The golden age of basketball juxtaposed with the golden age of music, and HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of The Lakers Dynasty has best of both worlds.
The lively music selection features timeless classics and funky gems from various styles and eras that enhance the cheerful and quintessential LA vibes of the acclaimed HBO series.
Winning Time’s captivating story is enriched by upbeat and groovy tunes that strongly validate the show’s authentic tone and charm.
Season 2 starts with the same theme song as Season 1: “My Favorite Mutiny” by The Coup, setting the tone for another thrilling ride. The show continues to impress with its fantastic soundtrack and superb instrumental score, which enhance the drama and intensity of the story.
Below is a list of all the songs featured in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty Season 2 and when they appear in each episode.
1. Winning Time Season 2, Episode 1 “One Ring Don’t Make A Dynasty”
“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince & The Revolution: As the Lakers triumph over the Celtics in their home court in the opening game of the 1984 NBA Finals, Prince’s lively anthem sets the tone for season 2. Magic Johnson and his crew dash from the hardwood to their coach, and this exhilarating tone sums up the entire mood of the show!
“Magic” by Olivia Newton-John: This catchy song from the 1980 movie Xanadu serves as a fitting introduction to Magic Johnson, the protagonist of season 2.
The song showcases Magic Johnson’s meteoric rise to fame through ads and signs all over LA and gives a glimpse into his extremely flamboyant lifestyle.
“Volare” by Bobby Rydell: This piece by the 1960s pop star Bobby Rydell accompanies the dialogue between Jerry Buss and Red Auerbach in New York after the 1980 NBA draft. Auerbach tells Buss about his scheme to acquire Parish and McHale, making the Celtics formidable rivals for the NBA title in 1981.
In Italian, Volare means ‘to fly’, which could be a subtle tribute to Larry Bird in Winning Time season 2.
“Girls On Film” by Duran Duran: As this exciting 1981 tune by Duran Duran fills the air, Coach Paul Westhead and his assistant Pat Riley chat about their plans for the next NBA season in sunny Palm Springs, California.
“Keeper of the Castle” by Four Tops: This 1972 song by the Four Tops accompanies Cookie’s imaginary dialogue with Magic in her bedroom in Lansing, Michigan.
Magic’s voice echoes in Cookie’s mind, making her realize that her current boyfriend is not enough for her future. The lyrics subtly warn Magic about his unfaithfulness to Cookie, such as “Be a good man to your lady.” That is something he has never been, has he?
“Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic: This 1967 rock anthem plays after Jerry Buss tells Jerry West how he’s ready to spend a fortune to get new players for the Lakers.
West is baffled by Buss’ optimism and extravagance, which hint at Buss’s idealistic visionary ideas that seem impossible to realists.
“Best of My Love” by The Emotions: This song plays during a montage of the ‘Showtime’ Lakers’ impressive start to their 1981 season after winning the 1980 NBA title.
It’s a sign that the Lakers are on track to have another stellar season that could lead to consecutive NBA championships with their dynamic and dazzling basketball.
“I Feel Love” by Donne Summer: Halfway through Winning episode 1, Donna Summer’s famous 1976 disco hit plays over a long highlight reel that shows the cultural obsession with Magic Johnson.
The montage is interrupted when Magic hurts his knee during a regular season game in November 1980, shattering his world and the Lakers’ rhythm in a truly heartbreaking moment.
“Feel Good” by Fancy: This retro-sounding rock song by Fancy was released in 2001. It plays when Magic is having sex with a woman while the Lakers are losing badly on TV. During the scene, Magic first notices how he is treated differently when he’s not performing well on the basketball court.
“Wobble on Back” by The Cymbals: This instrumental plays during a game night with Jerry Buss and his kids, Jeanie, Johnny, and Jimmy, who have fun playing Monopoly.
The song makes it seem like the Buss family is enjoying themselves playing the game until a drunk Jerry decides to lecture his sons about life and business, spoiling their casual game night.
“Time For Livin'” by Sly & The Family Stone: As the first episode of Winning Time season 2 draws to a close, Magic embraces his newborn son Andre for the first time ever.
He is joined by his relatives and Michelle Mitchell, the mother of his child, at a Michigan hospital. The song conveys the message that Magic needs to balance his fatherhood duties with his stellar career as the Lakers’ star.
“You’re the One for Me” by D Train: This groovy pop tune accompanies the final scene of this episode, where Magic finally gets rid of his cast. The Lakers achieve remarkable victories without Magic, thanks to Paul Westhead’s new offensive System. The song reflects this moment’s upbeat mood and the team’s enthusiasm.
“She’s My Lady (and She’s Lovely)” by The Grooving Company: After Paul Westhead’s System proves successful without Magic, Buss and the team feel more relaxed after a stunning winning streak.
This funk song has a retro vibe that resembles the late 70s, but it was actually released in 2019.
2. Winning Time Season 2, Episode 2, “The Magic Is Back”
“Urgent” by Foreigner: This 1981 rock anthem sets the tone for the first private training session between Magic and assistant coach Pat Riley in Winning Time season 2, episode 2.
Magic struggles to regain his confidence after his knee injury and needs a push from Riley to stop overthinking and focus on returning to his former glory. The song captures Magic’s renewed determination during the 1980-81 season.
“Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores: This 1981 hit plays as Jerry Buss reunites with his old flame Honey after over a decade. The song reflects Jerry’s enthusiasm for rekindling his romance with Honey and matches his lofty expectations that she would still be smitten with him after all these years.
The song fades to create a cozy mood for their long-overdue amorous delusions.
“Rocking” by Brief Encounter: This 1981 disco song by Brief Encounter is featured after the Lakers’ win against the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 1981 NBA Playoffs.
The song kicks in after the fractured and tense Lakers team finally finds some harmony during the series and makes their way to the private jet to LA. The ambiance creates a festive vibe that would soon be shattered by the clash between Coach Paul Westhead and Pat Riley.
“In the Middle of Love” by HP Riot: This 1973 funk song by HP Riot plays near the end of episode 2, as Coach Westhead discovers Pat Riley’s possible betrayal. The upbeat song ironically plays over Westhead’s confrontation with Riley before they head to the back of the plane, where Westhead accuses Riley of leaking information to the press.
The lyrics hint at mixed signals and deception in love, which can be applied to Westhead’s bewilderment and feeling of being betrayed by Riley.
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye: Last but not least, this 1970 classic by Marvin Gaye is perfectly utilized at the end of Winning Time season 2, episode 2, to emphasize the rumors and deceptions that ripped the 1980–81 Lakers apart.
A major theme of the episode is second-hand sources and conflicting information behind the scenes of the Lakers’ locker room and front office. The closing song choice is spot on thematically, seamlessly blending into the closing soundtrack of Winning Time season 2.
3. About Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is an American sports drama television series created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht for HBO, based on the book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman.
The first season, comprising 10 episodes, chronicles the 1980s Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team (beginning in late 1979), featuring notable NBA stars Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
It features an ensemble cast led by John C. Reilly, Jason Clarke, Jason Segel, Gaby Hoffmann, Rob Morgan, and Adrien Brody. The series premiered on March 6, 2022, with the pilot episode directed by Adam McKay. In April 2022, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on August 6, 2023.