Pairing 2013 NBA Playoff Superstars with Their 'Game of Thrones' Counterparts
Other than the NBA playoffs and the HBO series being two of the most watched things on television, it got me to wondering: Are there more connections? Are there players who resemble certain characters from the show?
Granted, you're not going to draw a lot of parallels physically; there aren't many 6'8'' leapers on the show. But in terms of personality and character traits, there are some striking similarities.
We found one player from each team who made it to the postseason's second round and had certain things in common with their Game of Thrones doppelganger. They are listed here, ranked by how much I liked the comparison.
Jon Snow/Paul George
Banished to the north, Jon Snow has assembled a fighting force of outcasts who have climbed the wall and headed south, where they intend to do battle.
During his time in the north, the aptly-named Snow learned about himself and matured from a young adult into a grown man.
He learned how to lead, and also proved to be versatile, adapting to survive and rise to the top in one situation after another.
Paul George, similarly, was drafted to the frozen tundra of Indianapolis out of the sunny climate of Fresno. Similarly, through a series of events, he has been surrounded by a ragtag group of misfits who have overcome through sheer strength of heart and fortitude.
Versatility is also one of George's best assets. He’s a three-point shooter who can put the ball on the floor and cut to the rim. He can play either wing position. And, of course, he is a tremendous defender.
Ser Bronn of the Blackwater/Marc Gasol
Ser Bronn is best known for his prowess as a sell-sword. He doesn't use much in the way of armor because he doesn't need it, indicating an elite defensive prowess.
His skills with the sword were revealed when he stepped up to help Tyrion Lannister as his substitute in trial by combat. When the Stone Crows captured Tyrion, he was ready to come to his defense again.
As commander of the city watch, he was instrumental in preserving King's Landing, leading to the successful defense of the city.
You get the picture. Bronn seems to be mainly concerned with defense, and Marc Gasol is the Defensive Player of the Year. It's not very hard to draw a link here.
Arya Stark/Stephen Curry
Arya Stark is easily one of the most likable characters in the show. She is an absolute fighter, whether it is with her sword and her bow (she’s a great shot, by the way) or her mind and her mouth.
She believes in all the right things and has high values. She fights for her friends, and though she has lost her father and been separated from her family, the nobility that courses through her veins seems to naturally manifest itself; even older warriors end up following her, one way or another.
Stephen Curry, as you may have noticed, is also a pretty good shot. In addition, he has NBA nobility in his blood, and he is a natural leader.
While much of the attention has been placed on his stupendous play this postseason, and deservedly so, the way he took leadership of the team was also impressive. Younger, up-and-coming stars, like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes and seasoned veterans Andrew Bogut and David Lee willingly followed the younger man's lead.
All the makings of a good Stark kid. He may have had a setback this year, but with both him and Arya, I suspect the best is ahead.
Tyrion Lannister/Nate Robinson
Tyrion Lannister and Nate Robinson are certainly not a perfect match, but they have a lot in common.
For starters, there’s that whole diminutive stature thing. But it’s not just the fact they are both vertically challenged, it’s that neither of them seems to be the slightest bit interested in letting that little (pun intended) obstacle get in their way.
Robinson uses his athleticism while Tyrion uses his brain, but both find a way to get things done when they are needed most, even if it means raining fire to do it. Whether it's Tyrion plotting to win the Battle of Blackwater, or Robinson getting red-hot in Game 4 against Brooklyn, both of the little fellas came up big and saved the day.
Oh, and you can count at least one good quote out of each of them every week.
Jaime Lannister/Carmelo Anthony
When both Jaime Lannister and Carmelo Anthony were very young, they had a singular achievement that has defined them since. For Jaime, it happened when the insane king, whom Jaime had sworn to obey, commanded him to kill his own father.
That didn’t work out well for the mad king, whom Jamie killed rather than obey. Lannister was henceforth known as Kingslayer.
Anthony led the Syracuse Orangemen to their first NCAA title and had a remarkable run doing so. He scored 33 points in the national semifinal and had 20 points and 10 boards in the final. It earned him the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.
It gave him “championship pedigree.”
With both men, after earning their reputations early in life, they did little to uphold it. Jaime became something of a carouser who didn’t do a lot of fighting. Anthony did a lot of shooting and scoring, but very little winning.
Anthony's career postseason record is a woeful 22-43.
Oh and there’s this. Lannister just got his hand chopped off, and Anthony, at about the same time, started shooting like his hand had been chopped off once the playoffs started. Coincidence?
Robb Stark/Kevin Durant
Robb Stark is the natural and humble leader of the North. He is currently leading his army in rebellion against the egotistical King Joffrey, with whom he had a rivalry even before the war began.
Stark was counting his many victories and seemed on the precipice of being able to claim his ultimate one when he captured Jaime Lannister as his prisoner. But Stark’s mother, in a desperate attempt to save her daughters, agreed to a prisoner exchange.
Since then, it’s been one step forward and two steps back for the young king.
Stark is also without the service of his best friend, Theon Greyjoy, who has betrayed him and paid the price for it. Without going into a lot of detail, I’ll just say that Greyjoy paid a pretty “stiff” penalty, and leave it at that.
Durant, much like Stark, is a born leader, but very modest. He too is up against a man a lot of fans would consider to be an egotistical king, and without his best friend and sidekick (albeit for entirely different reasons).
Both were right at the precipice of conquering when everything fell apart. Both seem to be getting beaten further back rather than moving forward.
Yet, you get the sense that with both, it’s merely a growth and maturation process that will ultimately lead to great success.
Barristan Selmy/Tim Duncan
Barristan Selmy is a grizzled veteran who has been through more wars and battles than anyone would care to remember.
He has never wavered in his loyalty to the House Targaryen, even after he was dismissed from the Kingsguard. When he was sent away, he was ready to go at five Gold Cloaks, and they backed down, showing that after all these years, he is still not a man to be trifled with.
Tim Duncan is a lot like Selmy in that he has been winning battles for a lot of years. This season, he became the first player over 36 in nearly 30 years to score 1,200 points, grab 600 boards and block 150 shots.
He is also a lot like the old man in his unwavering loyalty. For all the credit that Kobe Bryant gets for never leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, it would be foolish for the Mamba to leave the most successful franchise in the basketball history. Tim Duncan, on the other hand, has never left the perennially overlooked San Antonio Spurs.
And, while it’s never been explicitly stated, you get the sense that Ser Barristan emphasized the fundamentals when he was training young squires.
Joffrey Baratheon/David Stern
I struggled with coming up with a counterpart for Joffrey, whom I despise with a passion. The little narcissist is flat-out evil. How can you justify killing Ros?
No player deserves the name Joffrey attached to him. No player in the NBA is that evil. No player has committed the atrocities that he has. No player has been so corrupted with power. No player has sat and ruled with an iron fist, deluded into thinking that he is loved when he is despised by all.
But David Stern is a totally different story. He thinks the playoffs are about him. He arbitrarily decides when trades are fair or not fair. He will fine anyone who dares question his almighty authority.
Now there is a Joffrey we can get behind.
Daenerys Targaryen/Erik Spoelstra
You simply cannot have a list like this and not have Daenerys Targaryen. She is becoming the most captivating, cunning and dangerous woman on TV.
She once lost everything, but now she he is Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass, the Breaker of Chains and, most importantly, the Mother of Dragons.
As the Mother of Dragons, she is going from kingdom to kingdom, using her three dragons to kick butt and take names. She has an army, the “Unsullied” and the “Untested,” to back them up. The Unsullied are veteran soldiers, who only care about winning. The Untested haven’t completed their training, but are being set loose to be “blooded,” which I think translates to "unleash more killing."
You don’t want to be on the wrong side of Daenerys. You really don’t want to be this guy.
Erik Spoelstra gave up almost all of his team in order to acquire two of his three dragons, LeBron James, Chris Bosh (LeDrogon and Chriserion, if you will) to join forced with Dwyane Wade (Rhaedwyane).
Soon, he got his hands of “Unsullied” players like Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen. Now, he is “blooding” with the likes of Norris Cole.
She is bad to the bone, and so are the Heat, who have won 46 of their last 50 games. They are pretty much just scorching everyone who is in their path.
Fire-breathing dragons tend to do that.