It’s no coincidence that the two biggest draws on live television are “Game of Thrones” and live sports. The HBO phenomenon – the most-decorated show in history – at its best is like sports, from sparking barstool debates to spawning rivalries and inspiring team loyalty.
With the seventh and penultimate season of “Game of Thrones” ending Sunday, and NBA training camps opening next month, what Great House would your team be?
The Celtics: House Targaryen
The Targaryens are an old, mighty house who built the greatest dynasty of them all, and now a once-minor family member in Daenerys returns as the head of the family to return it to its former glory. Sounds like Danny Ainge, First of his Name, Maker of Trades, Master of Deals. He even lured a key player from the opposition (Kyrie Irving/Tyrion Lannister), although they lost a key piece to his future (Nets’ coveted 2018 pick), like Daenerys lost dragon Viserion.
The Warriors: The Army of the Dead
An already unstoppable, inexorable force of nature that gets stronger and stronger. They even seem to gain strength by absorbing and annexing beaten foes like Kevin Durant (wights, ice bears and now ice dragons). Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are White Walkers, and there are even links in the distant past to the Spurs (Steve Kerr), just like there are theories connecting the Night King to House Stark.
The Cavaliers: House Lannister
LeBron James would fit playing the role of Queen Cersei: Royal and used to it. He’s even called King James. His agent, Rich Paul, is his most trusted Qyburn-like adviser, executing his plans (ahem, Lakers). Kyrie Irving tired of being the loyal little brother, and joined another house just like Tyrion did. But with GM David Griffin (Tywin) gone, will Isaiah Thomas (Jaime) commit or will the house disintegrate from within?
The Spurs: House Stark
Oft-overlooked because of location, the Spurs represent the biggest state like Winterfell rules the largest kingdom. The stern leadership, the soldier father figures (David Robinson as Rickard, Tim Duncan as Ned), the hard-working son who lost his own dad (Kawhi Leonard as Jon Snow), Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge as Sansa and Arya, with Gregg Popovich always seeing ahead like Bran, the new Three-Eyed Raven.
The Knicks: House Baratheon
This is a proud house that’s become a hot mess. Phil Jackson lost the Game of Thrones and paid the price, as did Robert. Charles Oakley got banished like Renly got murdered by his brother, Stannis. Entitled Jim Dolan treating his father’s empire like a toy is the perfect Joffrey, and sorry leadership caused the best hired warrior (Carmelo Anthony) to desert like the Hound. They can only hope Kristaps Porzingis returns from lengthy wanderings abroad with a bang, like Gendry.
The Clippers: House Tyrell
They’re rich as sin with more resources than anybody else, Steve Ballmer ($30 billion) the richest owner in sports. They went all-in chasing the crown, but all it’s gotten them are season-ending injuries to Blake Griffin (Sir Loras), the loss of Chris Paul (Olenna and Margaery), and not a single conference final. Highgarden has fallen.
The Timberwolves: House Mormont
Taskmaster Tom Thibodeau’s old-school ways wear on some, the way Lord Commander Jeor Mormont saw a mutiny. Jimmy Butler, like Jorah, has his own complicated family history but a new second chance. Now the future of the house is in the hands of scene-stealing youngsters (Wiggins+Towns+Patton = Lyanna). Besides, can you get more Minnesota than a She Bear?
The Heat: House Bolton
If the Spurs are the Starks, the Heat are the rival Boltons, with cunning Pat Riley in the role of Roose. They beat San Antonio in the 2013 final, just like the Boltons got the early upper hand on the Starks. But as they had their Battle of the Bastards, Miami got chewed up 4-1 the next year. Think Ramsay getting chewed up by his dogs.
The Nets: House Tully
Brooklyn’s culture fits House Tully’s mantra: Family, duty, honor. Unfortunately, they’ve fared about as well lately. Catelyn, Lysa and Brynden were all killed, Edmure made a captive and that Nets trade with Boston was their Red Wedding.
The Rockets: The Brotherhood Without Banners
A disparate and desperate crew coming together for a common cause — albeit one that looks hopeless. They added Paul (and they hope Anthony) to James Harden, the way Beric Dondarrion and Thoros recruited the Hound. But will it be enough?
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