The critically acclaimed HBO television series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty has been cancelled after airing its second season. Max Borenstein, the creator of the series, shared both his dissatisfaction and thankfulness in a statement, suggesting the show didn’t reach its envisioned conclusion.
Director Salli Richardson also took to Instagram to express her sense of accomplishment for the team’s efforts in making the series.
He expressed, “Not the ending that we had in mind, but nothing but gratitude and love.”
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book chronicling the 1980s LA Lakers, the show’s second season premiered on August 6 and was watched by 629,000 viewers on both HBO Max and traditional TV platforms.
This was a drop from its first season, which started with an audience of 901,000 and peaked at 1.6 million viewers during the season’s final episode. The initial season’s success was likely boosted by airing alongside the March Madness basketball tournament, drawing in fans of the sport.
The latest season covered historical moments ranging from the 1980 NBA Finals to the year 1984 and included a much-anticipated on-screen showdown between basketball greats Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Despite urgent calls from Pearlman for fans to rally behind the faltering series, it has now been officially terminated.
Featuring a star-studded cast that included Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, and Michael Chiklis, the series was overseen by a team of executive producers, including Borenstein, Jim Hecht, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, and Richardson, among others.
The decline in viewership ultimately led to the show’s cancellation, signaling that Winning Time was unable to sustain the initial excitement it had generated. Regardless of these challenges, both Borenstein and Richardson regard the project as a significant achievement in their professional lives.