Few sports teams have united around a collective loathing of a TV show as much as the Los Angeles Lakers have done with HBO's "Winning Time," but the team's owner was a big fan of at least one aspect.
While promoting the Lakers-approved Hulu docuseries “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” Jeanie Buss singled out actor John C. Reilly's portrayal of her father Jerry Buss as not just good, but Emmy-worthy.
Buss: “That was entertainment that wasn’t based on a lot of truth, but it was entertaining for some people. I think John C. Reilly playing Dr. Jerry Buss — he should have been nominated for an Emmy.
Then she expanded on those thoughts in GQ, explaining that Reilly's portrayal brought back some fond memories of her dad:
I’m conflicted because I think John C. Reilly captured a lot of my dad in his performance. And, you know, I miss my dad. So, revisiting some of those fond memories, I have to say, was nice for me. But, you know: the timeline was completely wrong with my grandmother and things like that. I felt like I was watching a TV show, I wasn’t watching my life.
Reilly and the "Winning Time" crew certainly didn't portray Buss as saint; the deceased Lakers owner is often shown enjoying vices well-established as part of the Showtime Lakers story and regularly getting gruff with a number of figures. However, the show does emphasize him as an irreplaceable pillar of the team's success and show he's a family man as well.
Buss' praise (though she also criticized the show's generous creative license) stands out among the countless barbs thrown by some of the Lakers' most hallowed names. Magic Johnson refused to watch. Kareem Abdul Jabbar lambasted the show's writing. Jerry West demanded a retraction.
Such a reaction was inevitable given the show's promise to show the bad along with the good of the Showtime Lakers, and there was plenty of both (one of the players legit took out a hit on the head coach).
Reilly has received praise from other sources for his time as Buss, though the Emmy voters weren't as impressed with him and most other parts of the show. "Winning Time" received only one Emmy nomination for cinematography, while Jason Bateman ("Ozark"), Brian Cox ("Succession"), Lee Jung-jae ("Squid Game"), Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul"), Adam Scott ("Severance") and Jeremy Strong ("Succession") were all nominated over Reilly for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.