Valar Morghulis: What NBA Players Need To Know To Win The Game Of Thrones

The fourth season of Game of Thrones premieres on HBO tonight and we couldn’t be more excited. Not only is it an addicting show, but the return of Daenerys, Tyrion and that despicable boy king we all love to hate also means we’re closing in on the best point of the NBA calendar. Yes, winter is coming but so are the NBA Playoffs.

With only a few weeks left in the regular season, everyone looking to climb to the NBA throne should take some solace in knowing that Red Weddings only happen in dank, dreary castle halls when the wine is flowing red and the musicians are playing. That doesn’t mean the characters of both the TV show and the book series can’t provide our favorite athletes with a little advice on how to conquer and win in this game of thrones.

Beware: SPOILERS below…

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“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” – Petyr Baelish

While LeBron James and Kevin Durant soak up the spotlight, the Clippers continue their campaign behind leader Chris Paul. While recognized as a great mind of the realm, “Littlefinger” is also often overlooked. Ignore the prowess of a brilliant mind at your own peril. Paul uses deception and trickery just like Baelish to confuse his opponents. (Video below is NSFW.)

“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.” – Tyrion Lannister

Despite Kobe Bryant missing essentially the entire season and being 35 years old, Kupchak re-signed the former star to a two-year, $48 million deal. The previous year, he signed a 37-year-old point guard with injury concerns for $30 million over three years. While Nash and Bryant are both Hall of Famers, their best days are behind them.

“Nothing burns like the cold.” – Gared, of the Night’s Watch

Picking the worst opportunity to cool off, the Pacers are a pretty sub-par 10-10 over their last 20 games and continue to struggle on offense. Not unlike the Night’s Watch, which begins to turn on itself in the dire cold of the North, the Pacers have begun taking shots at each other through the media, with Roy Hibbert recently calling out his “selfish” teammates. I fear the darkness will overtake Indiana if the former brothers can’t stand together once more.

“Every flight begins with a fall.” – The Crow from Bran’s dream.

Bran is often dismissed in comparison to his older and more accomplished siblings, yet there is something special about him. Sound familiar? Often in the shadow of Kevin Durant, Westbrook is destined for greatness. He has had struggled to stay healthy over the last season and a half but perhaps he had to fall down in order to get back up a stronger, more mature player. Westbrook is no stranger to recovery, or flight.

“I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.” – Robert Baratheon

After winning back-to-back titles, LeBron has begun to see just how difficult it is to stay at the top. There isn’t a single team in the NBA that doesn’t want to steal the Heat’s spot at the mountaintop. Despite leading his team to the best record in the East, most of the world has turned away from ‘Bron to crown Kevin Durant the next MVP. It wears on a man the constant covetous nature of his enemies–hopefully LeBron will bear the burden better than the late Baratheon.

“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion Lannister

The Suns were supposed to lead this season’s tankapalooza. They were the runts of the Western Conference litter. But they would not go quietly into the night. Hornacek looked his team up and down and saw the worth beneath the surface in players like the Morris twins, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and Goran Dragic. Tyrion had to accept what and who he was before he could rise to his potential, just as Hornacek has brought the Suns to heights no one thought possible.

“Some truths did not bear saying, and some lies were necessary.” – Catelyn Stark

In deep hot water with a passionate fan base, Dolan needed a scapegoat. In walks Phil Jackson. Dolan claims it’s about winning and relinquishing control of the franchise, but is that really the case? Or does Dolan want someone else to take the lashings should the Knicks fail to return to relevance? This passage was a thought Cat had whilst conversing with the Freys, who eventually betrayed Lady Stark and killed her and her son. Will the Knicks fans forever stay loyal in the face of repeated disappointment after disappointment?

“A man who won’t listen can’t hear.” – Osha

Osha is talking about Robb Stark, who, despite much advising, rides south to a war in which he is hopefully outmatched. He is unaware of the threat resonating in the north, but Robb is determined and stubborn. Many people believe Bryant is done, that he will never again lead a championship campaign. But Bryant can’t hear the doubters–his mind is made up and he believes he is capable of greatness. Only time will tell if Bryant is more successful than the Young Wolf.

“And pray that he is the man I think he is[…]and not the man I fear he has become.” – Eddard Stark on Robert Baratheon

After a long and eventful tenure with the Association, Stern has moved on. He places the league in the hands of his pupil and long-time colleague Adam Silver. Silver has yet to truly make his mark as ruler of the league but all hope he’s a man of benevolence and charity. The game is facing many new challenges, including advertising and tanking–how Silver handles these issues in the coming years will play a large part in defining his legacy.

“You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers.” – Viserys Targaryen

While Viserys is far from a scary figure in the novel and never did get to “wake the dragon”, if there was a dragon in the NBA, who but the Spurs deserves the reference? The Spurs dominance over the past two decades is special. Last year, the Heat stole what would’ve been a fairy tale ending to the narrative of Tim Duncan. The Spurs have not forgotten and have ravaged their way through the regular season. The Spurs are playing fast and furious and are pining for another shot at the current champions.

“And when you have it, what then? Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust.”- Eddard Stark

What happened when Ned found the answers he searched so hard for? He fell victim, and died for the honor he so strongly believed in. Durant has long pondered his NBA ranking, noting numerous times that he no longer wanted to be number two. If Durant is awarded the MVP, he will really start to feel the pressure. If he finds that which he seeks, all the NBA critics will began to grill him like they grilled LeBron before him, and Jordan before that. The people expect results far beyond regular season accommodations from the NBA’s “best” player.

What do you think?

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