Hulu has ordered a nine-part docuseries chronicling the history of the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise. The project, which joins the Hulu Originals lineup, comes from Lakers’ CEO and controlling owner Jeanie Buss; Emmy-winning director Antoine Fuqua, in association with Fuqua Films; Haven Entertainment; and Los Angeles Media Fund.
The series details the past four decades of the Lakers and featured interviews from more than 35 people within the organization, including the Buss family; legendary coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson; and NBA Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and team captain Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among numerous other current and former players. Also featured are interviews with a range of high-profile fans and a trove of archival footage featuring never-before-seen interviews with the Lakers’ late owner, Jerry Buss.
Buss and Fuqua will executive produce the series alongside Haven Entertainment’s Kevin Mann, Michael Mann and Brendan Bragg; Los Angeles Media Fund’s (LAMF) Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman; and longtime Lakers senior executive Linda Rambis. Rounding out the team will be Emmy-winning editor Jake Pushinsky and executive producer/writer Steven Leckart. The untitled project is slated to debut on Hulu in 2022.
Starting from his acquisition of the team in 1979, the docuseries captures Jerry Buss’ remarkable journey to build, sustain and pass on a family-run sports empire. The project will offer a fresh and revealing look inside the legendary “Showtime” era that saw the team win five NBA titles and turned the Forum into Hollywood’s hottest ticket throughout the 1980s. The series also details the high-stakes drama off the court and incredible successes of the championship teams led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as the cultural impact of the Lakers franchise and rebirth of the team, culminating with the 2020 NBA championship led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. At the heart is a story about sports, business and, most of all, family – and how those competing forces must be harnessed to achieve greatness.
“When Dr. Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he sat alone at center court of the Forum and thought of all the possibilities,” Jeanie Buss said. “But even in his wildest dreams, my father could not have imagined what the next decades would bring for our organization, our league and our city of Los Angeles. I am thrilled that the true story of the Lakers will finally be shared with the world — and that we are in such capable hands with Hulu and Antoine, a director whose storytelling I’ve admired for years.”
Added Fuqua: “We are proud to bring this docuseries to the world and shed light on the legendary history of the Lakers. This expansive look into one of the greatest sports franchises of all time is a project we all feel deeply passionate about.”
Said said Belisa Balaban, Hulu’s VP Original Documentaries: “The Los Angeles Lakers are one of sports’ most illustrious franchises. Theirs is a history of epic highs and tragic lows, and generations of legendary players and teams who have made a profound impact, not just on the sports world, but on the culture. We are honored to join Jeanie, Antoine and the whole creative team to bring Hulu viewers the very real inside look at the remarkable story of the rise and fall, and rise again of the Lakers,”
This is the second Los Angeles Laker-focused project that is in the works. HBO has ordered the Untitled Los Angeles Project from Adam McKay, a scripted drama series about the storied franchise based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.
The series joins Hulu’s Original documentary slate including Hillary, I Am Greta, Minding the Gap, Ask Dr. Ruth and official 2021 SXSW selections Sasquatch and WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn.