All entertaining and equally controversial, the HBO series concludes with what promises to be a one-on-one Humdinger finale
It goes without saying that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the epitome of toughness. He could take some serious hits while giving it back in equal measure. Episode 10’s “Winning Time and the Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” finale might show its brilliance against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals. While it was Earvin ‘Magic Johnson’ who took the team from good to great, there was no denying that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the one who put on an epic performance throughout the series until he sustained an ankle injury in Game 5 had.
The entertaining and equally controversial HBO series concludes Sunday (May 8) with an auspicious finale pitting the Lakers, led by Paul Westhead (Jason Segel) and Pat Riley (Adrien Brody), against the 76ers. With Spencer Haywood (Wood Harris) not in the equation, Purple and Gold still managed to take the lead in Game 1, then lost Game 2. The pattern repeated and the two teams came back for an important Game 5 together, in which Abdul-Jabbar rose for a finger roll, watched the ball fall through the hoop and land rather awkwardly on his left ankle. The injury was classified as serious by team doctor Robert Kerlan.
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Typical for the center was playing through throbbing pain that wanted to stay in the game. Jeff Pearlman, in his book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, relived the moment when Abdul-Jabbar walked out with a taped ankle and received a “roaring” ovation from the 17,505 fans in attendance Forum. It was an unforgettable game in which he had 40 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Adding to that, clutch three broke a 103-103 tie.
The author also describes in detail what happened after the 3:2 lead. Abdul-Jabbar has taken refuge in the emergency room of the medical center at Centinela Hospital. While Kerlan suspected a broken fibula, X-rays confirmed a bad sprain. He was unable to walk the next day, despite receiving an injection of hydrocortisone and xylocaine. Expect this beat to almost certainly be the finale to the long-awaited sports drama. Who wouldn’t want Solomon Hughes to walk and act like Abdul-Jabbar with consummate ease?
The finale of “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” will air on HBO on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. ET.