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Former Laker talks about HBO's "Winning Time"

Former USD Basketball coach Brad Holland was a rookie on the 1979-80 team that is portrayed in the HBO series.

SAN DIEGO — CBS 8's John Howard recently zoomed with Brad Holland who was a rookie along with Magic Johnson on the 1979-80 Los Angeles Lakers. HBO's series on the team, "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" has garnered a lot of conversation. It was even threatened with legal action from Jerry West over how he and the organization are portrayed. 

John asked Brad about the portrayal of West, what its like to see himself portrayed in a TV series. John also learned Holland had a nickname he was unaware of. 

John: How was it watching yourself being portrayed on TV by an actor? What was that like? 

Brad:  Well, I think I'm a lot better looking than John Young. No, I, you know, we're kidding about that. But you know, it was weird. When you see someone and they have your name on the back of their jersey and it's not you. That's what I mean. It's like, Oh, that is so crazy. 

John: Through episode six, the part of Brad Holland has been rather understated. I haven't seen any speaking parts for that matter. Are you upset that you're not being given more TV time? 

Brad laughing: I think it was episode seven, eight and part of nine I was actually allowed to speak! You know there is some likeness there. You’ve probably heard this. Don Ford, who was traded midyear, he nicknamed everybody and he nicknamed me Potsie. You know, like Potsie Webber of Happy Days. I’m like, ‘Really, that's my nickname?’ 

John: Watching the presentation, I only take it half seriously. Part of that is because it just seems like they are really over the top on the portrayal of Jerry West. I've never known Jerry West to be that much of a hothead, throwing trophies through windows.  What was Jerry West like? Is there any justice to how they're portraying him? 

Brad: Jerry West was nothing like that. He didn't throw the trophy through the window. I know for a fact that didn't happen. And Kareem wrote an article on this. Kareem thought it was pretty despicable how West was being portrayed. I could totally understand why Jerry West and his family would (say) “Really...that's how you're portraying me?”  It has to be for him and his family. Very hurtful. 

John: How about the story that it's telling and how true to life is it?  

Brad: I guess the most interesting part for me, besides the really top notch acting, is where they took it and how they depicted it. I lived it. I was there. So I know a lot of what's truthful and what's not, but I totally understand. You're going to sell it to HBO, you're going to have a production. It's not going to be exactly like it was.  It never is, right?  It's always based on a true story.  That means there's some truth and there's some not so true.  It's just the way they roll.

John: Okay, Potsie.  Thanks for the interview.

Brad: Touche

John:  Brad, great to see you and we really appreciate your time. 

Brad: You got it, best of luck to you.

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