Winning Time Season 3: Renewal Possibilities Explored

Image Credit: Warrick Page/HBO

A heavily dramatized retelling of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team of the 1980s, HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ is a sports drama series created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht. The series is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book ‘Showtime’ and premiered in 2022. The second season focuses on the LA Lakers between 1980 and 1984 as they try to build lasting success under owner Jerry Buss. With the second season finale wrapping up with the 1984 NBA Finals, viewers must be curious whether the LA Lakers’ story will continue in a potential third installment. In that case, here is everything you need to know about the possibility of ‘Winning Time’ season 3!

Will Winning Time Season 3 Happen?

‘Winning Time’ season 2 premiered on August 6, 2023, on HBO. The second installment comprises seven episodes (three less than the debut installment) with a running time of approximately 55 minutes each. Episodes of the second season were released every week, with the season 2 finale airing on September 17, 2023. The episodes are also available to stream online through Max. The second season received generally positive reviews from critics, but its viewership declined compared to the first season.

On September 17, 2023, mere hours after the second season finale premiered on HBO, the network announced that the series would not return for a third installment. Although HBO did not give any specific reasons for the show’s cancellation, the steep in viewership between season 1 and season 2 was likely the determining factor behind the network’s decision. Moreover, the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes may also be silent factors in HBO’s decision to send the sports drama to the chopping block.

Previously, author Jeff Pearlman, whose book ‘Showtime’ serves as the source material for the series, also expressed his concerns about the possibility of a third season through X (formerly Twitter). The second season covers the period between 1980 and 1984 as the LA Lakers undergo a change in coaching with Paul Westhead being fired and replaced with Pat Riley.

Season 2 ends with the Lakers losing the 1984 NBA Final to archrivals Boston Celtics. Thus, the series ends rather prematurely without a chance for Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers to redeem themselves. However, the season 2 finale features closing title cards that inform viewers about the fates of characters such as Jerry Buss, Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In reality, the Lakers turned around the 1984 NBA Finals defeat by beating the Celtics twice in the NBA Finals in three years to cement their “Showtime” era of dominance. Alas, viewers won’t be able to see the Lakers’ dominant era play out on screen alongside other poignant storylines, such as Magic Johnson’s sudden retirement after his HIV diagnosis.

At the time of the show’s cancellation, there was no news of it being shopped around to other networks. Hence, the show’s fate seems pretty sealed, and it is one in direct contrast to the larger-than-life figures it focuses upon. ‘Winning Time’ features an ensemble cast, including John C. Reilly (Jerry Buss), Quincy Isaiah (Magic Johnson), Jason Clarke (Jerry West), Adrien Brody (Pat Riley), Gaby Hoffmann (Claire Rothman), Hadley Robinson (Jeanie Buss), Solomon Hughes (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), and Tamera Tomakili (Earletha “Cookie” Kelly).

Several real-life members of the LA Lakers’ “Showtime” era criticized the series for its over-dramatization and additional fictional elements. However, current Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has supported the sports drama. After the show’s cancellation, creators Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht took to social media to thank the viewers, cast, and crew for their contributions, bookmarking the show’s brief run on air. All things said, ‘Winning Time’ season 3 stands officially canceled as of September 2023.

Read More: Winning Time Season 2 Finale Recap and Ending, Explained