HBO’s depiction of the iconic LA Lakers NBA team during the ’70s and ’80s has left everyone on edge. The show’s engaging first two seasons have captured the audience’s attention. And since Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty focused on the Laker’s Showtime era and struggle, it made many clamor for more. But is Winning Time Season 3 on the cards? The audience has been waiting to see more athletes like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. However, the controversy about the show has made many doubt its future. Now, let’s see whether the third season will take place.
For the unversed, Winning Time follows the LA Laker’s journey and struggle during the NBA season. The first season focused on the 1979-1980 NBA season. That witnessed the rise of Magic Johnson. However, with incredible fame, things turned darker for the team as well in the NBA’s next season. That’s because it deeply dug into the Laker’s rivalry with a young Michael Jordan and the rising Chicago Bulls, including the fall of the Lakers. But now the question arises: Will the Lakers return for another season? Keep reading to know that!
Winning Time Season 3: Not Officially Happening!
The show couldn’t find ground despite the sports drama Winning Time, which is deeply focused on the Lakers’ struggle and the challenges they faced during the 80s to win the NBA season. That’s why things turn dramatic for Winning Time. It peaked when HBO canceled the show in September 2023. The cancelation news came just after the show dropped its finale. While it left everyone heartbroken, the series creator, Max Borenstein, confirmed Winning Time Season 3 is not happening. He took to X shortly after the season 2 finale.
He stated it’s “Not the ending that we have in mind.” Yet, HBO decided to cancel the series. Winning Time Season 3 cancelation news came out a bit surprising and disappointing for the audience as they were eager to see the next phase of Lakers. Since the series has left several dangling threads open, how things will move remains unclear. Will it ever return to explore the missing pieces? The chances are quite low. This is because, before season 2’s debut, the cast has been dropping hints at the show’s grim fate.
While there are several reasons behind the series cancelation, the viewership graph plays a significant role in axing the sports drama. The first season received a total of 1.6 million viewers. As for the season 2, it just managed to garner 629,000 viewers. While the finale’s viewership figures haven’t been disclosed yet, the drop in figures was enough for HBO to cancel Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty Season 3.
Why HBO Canceled Winning Time Season 3?
As mentioned above, the viewership has played a prominent role in axing the third season. However, the author, Jeff Pearlman, hinted that it was coming. The creative team behind the series was aware of its grim fate. In August 2023, Pearlman mentioned that Winning Time’s renewal chances were quite low. He stated that the then-ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes made things problematic for them. It could have also shunned the chances of Winning Time Season 3.
Pearlman’s prior post also suggested the same thing. He shared his worries with his fans, stating he worried that the strikes would “wipe out” the chance of Winning Time Season 3. They needed to show the viewership figure to Max as well as HBO to show that the series was worth renewing. Despite his plea, the viewership figure saw a steady drop, hindering the chances of the third season. Unfortunately, his worry turned out to be true.
Besides him, Max also told Vulture during an interview that the strike impacted the promotion of the second season. That obviously affected the viewership, ultimately leading to the end of the sports drama. The creator mentioned that since they had a big ensemble cast, including the new actors and the Oscar-winning movie stars, it needed more effort to promote a series.
Despite having a lot of assets to help market the series, they couldn’t employ any of them. It definitely made things more frustrating and challenging for them. That ultimately led to the cancellation of the series Winning Time Season 3.
Did Controversy Have Affected The Series Viewership?
HBO has been careful when it comes to Winning Time because of its dramatic portrayal and tweaking of some prominent facts. This has eventually attracted several controversies for the inaccurate portrayal of the real incidents. In fact, several basketball historians, including the Lakers coaches and players, have criticized the series for fabricating the truth. That further complicated things for the sport’s drama and ruined its reputation.
It has definitely contributed to the drop in viewership. This is because the most famous players, Kareen and Magic Johnson, have also opened about the same. He even told Variety that Johnson and his players had refused to watch the series. Johnson was also baffled by the network’s decision to continue with such a show. He even expressed his surprise, stating that HBO never tried to contact him or his team to explain the truth.
That eventually pushed many to retreat from watching the show, leading to a drop in viewership. Thus, controversy has also significantly affected axing Winning Time Season 3.
Chances Of Winning Time Season 3
Even though HBO has decided not to continue with the sports drama, there’s a slight chance it could return. That’s because the show ended abruptly without properly closing Lakers’ defeat. The second season finale saw team owner Jerry Buss and his daughter Jeanie roaming on the court, where Jerry told his daughter that one day she would control the team. Soon, the episode shifted its focus to the present, featuring real-life characters, leaving a room to explore in the next run.
In fact, Max has also stated that there are more stories left to explore, and they could return with possible Winning Time Season 3. But it remains unclear when it could happen. He told Vulture that, at present, they aren’t in talks with HBO. So, it is hard to suggest whether the third season would return. However, if the network resurrects the series, the next run could be a possibility. Max also suggested that the show could explore new characters.
During the interview, he said the NBA universe is quite wide, and thus, there’s a chance that they can return without the Lakers. The next season could explore Michael Jordan’s journey. Since the first two seasons showed the rising Chicago Bulls, their journey could take center stage in Winning Time Season 3. But again, neither the creator nor the network has opened up about this possibility. Considering Case Bloys, HBO Chief is looking forward to more sports drama; there’s a glimmer of hope that the third season could be a possibility.
Adrien Brody Hinted At Possible Season 3
Soon after the series’ cancellation, Adrien Brody, who played Pat Riley, expressed his eagerness to return to the set. He stated that he was looking forward to Winning Time Season 3. Brody said that he wanted to see Riley running the show this time. There was so much to portray in the next season. “Riley’s much more fully formed,” the actor added. He also mentioned that there’s more to explore in Johnson’s life as well.
The show hasn’t explored Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement and the 1985 Finals between the Lakers and Celtics. In real life, the Lakers finally defeated their rival team. Further, the show has yet to focus on other team members. Considering this, Brody believes there’s a slight chance for Winning Time Season 3. But will it happen?
Lakers Could Return For Winning Time Season 3
It’s not the end! After HBO canceled Winning Time Season 3, the series co-creators Max and Jim Hecht told The Messenger that filming of the show had ended prematurely. Initially, they planned to end the show with Johnson sitting in the dressing room, quite devastated. However, they had to change the ending after receiving a call from HBO. It later forced them to rewrite that segment again. But before that, the team planned to explore the 1991 era.
They stated that the third season could have picked up five years later, in 1996, when Jerry West entered the picture. West signed Shaquille O’Neal and became a prominent part of trades for Kobe Bryant. It could have even shifted its focus to the present, focusing on Jeanie as the owner. Max also explained his plans to bring LeBron James into the picture. But it couldn’t happen.
Despite that, the creators look forward to reviving Winning Time Season 3. What do you think? Will there be another season of the sports drama? Comment down your thoughts below. Stay tuned. TechRadar247 will keep you updated.