West, a former player and head coach, was named general manager of the LA Lakers before the 1982–83 NBA season.  

Under his guidance, the team won five championship rings in the 1980s — the era covered in the HBO series.  

Abdul-Jabbar was part of those winning teams, and his contributions are regarded as a vital component in the Showtime era of Lakers basketball.

According to Deadline, West’s attorneys sent a letter to HBO, Warner Bros., Discovery, and executive producer Adam McKay, complaining about the depiction of West in the show.  

The latter states that the series “falsely and cruelly portrays Mr. West as an out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic. The Jerry West in Winning Time bears no resemblance to the real man.” 

The letter goes on to say “Jerry prided himself on treating people with dignity and respect” and that the series “is a baseless and malicious assault on [his] character.” 

It continues, “Winning Time reduced the legacy of an 83-year old legend and role model to that of a vulgar and unprofessional bully — the polar opposite of the real man.”

Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) portrays West on the show, providing a fiery performance that, in one scene, sees him angrily breaking a golf club.