NBA fans from all over the world were eagerly waiting for HBO's 'Winning Time' to premiere. The show is focused on the 'Showtime' Los Angeles Lakers, telling the story of how the franchise rose to stardom.

And, while ratings have been there and some exaggeration was to be expected, it seems like those who were actually there in real-life haven't been much of a fan. In fact, Magic Johnson even said that he wasn't looking forward to watching it at all.

Now, Lakers legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West—both depicted in the TV show— have spoken up and expressed their criticism, ripping 'Winning Time' for its 'bland characterization' and inaccurate story-telling.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Rips HBO's 'Winning Time'

"I’ll start with the bland characterization. The characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Hans Solo resembles Harrison Ford. Each character is reduced to a single bold trait as if the writers were afraid anything more complex would tax the viewers’ comprehension," Kareem wrote on his Substack.

The legendary big man went on to state that the show features 'caricatures, not characters' and 'amusement park portraits' when describing him, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and late Lakers owner Jerry Buss:

"Jerry Buss is Egomaniac Entrepreneur, Jerry West is Crazed Coach, Magic Johnson is Sexual Simpleton, I’m Pompous Prick. They are caricatures, not characters," Kareem added. "Amusement park portraits that emphasize one physical feature to amplify your appearance—but never touching the essence. "

"The result of using caricatures instead of fully developed characters is that the plot becomes frenetic melodrama, sensationalized invented moments to excite the senses but reveal nothing deeper," he concluded. "It’s as if he strung together a bunch of flashing colored lights and told us, 'This is the spirit of Christmas.'"

 

Jerry West Demands An Apology

Needless to say, Mr. Clutch himself wasn't a fan of how he was portrayed in the show, either. According to Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN, West's lawyers have even demanded a retraction and apology from the show:

"Former Los Angeles Lakers executive Jerry West demanded a retraction and an apology for what he called 'a baseless and malicious assault' on his character in the HBO series 'Winning Time,' in a letter sent Tuesday evening by his legal team to the network and producer Adam McKay, which was obtained by ESPN," reported Shelbourne.

It's one thing to spice things up to draw more viewership, it even makes sense. But why would you alter the story that much, especially when the people you talk about are alive and well and can fact-check everything?