasting of the second season of the HBO series Lakers, and speculation about what will be the focus of the second season offers differing opinions on whether Hughes will participate.
The prevailing theory is that the second season will start where the first season left off. That would give the series a chance to examine the 1979-80 season and its aftermath more closely and perhaps explore the rivalry between Magic Johnson-Larry Bird.
Screenrant.com offered This possibility:
The win time The cast of season two should be filled with many more cast members than season one. The lineup of real-life characters needed to tell the next chapter of the story means viewers will see more of Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes), and Jerry Boss (John C. Reilly). There is also potential return for Paul Westhead (Jason Segel), Pat Riley (Adrien Brody), Jenny Boss (Hadley Robinson), Jerry West (Jason Clarke), Bill Sharman (Brett Cullen), Claire Rothman (Gabi Hoffman) and Michael. Cooper (Dilant D’Souza), Norm Nixon (Devin Nixon), Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small), Cookie Kelly (Tamera Tomacelli), and more.
TThe Sporting News Note this:
Winning Time is based on Jeff Perlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Only the first season marked the 1979-80 campaign, which ended with the Lakers winning 76ers in the NBA Finals, so the series certainly isn’t lacking in material for additional seasons.
Indiewire.com interviews series co-creator Max Bornsteinand what he says regarding a question about Larry Bird’s involvement in the story indicates that Hughes will be a part of Season 2 because it will include the Abdul-Jabbar part:
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[Indiewire]: Larry Bird (Sean Small) who is in this series has been filtered by Imagine Magic in this season. But that last minute of his backyard practice after the finals seems to hint that this character might grow into more of his person as the show goes on.
[Borenstein]: Anyone who knows the story of these two men, or has seen or read documentaries about them, knows that what began as a bitter resentment and rivalry eventually became a very complex friendship. In a way, they were the only two people who truly understood each other and so were very uniquely connected.
On our show, we hope we’ll have a chance to get there. The Celtics’ confrontation is similar to the White Walkers in “Game of Thrones”. They court her for a long time in this iteration of the breed and then eventually get there. When they do, it becomes a competition for the ages. And so that’s an indication that he’s more than just a villain, that there’s an inner being out there, that he’s just as competitive and driven as Magic Johnson. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to get to this place where we can explore the beginnings of their friendship and get into Larry’s POV, which is definitely part of our ambition at the end.
However, the Sporting News story and USA Today report speculated that several years could be skipped to focus on the Lakers’ later dynasty:
Brian Alexander from USA TODAY He wrote this via Yahoo.com:
HBO has already renewed “Winning Time” for a second season and selected Pearlman’s follow-up book, 2020 “Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil and Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty,” suggesting that the next installment will focus on the late 1990s and early 2000s. The twenty-first century, the era of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal.
Hughes is supposed to be left out of the cast if that’s the focus of season two. Unless of course there are flashbacks.
Another possibility is that HBO is already preparing for the third season of the series and that the second season will continue to deal with the years of Magic Johnson-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and leave the Shaq-Kobe story for the third season.
We’re not even sure if HBO has decided to focus on season two, as no date has been set for the start of filming. Best guess is that season two will start sometime in 2023.
One thing to remember: This series is a drama, not a documentary, and you should check out the many websites that deal with the series’ authenticity to find out what the truth is and what Hollywood movies were.
Cover image of Solomon Hughes Courtesy of Cal Athletics
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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