Quincy Isaiah says his basketball game has improved by leaps and rebounds since suiting up for the role of Magic Johnson in "Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty." The series is back for a second season on HBO Max and Crave.
The Michigan native plays the early '80s version of Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the series, which was created by Adam McKay. Isaiah had to do both an acting and a sports audition to win the part, and was coached later, as were the other actors, to look NBA worthy on the court -- not easy when you're called upon to dish like Magic.
John C. Reilly plays colourful Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss in the series. Isaiah calls him an acting "beast." Solomon Hughes plays NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The real Abdul-Jabbar -- now a terrific read as, among other things, a TV critic -- hates "Winning Time," dismissing it as "a bland soap opera." Hear Isaiah's reaction to that criticism and whether or not he's heard from Magic in this brisk podcast episode, recorded live and in person last June at the Bell Media Upfront in Toronto.