With the first season of the HBO drama Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty scheduled to air next month, talks have already begun surrounding the show’s second season. According to reports, this follow-up, which has been “quietly optioned” by the network, would focus on the Los Angeles Lakers’ teams of the late ’90s and early aughts, which won three straight NBA titles and were led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
“If the stories are there and the different eras are there, why not keep exploring it?,” HBO Content Chief Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the second season will be based on author Jeff Pearlman’s 2020 book, Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty. The novel, which “takes readers through the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal era of the Lakers,” was released months following Bryant’s tragic death and received backlash due to what many considered an unflattering portrayal of the late NBA legend by Pearlman. However, Pearlman wrote a statement further explaining the context of his book, noting that it was based on a specific period of time in Bryant’s life and career and is not a referendum on the man he would ultimately become.
“The Kobe Bryant of 1996 to 2004 is not the Kobe Bryant of 2005 to January 26, 2020,” Pearlman wrote, per Time. “He was not then the contemplative adult who raved of having four daughters. He was not then the doting husband. He was not then the Academy Award winner. He was not yet comfortable in his own skin.”
The first episode of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty will air on Sunday, March 6 on HBO.