‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ on HBO is a sports drama series about the Los Angeles Lakers basketball club. The “Showtime” era of the Los Angeles Lakers under owner Jerry Buss is fictionalised in the television series. The Lakers struggle to match their success from their 1980 NBA Championship-winning season in the second season of the show. Furthermore, until head coach Paul Westhead is removed, the team’s problems are exacerbated by the conflict between star player Magic Johnson and Westhead. Therefore, viewers must ponder whether the pair’s breakup is accurately portrayed in the show, and whether they have remained friends. The information you require is provided below in that situation.
What Happened Between Paul Westhead and Magic Johnson?
During the 1979 NBA Draught, Magic Johnson was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. Owner Jerry Buss named Jack McKinney the LA Lakers’ head coach at the start of the 1979–80 NBA season. McKinney, however, missed the first 13 games of the season due to a tragic bicycle accident. Paul Westhead, an assistant coach under McKinney, was consequently named head coach, first on an interim basis and subsequently permanently. Westhead guided the Lakers to the NBA Finals during the 1979–80 regular season, when they won the championship with Magic taking home the MVP award. However, Magic suffered a knee injury early in the 1980–81 season that kept him off the court for about a hundred days.
Westhead, meanwhile, introduced a new style of play that was incompatible with Magic. Westhead and Magic regularly disagreed over the team’s playing style during the 1981–82 season. Johnson revealed his dissatisfaction with representing Westhead in a press release provided to the New York Times in November 1981. Additionally, Magic admitted that he could no longer play for Westhead and that he desired to be traded to another team. Magic expressed a willingness to discuss the possibility of being dealt with team owner Jerry Buss. Instead, the Lakers made the announcement that Westhead had lost his job as head coach. Consequently, it is safe to assume that Westhead and Magic fell out.
Are Paul Westhead and Magic Johnson Friends?
The conflict between Magic Johnson and Paul Westhead is a major story aspect in season 2 of “Winning Time.” In the series, following a contentious dispute with Westhead during a game, Magic nearly leaves the pitch. However, it is highly unlikely that this actually occurred. Additionally, Magic verbally insults his coach after complaining to Jerry Buss about the shortcomings of Westhead’s offence. According to Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime,” no such incident occurred.
Furthermore, contrary to what the television drama implied, Buss had considered firing Westhead for a number of weeks prior to Magic’s demand to be sold. According to Pearlman’s book, Westhead did not hold Magic responsible for his termination. After Westhead was dismissed during the 1981–82 NBA season, the two eventually went their separate ways. Westhead is one of the select few managers to claim both an NBA and WNBA title. On the other hand, Magic, who previously served as the president of basketball operations for the LA Lakers, won the NBA Championship five times with the team.
In an interview from March 2022, Westhead discussed his friendship with Magic. Westhead admitted that because Magic moved on to coach other teams throughout the years, he and he lost touch. Westhead, however, said that Magic called him in 2020 and extended an invitation to travel to Hawaii for a Showtime Lakers reunion. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions prevented Westhead from going on the trip, but he thought the former basketball player’s gesture was wonderful. The former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers attended the premiere of the documentary series “They Call Me Magic,” according to Westhead, who added that he and Magic now have a good connection. now Westhead and Magic appear to have established a friendship recently, it is safe to say that everything between them has now passed.