The nine-part series features interviews with Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
For the past several years, my former roommate Brendan Bragg — like me, a proud Boston Celtics fan — has been working on a docuseries about the Los Angeles Lakers with Antoine Fuqua and Lakers owner/CEO Jeanie Buss, and today, that nine-part documentary has been picked up by Hulu. Huzzah all around, I say!
The untitled series details the past four decades of the Lakers franchise and contains colorful and emotional new interviews from over 35 people within the organization, including NBA Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as the Buss family and legendary coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. The series will also feature interviews with a range of high-profile fans and a treasure trove of archival footage featuring never-before-seen interviews with the Lakers’ late owner, Dr. Jerry Buss.
Starting from his acquisition of the team in 1979, the docuseries captures Jerry Buss’ remarkable journey to build, sustain and pass on a family-run sports empire. The project will offer a fresh and revealing look inside the legendary “Showtime” era that saw the team win five NBA titles and turned the Forum into Hollywood’s hottest ticket throughout the 1980s. In addition to detailing the high-stakes drama among the Lakers off the court, the series will explore the Kobe Bryant and Shaq-led championship teams, as well as the cultural impact of the Lakers franchise and the recent rebirth of the team, which culminated with the 2020 NBA championship led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. At the heart of the series lies a story about sports, business and, most of all, family – and how those competing forces must be harnessed to achieve greatness.
“When Dr. Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he sat alone at center court of the Forum and thought of all the possibilities. But even in his wildest dreams, my father could not have imagined what the next decades would bring for our organization, our league and our city of Los Angeles. I am thrilled that the true story of the Lakers will finally be shared with the world — and that we are in such capable hands with Hulu and Antoine, a director whose storytelling I’ve admired for years,” said Jeanie Buss, the CEO and controlling owner of the Lakers.
“We are proud to bring this docuseries to the world and shed light on the legendary history of the Lakers,” said Fuqua. “This expansive look into one of the greatest sports franchises of all time is a project we all feel deeply passionate about.”
“The Los Angeles Lakers are one of sports’ most illustrious franchises. Theirs is a history of epic highs and tragic lows, and generations of legendary players and teams who have made a profound impact, not just on the sports world, but on the culture. We are honored to join Jeanie, Antoine and the whole creative team to bring Hulu viewers the very real inside look at the remarkable story of the rise and fall, and rise again of the Lakers,” added Hulu’s Belisa Balaban.
Buss and Fuqua will executive produce the series alongside Haven Entertainment’s Kevin Mann, Michael Mann and Brendan Bragg, Los Angeles Media Fund’s Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman, and longtime Lakers senior executive Linda Rambis as well as writer Steven Leckart.
Bragg took to Facebook to call Dr. Buss a “visionary” who “changed the NBA” and though he’s just one of a handful of executive producers, I know how much this series means to him as a Celtics fan. That’s because sometimes, no one appreciates you more than your nemesis, and if nothing else, the dreaded Lakers have proved themselves worthy opponents time and time again. Given how involved the entire Lakers organization is here, this series could very well give ESPN’s acclaimed Chicago Bulls docuseries The Last Dance a run for its money. The untitled
project is slated to debut on Hulu in 2022, and I can’t wait to get a look at this thing, especially with HBO’s star-studded scripted series about the Lakers on the not-too-distant horizon as well.
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