Bob Ryan and Jerry West argue over portraying Jerry West

Legendary basketball author Bob Ryan criticized Jeff Pearlman, author of Showtime, a book about the 1980s Lakers, arguing that the portrayal of Jerry West in the HBO series Winning Time was inspired by the book “reprehensible” and “borderline criminal”. .

As Barrett Sports Media detailedRyan, who began covering the Celtics for the Boston Globe in 1969 and received the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, had a falling out with Jeff Pearlman, mostly over issues with West, who appeared in the TV series as tough is portrayed -headed and verbally abusive.

Ryan went to Colin Cowherd’s podcast in early April and gutted the show.

“I need a puke bucket before it’s over,” Ryan said. “I think the only right thing they based it on was that it was about the Lakers. Everything else is fantasy.

“If I were Jerry West I would say call my lawyers. I don’t know what Jerry West (series director) ever did to Adam McKay to be portrayed in such an unflattering light, an unrealistic light, an embarrassing light, and that’s just for starters.”

Bob Ryan on ESPN
Bob Ryan didn’t like Jerry West’s portrayal on HBO’s Winning Time.

Pearlman was unhappy with the characterization, which Ryan did not voice alone. Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons and former NBA super agent, slammed the portrayal of West in the Hollywood Reporter last month.

“I love @globebobryan, but a little too much of it,” Pearlman tweeted on Friday. “A. It’s NOT a documentary; B. I interviewed 350 people for ‘Showtime,’ and the creators of ‘Winning Time’ were incredibly detailed, accurate, and honored the source material.”

Pearlman said the creative liberties taken in Showtime are “no different” than in films like 42, Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall and Rudy.

Writer Jeff Pearlman defended Jerry West's portrayal in HBO's Winning Time.
Writer Jeff Pearlman defended Jerry West’s portrayal in HBO’s Winning Time.

“Zero percent different,” Pearlman tweeted. “It dishonors no one. Everyone. In all honesty, the show reminds people of the greatness of Showtime and brings back rich memories of a glorious time in NBA history. Are the characters accurate? no They are (wait for it) actors using (wait for it) scripts written by (wait for it) writers. And the writing is insanely sharp, smart, cool. When I saw Jack McKinney’s saga on screen, I almost cried with joy.

“When I see Mark Landsberger, Jim Chones, Ron Boone, etc. – same thing. So much of this material had become the specter of history. So no, it’s not a documentary. Yes, jumps and flourishes are made. But the show is bloody brilliant and I’m a VERY proud writer.”

Ryan didn’t buy it.

Jason Clarke as Jerry West on the HBO series Winning Time.
Jason Clarke as Jerry West on the HBO series Winning Time.
Jerry West and Pat Riley in 1979.
Jerry West (right) and Pat Riley in 1979.
Getty Images

“Jeff, I said that even though it’s presented as ‘dramatization,’ gullible people will still think it’s factual,” he said tweeted. “Jerry West’s portrayal is reprehensible and borderline criminal. His three words to Adam McKay should be, “Go see my attorney.”

Pearlman did not agree with the disagreement.

“To be clear, HUGE admirer of @globeBobRyan. Huge,” the author tweeted. “But I would also say that Jerry West’s sanctuary movement (especially after episode 1) is a bit much. West literally hired a private investigator to track Norm Nixon in LA after (falsely) suspecting he was a coke addict. West has also made some players’ lives miserable with the intensity and verbal smacks. A longtime Laker employee called me the other day and said, ‘I recognize the Jerry on TV better than the one the defense attorneys describe.’ And that is NOT to say that Jerry West isn’t a great man. He is.

“I’ve never had a bad interaction. I think he’s a tire genius; I hated talking about changing the logo from West to Kobe. Jerry West is rightly loved by many. And, yes, Jason Clarke’s West is certainly (sometimes) West on speed. But it’s also a beautiful portrayal of a tortured, haunted man.”

In conclusion, Pearlman reiterated that other sports television series and films have taken creative liberties and that “Winning Time” has more authenticity than “99 percent” of its counterparts, praising McKay, showrunner Max Borenstein, and others. Bob Ryan and Jerry West argue over portraying Jerry West


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