The series focuses on the Lakers of the 1980s as the franchise tries to become the new legends as the Boston Celtics continue to dominate. One of the characters at the center of the west coast team is Jerry West, who is no longer head coach, but with yellow and purple running through his veins, he still deeply cares about the team but often becomes agitated and passionate.
However, in real life, West revealed his portrayal in the show to be “a deliberately false characterization” and a “baseless portrayal.” The NBA legend is so against it all that he’s taken legal action and had his lawyers issue a letter to executive producer Adam McKay and HBO stating the series has “caused great distress to Jerry and his family,” according to ESPN.
HBO has portrayed different personalities in the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry Buss, and others that come together and create the dynasty known as the Showtime Lakers.
“You took a happy and super successful Lakers era and turned it into a pulpy soap opera,” reads the letter. “You depicted the people in a false light, not at all who they are, to garner ratings and make money.”
The letter also includes words from Jabbar and Claire Rothman — who Gabby Hoffmann portrays, that speak to West’s character.
“Instead of exploring his issues with compassion as a way to better understand the man, they turn him into a Wile E. Coyote cartoon to be laughed at,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
West is asking for an apology for the portrayal and a retraction, so we might just see West with a different attitude come season 2.