A 10-part documentary series on the history of the Los Angeles Lakers since their purchase by Jerry Buss in 1979 begins streaming on Hulu Monday with the first two episodes.
Buss’ daughter Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ CEO and co-owner, is among the executive producers of “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” which includes new interviews from more than 35 people currently or previously affiliated with the Lakers, including Hall of Fame players Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, former coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, well-known fans and members of the Buss family.
The series also includes previously unseen interviews with Jerry Buss, who died in 2013, and is credited with transforming the business of basketball with the introduction of high-price courtside seats, a dance team and live band.
The first episode deals with Buss’ purchase of the team and its selection of Johnson with the first choice in the 1979 draft and the second with the 1981 firing of coach Paul Westhead and the promotion of Riley, then an assistant coach with two seasons of coaching experience, as his replacement.
A new episode will premiere each of the eight following Mondays.
Hulu describes “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” as “a story about sports, business and, most of all, family — and how those competing forces must be harnessed to achieve greatness.”
The series was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed the 2019 documentary, “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali,” and such feature films as “The Equalizer” and its sequel, “The Equalizer 2,” “Training Day” and “Olympus Has Fallen.”
The project was announced in May 2021, shortly after HBO ordered a pilot for the scripted drama series about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” which HBO ordered as a series in December 2021.
“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” received a storm of criticism from several former players and others depicted in the show, including a demand for a retraction from Hall of Famer and former Laker general manager Jerry West.
Johnson complained that producers did not seek out former players for input while Abdul-Jabbar called the show boring and deceptive in its portrayals.
Episodes of “Winning Time” begin with a disclaimer that reads “This series is a dramatization of certain facts and events. Some of the names have been changed and some of the events and characters have been fictionalized, modified or composited for dramatic purposes.”
Jeanie Buss has called the Hulu documentary “the real story.”