'Winning Time' Season 2: Here's how sequel sets up Lakers vs Celtics rivalry that defined 80s NBA
The Lakers winning the 1980 NBA Finals kicked off a decade that saw some intense rivalry between the Purple and Gold and the Green
The final minutes of 'Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty' see Sean Patrick Small's Larry Bird practicing after the Los Angeles Lakers, led by rookie Earvin 'Magic' Johnson (Quincy Isiah) win the 1980 NBA Finals. This, coupled with the brief, but a flickering encounter between Red Auerbach (Michael Chiklis).
This could pretty much set up the next season that was already confirmed by HBO midway into season 1. The Celtics-Lakers connection has always been around in the first installment and will almost surely delve into their massive rivalry heading into the new season.
'Winning Time' Season 2 sets up the Lakers vs Celtics rivalry
The Lakers winning the 1980 NBA Finals kicked off a decade that saw some intense rivalry between the Purple and Gold and the Green. Both of the teams were in the mix in the Finals although they faced off just twice. The Bird vs Magic storyline just heightened the stakes. The Lakers Championship run in 1980 was followed by Boston winning the Championship in 1981. They won two more times in five final appearances. The two teams also faced off each other in 1984 — where the Lakers were defeated in Game 7, and they had their payback the following year beating the C's in six games.
Safe to say, this rivalry pretty much resurrected the NBA which was seen as a dwindling sport. What followed later was the emergence of a certain Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls to whom the 90s belonged. In an interview with IndieWire, series co-creator Max Borenstein shed some thoughts on Bird and how he may have a crucial season 2. "Anyone who knows the story of these two guys, has seen the documentaries or read about them, knows that what starts out as an intense bitter resentment and rivalry ultimately became very, very deep complicated friendship, " he said. "In a way, they were the only two guys who really understood each other and so they were very uniquely bonded."
In our show, hopefully, we have an opportunity to get there. Getting to face the Celtics is like the White Walkers in “Game of Thrones.” They flirt with it for quite a while in this iteration of the dynasty and then only eventually get there. When they do, it becomes a rivalry for the ages. And so this is the hint that he’s 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. Hopefully, we have an opportunity to get to that place where we get to explore the beginnings of their friendship and get into Larry’s POV, which is certainly part of our ambition eventually."
'Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty' will return with a new season. Meanwhile, for those who missed out, the complete season can be streamed on HBO Max.