How Michael Chiklis And Sean Patrick Small Made Us Sympathize With Larry Bird In Winning Time

Media Credits : Pimiso


The HBO series WINNING TIME dramatizes the story of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers dynasty. Larry Bird of the rival Boston Celtics is often portrayed as the villain while the Lakers are the protagonists. Actors Michael Chiklis and Sean Patrick Small humanized Bird in a season 2 episode focusing on his backstory.Chiklis and Small discuss the challenges, preparation, performances and impact of playing Bird’s mentor Red Auerbach and Bird himself. They explain how they made viewers sympathize with one of the NBA most complex figures.

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The Challenge of Playing a Villain

Portraying Larry Bird meant confronting the perception among Lakers fans that Bird was the cold-blooded nemesis for Sean Patrick Small. Small had to showcase Bird motivations and humanity beneath the competitive ruthless exterior. He also had to depict Bird development from tragic beginnings to confident stardom.Small had to capture Bird struggle with poverty, his father’s suicide and a broken marriage. He also had to showcase Bird basketball brilliance in shooting, passing and rebounding. Overall Small had to make viewers empathize with a multidimensional character.

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Preparing to Understand Larry Bird

Small extensively researched Larry Bird life from start to finish to take on this complex role. He consumed books, interviews, articles and biographies about Bird family, friends, team and rivals. Small studied footage of Bird college and NBA games to analyze his skills and style.Small worked on imitating Bird Indiana accent and swagger. He also trained rigorously to emulate Bird basketball capabilities. Co-star Michael Chiklis advised Small on accurately capturing Bird personality and motivation.

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Delivering a Nuanced Portrayal of Larry Bird

Sean Patrick Small excelled at presenting Larry Bird charisma and humanity according to critics and fans. He made Bird relatable while showcasing his competitive fire. Small developed an authentic dynamic with Chiklis as mentor Red Auerbach.Small made the audience sympathize with Bird as a fully realized person most importantly not a villainous caricature. Viewers gained understanding and appreciation for Bird background and achievements through Small performance.

Media Credits : Sportscasting

The Positive Impact of Humanizing Larry Bird

Small empathetic portrayal significantly enriched the show by adding complexity to Bird character. His acting made Bird feel real, flawed and human. WINNING TIME became a more thoughtful depiction of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry as a result.Small earned acclaim for his versatility in taking on the controversial role. Even Larry Bird himself expressed appreciation for how Small humanized him. Overall Small powerfully reshaped perceptions of Bird through his nuanced acting.

Media Credits : Sports Illustrated Va...


Michael Chiklis and Sean Patrick Small remarkably made audiences connect with Larry Bird in WINNING TIME. They confronted the difficulties of depicting a perceived villain and antagonist. They delivered outstanding performances that revealed Bird humanity through extensive research and preparation. Their work enriched the series and achieved a positive impact by recontextualizing a complex icon.

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