Hulu’s ‘Legacy’ Is Another Self-Produced Sports Documentary
Jerry Buss was the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is best remembered for his achievements in building the Lakers into a basketball dynasty in the 1980s and his fame as a Tinseltown playboy. Hulu has a new 10 part documentary about the franchise.Legacy: The Real Story Behind the LA LakersIt has a lot to say about the former and very little on the latter. This isn’t too surprising, considering Jeanie Buss—Jerry’s daughter, and controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers—is an executive producer of the series.
In the film, Earvin “Magic” Johnson notes, “When we went to the Playboy mansion, we would sit back, and he would [be] studying. ‘Which one do I want?’ And then it was the chase to get her, right? And he would always end up with the one he wanted.” We learn that Buss kept a book with pictures of all his dates.
The viewer would love to know more about how Jeanie Buss, who succeeded her father in running the Lakers and in 2020 became the first female owner to win an NBA championship, reckoned with her father’s flirtatious ways. It does get there. “He enjoyed the company of attractive women,” says Jeanie Buss in the series. “I think a lot of women fell in love with him. But as time went on, then there’d be a new girl, and then another new girl.”
We’re left with former Today ShowJane Pauley anchor, in archival footage of the early 1980s to express her disapproval. “I don’t necessarily appreciate the collectibles in his gallery of beauty,” she tells co-anchor Tom Brokaw. But, then, seconds later the documentary continues to the 1980 Western Conference finals.
Give due credit to Jeanie Buss and Co. for even putting Pauley’s comment in the final cut. But Legacy This is the latest in a rather discouraging genre of entertainment, the sports documentary. It was produced by the subject themselves. The final episode of “Sports Documentary” aired on August 11. The Captain a documentary about Derek Jeter produced by his agent and the former shortstop’s Players Tribune media platform, which similarly delves into touchy subjects—his feud with Alex Rodriguez, his appearances in the tabloids—just enough to avoid complete whitewashing, but would still be better served, for the audience, in the hands of independent observers. Popularity of Last DanceThe 2020 documentary by Michael Jordan about the Chicago Bulls, Copycats seemed to be the result. Jordan’s business partners were executive producers on that film. The film was eventually released.r “The Last Dance”, we saw Tom Brady’s Man In the Arena which was backed by Brady’s own production company, The CaptainAnd now Legacy, This streamed on August 15.
In particular, the Lakers franchise is very sensitive to what it believes. The marketing of the series as “The True Story” of the Lakers feels like a direct salvo to The Winning TimeHBO’s March premiere of the HBO series, featuring John C. Riley playing Jerry Buss. The show is based upon the book. Showtime,Jeff Pearlman is a journalist. The Winning Time The team did not make any pretense of taking extreme liberties. But that didn’t stop some people associated with the Lakers from flipping out about the series. Jerry West, a Laker legend, was unhappy about West’s portrayal of him as an insane man in the series and threatened to sue. His lawyer sent a note to HBO calling it a “deliberately false characterization.” (HBO responded: “The Winning TimeIt is not intended to be a documentary. 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.”)
“There is only one immutable sin in writing: Don’t Be Boring!” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a piece lambasting the show. “The Winning Time commits that sin over and over.”
The Winning TimeThere are many excesses. For example, the comparisons between great basketball, sex and other sports become tiresome. But with all due respect to the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, the show’s not boring. Established actors like Reilly, as well as Adrien Brody as Lakers coach Pat Riley, and Sally Field as Buss’ mother, Jessie, gave bravado performances. The new actors were both impressive, Quincy Isiah as Magic and Solomon Hughes playing Kareem AbdulJabbar. It was renewed for a second season. The show will continue to portray some of the important events. Legacy—like Magic Johnson demanding that Buss choose between him and coach Paul Westhead at the outset of the 1981-1982 season—in a more intriguing fashion.
When in the wrong hands, facts can be less convincing than fiction. Legacy Every moment has its moments. Magic’s 1981-1982 ultimatum resonates now, as it presaged the era of player empowerment: just look at Kevin Durant demanding his trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Jeanie Buss shares that she was sexually harassed at an NBA owners’ meeting. It was shocking for her siblings. Claire Rothman was also revealed, a pioneer in the sports industry who is still unknown to casual viewers. It’s Time to Win. She was the Forum’s general manager and a respected lieutenant for Jerry Buss. She is also the author of In Legacy, Her keen insights on Buss’ family dynamics are invaluable.
The heart of it all is LegacyThis feels like a business episode. The first six episodes available to media also did a nice job introducing viewers to all the Buss children—Johnny, Jim, Jeanie, Janie, Joey, and Jesse—and teases an exploration of familial infighting that saw Jeanie emerge victorious as caretaker of the family firm after Jerry Buss died in 2013. Who knows, LegacyIt could be the end of another Succession. If the producers don’t curtail the truth.
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