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Winning Time Season 2 - What We Know So Far

Season 1 of HBO's sports drama "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" made waves for its controversial depictions of NBA legends and irreverent, fourth-wall-breaking tone in dramatizing the Los Angeles Lakers at the ascent of Jerry Buss' (John C. Reilly) purchase of the franchise and Magic Johnson's (Quincy Isaiah) joining the team at the onset of the 1979-80 season.

According to Variety, HBO renewed "Winning Time" for a second season in April 2022, at a point where only the first five episodes of Season 1 had aired. The first season culminated in the Lakers' championship victory over the Julius Erving-led Philadelphia 76ers in six games; Buss, Johnson, Paul Westhead (Jason Segel), Jerry West (Jason Clarke), and Pat Riley (Adrien Brody) pull off the unthinkable and usher in a dynasty hand-crafted to drive the NBA to new heights in the 1980s. "Winning Time" won over audiences and critics alike with Rotten Tomatoes approval scores that sit in the high 80s, even as the show's wealth of creative liberties drew intense criticism from real-life Lakers legends in Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jerry West.

As "Winning Time" returns for a second season, series creators Max Borenstein, Jim Hecht, and executive producer Adam McKay have plenty to run with in the wide sandbox that is the '80s NBA, and effective storylines to build off from the show's first season. With all that in mind, here is what we know so far about "Winning Time" Season 2.

What NBA season will Winning Time Season 2 cover?

"Winning Time" Season 1 covered the 1979-1980 NBA season, starting from Jerry Buss' purchase of the Lakers and the team drafting Magic Johnson first overall in that year's draft. Though the season ends with the Lakers winning a title, there's plenty more where that came from. In real life, the Lakers won four more championships in the '80s; Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's second ring together came just two seasons later in 1982 with another NBA Finals victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (via Basketball-Reference).

Series creator Max Borenstein recently told IndieWire that he hopes "Winning Time" is able to continue to depict the rivalry and eventual friendship between Johnson and Boston Celtics star Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small) and even use Bird as a point-of-view character in the series. Borenstein even compared Bird and the Celtics in his show to the White Walkers in "Game of Thrones" as a villain to build up to — after all, the teams competed against one another in the NBA Finals in 1984, 1985, and 1987.

"And so this is the hint that [Larry Bird is] more than just the villain, that there's an internal presence there, and that he's every bit as competitive and driven as Magic Johnson," Borenstein told IndieWire.

It's unclear exactly how "Winning Time" plans to sift through the remainder of the '80s; Johnson missed much of the 1980-81 season with a knee injury and the team was eliminated in the postseason's first round by the Houston Rockets (via The New York Times). While it may be more apt for the series to pick up in 1981 when Buss fired Paul Westhead and replaced him with Pat Riley, Jeff Pearlman, who wrote the book on which "Winning Time" was based, told Lakers Nation that Season 2 will most likely focus on the dynamic between Westhead and Riley as they fully take the reins in the 1980-81 season, and how Riley will eventually have a greater influence over the Lakers than Westhead.