Celtics legend Bill Sharman lone adult in room through "Winning Time" Lakers' first 14 episodes
The HBO series "Winning Time" is a fun show to watch even for Celtics fans as it does a good job of bringing you back to early 1980's NBA basketball. And Larry Bird and the Celtics' success runs parallel to the Lakers. Sure, a series on the Celtics would have been even more fun, but that Lakers team was hollywood.
As most Celtics fans know the Los Angeles Lakers didn't capture their first NBA title until 1972 when they were led by former Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Sharman. Until Magic Johnson came along that was the team's lone title to Red Auerbach and the Celtics dominance of 13 NBA titles.
It wasn't until the Shaq/Kobe Lakers of the 2000's where the team decided to claim Minneapolis' five titles as their own to set their sites on Boston's 16 world titles. As you can see from the team's 1987 championship video, their 1986-87 season was titled the "Drive for five." 1972, 1980, 1982, and 1985 being the first four.
Due to the death of Len Bias the Lakers did capture their 5th and 6th titles in 1987 and 1988, but I digress. Not only did it take a Celtics legend in Bill Sharman for Wilt, West, and Baylor to win a title, but through 14 episodes of "Winning Time," it's Sharman who appears to be the only adult in the room.
How much of that was true and how much of it is creative license? well that's for others to debate. I know Jerry West threatened to sue for his portrayal as an extreme hot head in the series. Magic Johnson also has boycotted the series due to his portrayal. While personally I don't think the series makes him look all that bad, it does at time make him look immature among other things.
Dr. Buss is played by John C. Reilly in comedic fashion and he's portrayed as a man child most of the time. Kareem is shown as a brooding veteran star, Norm Nixon as jealous, and Paul Westhead as naive, gullible, and a coattail rider.
You can tell they are creating Adrien Brody's Pat Riley to soon have his slicked back hair show arc, but through the first 14 episodes he's shown as not very loyal to his head coach, distant from his family, and much meeker than the Riley he became.
When everyone is throwing their fits and tantrums and being overly dramatic and reactionary it's the team's general manager Sharman who acts as the lone adult in the room. You never see him act childish, hot tempered or play the role of a fool like with Buss, West, Westhead, Magic, Riley, etc.
He's the calming force that keeps things from falling apart. Sharman joined the Lakers in 1971 after winning an ABA title in Utah. After years of failing to beat Boston with their own coaches, Los Angeles needed a former Celtic to lead them to one. And if "Winning Time" is to be beleived, Sharman should get much more credit than he has for all the Los Angeles Lakers titles of the past century.