If you are anything like me, you’ve been thoroughly enjoying the drama series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Laker Dynasty” that premiered last month on HBO. One of the great things about that series is its dynamic and spot on casting, especially the casting of Quincy Isaiah who looks and smiles like he was placed directly on earth to portray legendary sportsman and businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
But it was the show’s ability to transport me back to the late 70’s and 80’s with such vivid recollections that really engaged me, and led me to immediately open the Apple TV+ press screeners for THEY CALL ME MAGIC – and when I say I stayed up until 3am binging all episodes in one night, yes, it is that great.
Listening to Johnson recount the highs and lows of his illustrious basketball career and personal life – including his transformation after said career was cut short by an HIV diagnosis – is not only enlightening but just as entertaining and more so because of the subject’s candidness and good-humored disposition.
In addition to Magic, several of his family members, including his wife of 30 years Cookie Johnson, colleagues, industry vets and superfans are also interviewed including Pat Riley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J giving the docuseries additional takes on and recollections of the man who went from the 1979 first overall draft pick to one of the most acclaimed players in NBA history.
Directed by the brilliant Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar, Dope, The Mandalorian), and combined with a slick score by Terence Blanchard and original theme/music by Flying Lotus, the series is as much a welcome portal into the past as it is a celebration – highlighting the basic humanity and motivational journey of a man who surpassed all odds on and off the court despite some questionable choices.
I highly recommend adding this one to the queue asap and rate it 5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
THEY CALL ME MAGIC premiered today, April 22, on Apple TV+.
You can watch Mr. Johnson answering questions about the series below and sign up for MusicMoviesThoughts TV on YouTube to catch more celebrity Q&A’s.
Until next thought, Thomasena