BSM Column: HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ an equal opportunity offender

For this week’s Barrett Sports Media column, I wrote about HBO’s Los Angeles Lakers series, Winning Time, and the controversy it’s generated for how several real-life figures are portrayed.

I’m really enjoying the series for depicting the early-1980s era of the NBA and the insight it provides into the sport. But the show is also ruthless in making virtually everyone in the story look bad. The portrayal of legendary player, coach, and executive Jerry West has been particularly surprising, and he’s spoken out publicly against it.

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson doesn’t come off looking good, either.

The series makes a point of demonstrating that dropping a 20-year-old basketball sensation and savior of a franchise into a den of temptation would inevitably lead to trouble. The story begins by showing us the eventual results of Johnson’s promiscuous ways. But the way Johnson treats the many women in his life and those who can help him make money and become a celebrity is hardly flattering.

You can read the entire column here.

Michael K. Williams was always the most compelling person on the screen

The best thing I can think of to say about Michael K. Williams is that he made you take notice.

The actor was found dead on Labor Day (Sept. 6) in his Brooklyn apartment. Though a cause of death wasn’t announced, Williams died from an apparent drug overdose judging from heroin found nearby and no foul play in evidence.

If he was on an HBO series, it had to be taken seriously. And Williams could be called Mr. HBO. Of course, he broke out on The Wire. Omar LIttle was Batman, Paul Kersey, and Robin Hood, striking fear in the hearts of criminals with lethal fury. But he also had a tender side which was revealed in his personal life, making him sympathetic and resonant.

“A-Hunting We Will Go” would never just be a kids’ folk song again.

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‘Batman: Caped Crusader’ bringing back an animated Batman, which we must always have

Benjamin Franklin said only two things in life were certain: Death and taxes. I think he could’ve added that there will always be a Batman cartoon on the air, though Franklin died 149 years before The Dark Knight debuted in Detective Comics No. 27.

My contention that there’s always a Batman cartoon on the air doesn’t quite hold up either. The last one was Beware the Batman, a computer-animated series which Cartoon Network pulled off its schedule in 2013. (The series, including seven episodes that were burned off on Adult Swim’s Toonami, can now be seen on HBO Max. I’m catching up on that someday.)

But with a new Batman movie set to be released in 2022, WarnerMedia is launching a new animated series as well. And this one has some star power behind it. According to DC, Batman: Caped Crusader has been ordered for HBO Max and Cartoon Network, going straight to series. No pilot episode and series order necessary.

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