One of my great hopes in life is that George R.R. Martin will release the next book in the series that inspired Game of Thrones, and when fans start reading, they will quickly discover that the whole thing is about a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Westeros. My reasoning is simple: it would be hilarious. Think of the reaction. People would lose their minds.
Actually, no. I lied. There are two reasons I want this to happen. First, yes, the part where I would laugh and laugh. But second, because I kind of do want to know how good the characters are at basketball. I have put a lot of thought into it. Like, a lot. So much so that I have chosen to fill this void of knowledge by creating this list, ranking over 50 characters from the show based on how good I think they would be, from worst to best.
A few preliminary notes about my methodology:
- The rankings are based on things we’ve learned on the show only. I have not read the books. If you have read the books and have information that would alter the list substantially, you should consider making your own. It’s quite fun.
- The rankings are not limited to characters who are still alive. We’ve got dead ones in there, too.
- Living characters are ranked based on current potential ability (with one exception), and deceased characters are ranked based on potential ability at the time of their death.
- This is all very scientific.
Away we go.
50. (tie) Joffrey Baratheon
The Baratheon (“Baratheon”) children bring nothing to the table. Tommen is an easily manipulated spineless rube who would probably hand the ball to the other team if they told him he had to, Joffrey would get tossed before every opening tip and then pout about it, and Myrcella would… get poisoned? Admittedly, I don’t have a great grasp on Myrcella. Guilty by association with the other two.
49. Viserys Targaryen
Glam rock Joffrey.
48. Catelyn Stark
47. Samwell Tarly
Sweet people who appear to have no athletic ability whatsoever. Samwell gets the edge because he has this streak of dumb luck, and he would probably make a few shots as he was hopelessly stumbling to the ground.
46. Rickon Stark
Very little time to practice ball-handling when you’re running for your life and/or left for dead in a dungeon.
45. The High Sparrow
My first thought was that the High Sparrow could be a valuable addition to a team as a leader of men, even if his advanced age would make him a liability on the floor. But then I realized he’d almost definitely try to appoint himself referee and stop the action every few minutes to make people march around naked to atone for committing personal fouls. Games would take forever.
44. Theon Greyjoy
I refuse to believe Theon is good at basketball. Pre-Reek, I bet he called for the ball constantly and then committed a turnover within moments of catching it. Post-Reek, I bet he just stands in the corner and looks down at his shoes.
43. Cersei Lannister
[sits on bench drinking wine and scoffing at things]
42. Sansa Stark
Sansa is taller and much more resilient than she was when the series started (Sansa has been through a lot), but she’s still not much of an athlete.
41. Jaime Lannister (post-amputation)
No right hand. And not like “can’t dribble or finish as well with his right as he can with his left,” either. He quite literally has no right hand. Could be an issue.
40. Robert Baratheon
I have a great deal of respect for Robert Baratheon for leading a successful rebellion against a lunatic and then spending most of his time as king drinking wine and eating large slabs of meat, but I don’t see where a fat drunken has-been fits into a lineup in the era of small ball.
39. Ramsay Bolton
There are a lot of similarities between Ramsay and Kobe Bryant that are worth discussing and that could conceivably bump Ramsay into the top ten on this list. There’s also a very good possibility that he would bring a knife on the court and disembowel someone as they drove to the basket, which is almost definitely a flagrant foul.