For the last seven years, the best part about summer was the thought that Winter is coming… As it seems to finally be arriving and characters begin to reveal their true nature, certain traits are unmistakably reminiscent of some of the sports figures we have all come to love and hate.
Here are some of the top Game of Thrones and Sports character comparisons:
WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
(1) King Robert Baratheon / Phil Jackson
King Robert Baratheon rose to prominence in his youth leading the rebellion against the Mad King. While always comfortable on the battlefield, this success never quite translated to his ability to rule. Despite all of his past successes, his lack of experience and political savvy made his reign a short one.
In the realm of sports, no better comparison exists for King Robert than Phil Jackson. Jackson rose to legendary status after a prolific coaching career, leading the Bulls and Lakers to NBA dominance in the 90’s and early 2000’s, respectively. These incredible coaching successes would ultimately become the basis for a massive 5-year, $12 Million/year contract offer from the New York Knicks for the position of Team President. Unfortunately, despite all of his success as a coach on the “front-line” of NBA courts, Jackson’s time as President of the Knicks was defined by total managerial ineptitude, coming to an end this summer after three notably terrible seasons.
Both Phil Jackson and King Robert showed incredible talent in their original chosen fields. Unfortunately for both, they will each be remembered as men who found themselves in roles they were not capable of filling.
(2) Queen Cersei Lannister / Commissioner Roger Goodell
Much of Cersei Lannister’s life-outlook can be boiled down to her infamous line, “Power is power.” Cersei is largely defined by her desire to have complete control over everything and everyone, eliminating threats as they arise. In this quest for power, Cersei often acts with a complete lack of foresight, concerned only with immediate gratification and without regard for potential consequences. Despite all of this, she just somehow manages to stay alive in a show where people seem to drop like flies.
It seems almost too obvious that Cersei’s sports-world comparison is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In his tenure as Commissioner, Goodell has made himself judge, jury, and executioner, most notably when it comes to player discipline. Goodell has proven unwilling to even pretend to relinquish power, even where doing so might boost his own public image. In fact, Goodell often acts with what appears to be total randomness as evidenced by the fluctuating suspensions doled out in the last 3 years.
In addition to all of this, what makes the two so comparable is the fact while their tactics have made them among the most hated in their respective worlds, they have nonetheless proven wildly successful. Football is the most popular sport in America and the NFL has grown substantially under Goodell.
Both Cersei and Goodell’s success and actions leave us all wondering when they will finally get the axe (literally and figuratively, respectively).
(3) Jaime Lannister / Derrick Rose
Jaime Lannister began the series as one of the most respected and feared men in Westeros. As one of the most talented fighters in the realm, slayer of the Mad King, and member of one of the most powerful families in Westeros, Jaime’s future appeared bright. However, all of this changed in an instant when Jaime’s sword hand was cut off, rendering incapable of doing the thing that once defined him. Now, Jaime’s future and position within the Westeros hierarchy appears endangered.
The King Slayer’s sport’s-world comparison is the enigmatic Derrick Rose. Like Jaime, Rose experienced tremendous success early in his career. In his third NBA season, Rose took home the MVP Award, slaying King James who had won the previous two and marking his position among the NBA elite. And then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, all of that potential seemed to evaporate. After tearing his ACL (and later injuring his knees repeatedly), Rose was never quite the same. Rendered incapable of doing the dynamic things that once made him great, Rose seemed lost.
Now, both Rose and Jaime Lannister will be forced to adapt to their new circumstances in order to survive.
(4) Lord Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger)/ Kevin Durant
Littlefinger came from humble beginnings, having been born into one of the smaller and younger houses in Westeros, but he has since risen to incredible heights (pun intended). Since the series began, Littlefinger has become Warden of the Vale, holding power over a massive army and seemingly impenetrable castle. Littlefinger achieved this status through cunning and strategy, making each move in furtherance of his own position. While most would disagree with his methods, his results to date are undeniable.
Littlefinger is exemplified in the sports-world by NBA Champion Kevin Durant. Like Littlefinger, Durant came from humble beginnings. While selected second overall in the draft, he went to the Sonics, a team whose future was doomed, and from there to OKC, a new team with an uncertain future. While he experienced success as a member of the Thunder, like Littlefinger, Durant was unsatisfied with anything less than the best. His decision to sign with Golden State was controversial, divisive and ultimately, chaotic. But as Littlefinger says, “Chaos is a Ladder.” Durant parlayed this chaos into his first NBA Championship. You might not like Kevin Durant’s decision. But damn it, he plays the game, and you can’t help but respect it.
(5) Queen Daenerys Targaryen / Commissioner Adam Silver
Queen Daenerys Targaryen is a leader and character that everyone can get behind. However, in order to get to that position, she has had to overcome the overwhelming shadow left by her father, the Mad King, whose cruelty led to the end of the Targaryen rule over the Seven Kingdoms. In her effort to retake the throne, Dany has chosen to sway common people to her side not through force like her father, but through strong, compassionate leadership. Unlike the aforementioned Cersei, Dany wants to unite the kingdoms rather than end up the “Queen of Ashes.”
Dany’s style of leadership is reminiscent of none other than Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA. While far from the Mad King, former NBA Commissioner David Stern proved to be a particularly controlling and divisive leader at points in his tenure. Prime examples include the imposition of the NBA dress code and most notably, his decision to veto the Chris Paul trade, completely altering the NBA Power dynamic. In following this leadership style, Silver was quick to differentiate himself from his predecessor. Additionally, like Dany, Silver is one of the most open-minded leaders in sports history, having taken a progressive stance on issues like marijuana and gambling. Most notably, Silver has shown an incredible ability to connect and unite the many interests’ groups that surround him. Under his leadership, the leagues relationship with players and the NBA Player’s Association has been stellar and the league itself has seen record revenues. While Silver came into the role through the NBA ranks, he truly is the leader we chose.
Stay Tuned! Arriving soon by raven: Part 2!
Photo courtesy of: Game of Thrones Wiki-Fandom