‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ is a sports drama series set in the 1980s that follows the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team as they rise to the top of the sport and establish a reign of terror.
In the series, businessman Jerry Buss buys the NBA club and, with the support of the backroom personnel, guides it to victory.
Meanwhile, the LA Lakers are led by players like Norm Nixon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the court.
However, as Jerry West and Buss debate the Lakers’ issues in the second episode, another player’s name appears.
Spencer Haywood is the guy in question, and here’s everything you need to know about his involvement in the series and throughout the Lakers’ Showtime Era!
In Winning Time, Who is Spencer Haywood?
Spencer Haywood is a former professional basketball player who made a name for himself in the National Basketball League (NBA).
Haywood was born in Silver City, Mississippi, on April 22, 1949. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he attended Pershing High School.
Before attending Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado, Haywood was a member of the basketball team that won the state championship.
Haywood spent his debut season with the Denver Rockets of the ABA. In 1970, he joined the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics after impressing with his efforts for the squad.
Haywood continued to get accolades for his outstanding efforts on the court throughout the next few years. Haywood joined the New York Knicks in 1975 and stayed with the organisation for a couple of seasons until going to the New Orleans Jazz (now the Utah Jazz) in 1979.
Jerry West mentions Haywood for the first time in episode 2 of ‘Winning Time,’ when he tells Jerry Buss that he has been attempting to persuade club owners to sign Haywood for the past three seasons.
Despite the fact that Haywood is not featured in this episode, actor Wood Harris (‘Empire’) will portray a fictionalised version of the basketball player in future episodes.
When Was Spencer Haywood signed by the ‘Lakers’?
Jerry West, the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, is depicted in ‘Winning Time’ as a huge fan of Haywood and his playing style.
Haywood is a player West believes would be a good fit for the team, and he has tried to sign him three times before to the 1979-80 season.
His pursuit, however, was thwarted by the Lakers’ fiscal problems. Haywood did, in fact, sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Los Angeles Lakers traded Adrian Dantley to the New Orleans Jazz in September 1979 for Spencer Haywood.
West, on the other hand, had resigned down as head coach by this point. For a brief time, the team was in the control of Jack McKinney.
Paul Westhead took over after McKinney was wounded in an accident and guided the team to the 1980 NBA Finals.
Haywood was a cocaine addict at the time, and Westhead threw him off the team after he fell asleep during the Finals Series. Haywood only stayed with the Lakers for one season before moving to Italy to play with the Reyer Venezia.
Haywood did, however, have success with the Lakers, as the team won the NBA Championship in 1980. Haywood finished his basketball career in 1983 and now lives in Las Vegas.