After former Lakers star, coach and general manager Jerry West demanded a retraction and apology last week over the portrayal of him in HBO’s ”Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” the network has broken its silence.
In response to the complaints, HBO issued a statement Tuesday, initially published by The Hollywood Reporter, saying: “HBO has a long history of producing compelling content drawn from actual facts and events that are fictionalized in part for dramatic purposes. ‘Winning Time’ is not a documentary and has not been presented as such. However, the series and its depictions are based on extensive factual research and reliable sourcing, and HBO stands resolutely behind our talented creators and cast who have brought a dramatization of this epic chapter in basketball history to the screen.”
West’s attorney sent a letter to HBO and producer Adam McKay on April 19 calling the show’s representation of the Hall of Famer a “baseless” and “malicious” assault that “has caused great distress to Jerry and his family.”
Although HBO included a disclaimer that the series is a dramatization, West’s lawyers said that does not exclude the network from liability.