Larry Bird Will Love Portrayal In 'Winning Time' Show, Actor Newton Mayenge Says

Magic Johnson may hate the show, but Larry Bird is gonna be THRILLED with the next season of “Winning Time” … so says actor Newton Mayenge, who tells TMZ Sports he thinks the Celtics legend will love his portrayal in the project.

It’s no secret — some ex-Lakers superstars aren’t too pleased with HBO’s hit series that documents the Showtime era … with Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar publicly ripping it to shreds.

We spoke with Mayenge — who plays former NBAer Jim Chones on the show — about the backlash from the OGs … and while he says the WT actors would love their support and approval, they still have a job to do.

“It was a love story for them,” Mayenge tells us. “If they don’t necessarily see it that way, it’s unfortunate, but we gotta continue to move forward.”

Season 2 will focus on the Lakers’ rivalry with the Boston Celtics, which means Larry Legend will play a huge part … and Mayenge had nothing but praise for the guy tasked with the role.

“My castmate who plays him, Sean Patrick Small, he was born to play Larry Bird, first and foremost,” Mayenge says.

“He freaking killed it. My personal opinion is Larry’s gonna love it because once again, it’s a love letter to him as well.”

In fact, Mayenge even praises Small’s hoop skills … saying the guy “embodies” the Hall of Famer on and off the court.

We’ll find out what Larry thinks when the season drops in August.

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