One of the top performances in season 1 of HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is DeVaughn Nixon as his real-life father, Norm Nixon.
The actor, who has been working for nearly three decades since being in The Bodyguard, has recently appeared in Marvel’s Runaways and Snowfall, but really gets to sink his teeth into this role. The fact that he is playing his own father is just the icing on the cake.
“Look, if there’s anybody to play my dad, I look like a spitting image [of him],” DeVaughn told Shadow and Act in a recent interview. ‘If I didn’t know, my father and showed up on his doorstep, there’s no way he could literally deny me [laughs]. We’re identical to each other. I wanted to play him because I definitely wanted to highlight his career and all his accolades and achievements because he was a great basketball player. He was like a Kawhi Leonard. Now I’m not saying like skill-wise or trying to pit them against each other, but he was a silent killer. He didn’t talk too much…wasn’t about the media really…stayed lowkey and to himself, but would give you 22 and 10 every game…plays defense, distributed the ball.”
As impactful as Norm was, his name isn’t mentioned as much as the others, and DeVaughn saw this as an opportunity.
“Some of the teams and the names that we hear…we hear Magic, Kareem and everything like that…they were the pop-up books. My dad was in the fine print,” he said. “I’m getting a chance to highlight him. I was really happy to highlight his legacy and show the world how brilliant and great and charismatic and charming of a person he is.”
He also told us what his father actually thinks of the series itself, stating that “he’s rooting for it.”
“He’s so close to it,” the actor explained. “It’s so close to the chest for him. So he knows what was embellished [and] what wasn’t, but that goes for everything in TV. Nothing is exactly how it is…unless like if my dad were writing The Norm Nixon Story or an autobiography. Everything’s not going to be exact. And even then, sometimes people stretch the truth a little bit. But he watched it, he enjoyed it. He told everyone’s looking forward to it. So I just really want to sit down and watch a full episode with him and see his reaction.”
Winning Time airs new episodes weekly on HBO.
Watch the full interview below featuring Nixon, Tracy Letts and Jason Segal.