Note: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, including the finale.
For the last time on Sunday night, the concluding episode of the historic hit Game of Thrones aired. The reactions from social media displayed a keen level of disappointment and frustration after not only the series finale, but also, the eighth season as a whole took a nosedive from finishing plotlines and character arcs and instead went for dramatic effect.
Game of Thrones and the NBA is an intriguing combination that provides similarities in shifting power balance from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. In fact, Bleacher Report has a spin-off show called Game of Zones that combine NBA storylines with scenes from Thrones. With that being said, there is one NBA season that strikes similarities to the final season and finale of Thrones.
The one NBA campaign that provides a similarity to the finale and last season of Game of Thrones is the 2016 Golden State Warriors season.
Now, you might ask why I chose this particular season.
The Warriors were coming off a historic regular season, winning 73-games, including 24-0 to start the season. Golden State was led by MVP Stephen Curry, or Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones terms. He torches teams from beyond the arc like how Drogon blasted through King’s Landing with his fiery breath.
Golden State went through the first two rounds of the 2016 postseason against the Rockets and Blazers fairly easily, but ran into trouble in a long and athletic Oklahoma City team led by Kevin Durant. They fell down three games to one, until Curry and Klay Thompson led a comeback to reach the NBA Finals, like how Arya Stark and Jon Snow led a comeback in the Battle of Winterfell in the third episode of the eighth season.
Then, the NBA Finals hit. A date with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second-year in a row, an opportunity for the Warriors to complete the greatest season ever. A similar opportunity presented itself for Thrones to become one of the greatest television series of all-time.
Suddenly, both opportunities dwindled and withered away like the ice dust, the Night King turned into when Arya stabbed him in the stomach.
The Warriors opportunity at a back-to-back championship at a historic level was lost when they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Cavaliers. The biggest shot, coming in Game 7, Kyrie Irving, or in this case, Jon Snow for this example, stabbed the defending champs in the heart with one of the greatest Finals shots in history, like how Snow had put a dagger through Daenerys Targaryen (aka Curry in this instance) to destroy the hopes of the Warriors sitting on the throne again. He became the prince who was promised with that dagger.
In the end, LeBran James won the Finals MVP for Cleveland and was once again, the king of the realm. He envisioned this success when he came back to Cleveland. Ultimately, he couldn’t see how it would exactly happen, but he made it happen by being the best player on the floor.
However, a couple of seasons later, Cleveland’s stars split apart with Irving going to Boston, James going to Los Angeles and Kevin Love staying in Cleveland. It compares to the Stark children going their separate ways in the finale with Sansa staying in the North, Bran ruling the six kingdoms and Arya sailing west of Westeros on a giant Stark ship.
As for the Warriors season, it was promising and historic, until it wasn’t. Just like the finale and last season of Game of Thrones. The Warriors built up their fanbase with the records broken and the team play, while Thrones accumulated its fans throughout the seasons. However, the team and show crumbled under mountainous pressure and expectations by fans and analysts alike.
For the Warriors that offseason, it was different in that a batch of key free agents were available.
What did the Warriors say that offseason in July about Cleveland’s chances of repeating to win the NBA title?