Episode 3 of Winning Time puts a focus on the introduction of Pat Riley, but it’s not the Pat Riley from the Showtime Lakers-era that many are familiar with.
Viewers see Riley’s pseudo-humble, post-player beginnings when he appears to be sliding into the role of a broadcaster for the organization before joining the coaching staff. It’s a pre-slicked back hair Riley, one that stands in contrast to his days as a head coach.
For Adrien Brody, who plays Riley, it was important to introduce how he was different from the one that is known the most in pop culture, especially during this point in his life and career.
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“I think it’s gonna be very interesting to many people that are fans of Pat Riley’s,” said Brody in a recent interview with Shadow and Act of his introduction. “I think even I had a similar thing growing up where I always identified with Pat in the more refined, very elegant [way] in which he carried himself with such stature. That was what was amazing and he was inspiring…literally inspiring. What he’s achieved is remarkable. The interesting thing here is that we get a chance to see the road and the struggles that the man had [in order] to get to that place and to get to that sense of control and security. He had to transition from being a solid player [with] a ring in hand and had a lifetime career as a ballplayer…and then he was out…he was out of the game and he had to figure out how to get back in and how to be able to give what he felt he had to give– and he surely sure had a lot to give. So it’s a really interesting, long road and we just touch on it now. So I’m hoping to get a chance to really step foot into the next phase of Riley’s many phases and his lifetime.”
The Pat Riley episode comes off of us seeing what Jerry West, played by Jason Clarke, was going through in the episode prior.
“Jerry’s having an existential crisis,” Clarke told Shadow and Act. “At the moment, I don’t think he’d even realized what was happening. He’s about to go back into the next season…he’s getting the final piece of the puzzle, they got the first pick, and he’s gonna win. But he just can’t function anymore. And I think that was where they wanted to go and we decided to start with Jerry full-on having a total breakdown. How far can you go in manicness as you hit a person having a crisis? I could tell I loved it. I really, really loved it…it was very daunting because it was the first episode back after COVID. We had a year off between the pilot, and I came back in from Australia very nervous and then all of a sudden, it’s really daunting of who Jerry West is. And now that I’ve had that whole year, and I’ve seen and read the evidence and now I realize is just what this person is, I’ve grown to love and respect him. And he’s just trying to continually understand himself and what he is and what he’s done in the past and the people around him. I think they all walk for a monumental time in history.”
He also spoke about how West’s legacy continues through the Shaq and Kobe era (something that the heads of the show want to explore if the show gets further seasons).
Watch the full interview, which also includes Kareem Abdul Jabbar actor Solomon Young Hughes, below: