Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

DeVaughn Nixon On The Emotions Behind Playing His Dad, Lakers Great Norm Nixon, In Winning Time - Exclusive

While the new series "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" recounts the on- and off-court events of the "Showtime Lakers" in the 1980s, it goes far beyond the stories of team greats like Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes). The Showtime Lakers, after all, were a legendary team, and among the rest of the lineup was Norm Nixon, a two-time NBA All-Star who played point guard with the Lakers from 1977 to 1983.

New on HBO and HBO Max, "Winning Time" begins with the purchase of the Lakers by Dr. Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly), an innovative investor who aimed to revive the struggling NBA franchise that was on the verge of bankruptcy by bringing some showbiz pizazz to team's home games at the L.A. Forum. Buss knew the team also had to be explosive on the court, too, so he selected Johnson as the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft, a move met with resistance from Lakers player-turned-coach Jerry West (Jason Clarke), as well as Abdul-Jabbar and Nixon — since the new rookie also played point guard.

While the huge ensemble cast in this new TV series is loaded with screen legends and relative newcomers, the role of Norm Nixon is unique in that he's played by his real-life son, Marvel's "Runaways" star DeVaughn Nixon.

"I think I'm the only one that can really do him justice aside from my brother [because] me and my brother look alike," Nixon told Looper in an exclusive interview. "He's a little more fair-skinned than me, though, and me and my dad pretty much look like twins. If you put pictures of us side-by-side, and you put me in my wig and my dad in his wig, we look pretty much identical. It's a dream, man, it's a dream come true. Truly."

Nixon says it felt 'cool' stepping into his father's shoes

For DeVaughn Nixon, stepping back in time to recreate his father's character back in the day required everything from replicating his demeanor to even his sense of style — the latter earned the point guard a nickname, in addition to the "Stormin' Norman" moniker he was known for on the court.

"When I first read the pilot, I was like, 'Wow.' I was like, 'This is an incredible story.' I love how they showed my dad, and he was a cool character," Nixon beamed. "Making me step into those shoes, I felt cool. The way they told his story, how he was a beast on the court, and he was the best dressed — 'Savoir Faire' is what they called him — all of these elements they added to when I got mentally prepared to play my dad. Because there was some preparation, you know what I mean? [I prepared] physically [and tried] to find out how to follow the writing as well as trying to have the mannerisms and keep my dad true to himself."

"Winning Time" is made up of 10, one-hour episodes, which gives the series plenty of time to examine many key storylines throughout the series — and Nixon couldn't be any more thrilled to be part of it. "There are so many that people didn't know about, and there's so much story to cover and they did it so efficiently. Everybody gets to shine," Nixon said. "The ensemble here is extraordinary, especially the actors playing the characters, and it was truly an incredible long journey; a very long journey because the show was supposed to come out in 2020. We shot the pilot in 2019."

Also starring Adrien Brody, Sally Field, Jason Segel, and Michael Chiklis, the series "Winning Time" is now on HBO and HBO Max, with a new episode airing every Sunday through May 8.