Go behind the scenes of HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ with writer Jeff Pearlman

Adrien Brody stars as Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley in the new HBO Max show 'Winning Time'. (Photograph by Warrick Page/HBO)

There weren’t a lot of Jews involved with the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. But there was Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and coaches Paul Westhead and Pat Riley, and all these big characters and iconic stories are coming to TV in a new show, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, debuting March 6, 2022, on HBO Max (Crave for Canadians).

Aside from a handful of Jewish actors involved—notably Adrien Brody and Jason Segal as coaches Riley and Westhead, respectively—the real Judaism comes behind the scenes. The show’s creators, Jim Hecht and Max Borenstein, are both Jewish, as is the man who wrote the book on which the show is based.

Jeff Pearlman is a veteran sportswriter who’s written several books that haven’t been turned into TV shows, as well as one, now, that has. He joins for a lengthy interview about his book, his writing process and, to settle an argument with his mother, his bar mitzvah.


Menschwarmers is hosted by James Hirsh and Gabe Pulver, and produced and edited by Michael Fraiman. Our intro music is by Coby Lipovitch, and our outro music is “Organ Grinder Swing” by chēēZ π. This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network—find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca. Follow the Menschwarmers on Twitter @menschwarmers, and The CJN Podcast Network on Twitter @cjnpodcasts.