For the past 6 years, no two people or entities have dominated summers quite like Lebron James and Game of Thrones fan favorite Jon Snow. Lebron has managed to make it the NBA finals every year Game of Thrones has been a TV show. The two perfectly synced timelines has allowed the parallels of the show and the league have melded so seamlessly, that Bleacher Report even has a mini web series called “Game of Zones” which pokes fun at the overlapping timelines of the two summertime entertainment powerhouses.
I consider myself a super fan of both the NBA and Game of Thrones. I read books about each, I watch both religiously, I’ve looked for Easter eggs in old episodes and chapters of Game of Thrones just like I look for clues and subtle hints in NBA Free Agents social media presence. Seriously, the similarities are uncanny.
There’s one thing I’ve been dying to say. I wish I had a mountain top so I could scream it from the top of my lungs, but I don’t. What I have is a blog that we literally resurrected like Jon Snow’s lifeless body in Season 6 episode 2 of GoT…Jon Snow and Lebron James have had the exact same character story arc…and I can prove it.
Step 1: The Unknown Lineage
I am writing this on 07/14/2017, and although it is heavily implied who Jon Snow’s father is, the show has yet to reveal this to it’s fans. I am very aware of the R+L=J theory, but if the show has taught me anything, it’s that it can differentiate from the books and to not believe anything until you see it. Right now, we do not know who Jon Snow’s father is. Lebron James was raised by a single mother. We know Lyanna Stark is Jon Snows mother just as we know Gloria James is Lebron James’s mother.
The obvious counterargument is, we sort of know who Lebron James’s father is…but doesn’t that help prove my point? We sort of know who Jon Snow’s father is, but it has not yet been revealed to the public. Lebron’s father is certainly not a public figure, and neither is Jon Snows (yet).
Step 2: Kids of the North
This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. Cleveland, or Akron, is one of the most Northern cities in the NBA. Is it the very, very North? No, that belongs to Toronto. Is Winterfell, Jon Snow’s home, the most Northern place in Westeros? Absolutely not. There’s plenty of places North of Winterfell. Still, the two characters are synonymous with the North. The only thing that would make it a better fit is if Cleveland and Minnesota switched places, making the Cavs in the Western Conference. We could then also add that Westeros and the Western Conference parallel.
Step 3: The Best of Their Class
It’s no secret that Lebron James is the best basketball player to come out of the 2003 NBA Draft Class.
When Jon Snow went to the Wall and donned the black…who was the number one fighter? Who was the soldier that everyone knew was the only person you could argue was destined to become the best ranger in the Watch’s history? It was Jon Snow, that’s who.
The expectations for Jon were as heavy as the expectations as Lebron coming out of high school, and simply put, they were both expected to be greatness.
Step 4: The Team, The Team, The Team
Lebron James quickly cut and slashed his way through the NBA Finals in 2007. Quick question, who was the second best person on the squad? Booby Gibson? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Eric Snow (that last name is quite the coincidence…or is it?!?) Lebron was working with the Scot Pollard’s of the world…all the while Jon Snow was working with a bunch of rapist, thieves, and disappointments.
I’m talking your Pips, your Grims, your Samwell Tarly’s…sure, you know them after I say their name, but can you remember them/are they relevant to the story line at all? Only because Jon Snow makes them relevant.
Jon Snow was carrying the Night’s Watch all while Lebron James was carrying the Cavs.
Step 5: The Betrayal
Try as he might, Jon Snow and his rad tad group of felons got caught North of the Wall, they were separated, isolated, and close to the brink of death. He got captured so quickly by the enemy that he had to kill a member of his own team in order to stay alive. The half hand went down, and Snow ended up teaming with the Wildlings. Sure, we know that this was something he was told to do, something that was not easy for him, but he did it regardless because it was the best solution of the time. Sound like anything else that has happened in the NBA world?
Lebron stabbed his version of the Night’s Watch in the back when he was surrounded by the Celtics on their home court. He watched his teammates get bloodied by the blistering conditions, and he did what he had to do in order to survive and live up to his legacy. Was it easy for him? No chance. He admitted “man, this is tough” right before he stabbed his first team in the back.
They both joined their enemy.
Pat Riley is your Mance Raider, Dwyane Wade is your Ygritte, and Chris Bosh is the lovable Tormund Giantsbane. Three experienced fighters North of the Wall who have survived and thrived previously in different situations. Pat Riley assembled the Heatles, Mance Raider assembled all the tribes North of the Wall to one big POWERFUL team for the first time.
Two things that have never been seen before, and two things that changed the landscape for their perspective worlds.
Step 6: Doubts and Success
It’s hard to look back with the all of the knowledge that hindsight provides, but after losing to the Mavericks in the NBA finals, fans of Lebron James started to doubt if he truly was great. Sure, there have been plenty of successful people in the NBA who have never won a ring. You have your Ewings, your Barkleys, your Malones, your <insert NBA All Star During the Jordan Era Heres>. Winning an NBA title is a daunting task no matter who you is by your side.
Jon Snow had a similiar daunting task ahead of him. Mainly, how was he going to stay alive among the Wildlings who doubted him as well. Sure, his doubt is not an exact match of Lebrons. The Heat and Lebrons fans doubted his ability to win on the biggest stage, the Wildlings doubted Jon Snows allegiance. Still, doubt is doubt, there’s no doubt about that.
Lebrons daunting task was to win an NBA final. To get himself and his new team up and over the hill…or wall…and win an NBA championship.
Jon Snow quite literally also had to get his new team up and over a wall, and they were both successful. Still, both success’s felt somewhat fleeting.
Jon Snow made it up over the wall and seemed happy on the surface, but he achieved his goal on the wrong team. He was a Stark of Winterfell first, a member of the night’s watch second, and a Wildling third. Lebron James was a kid from Akron, a Cleveland Cavalier, and then a member of the Miami Heat. The further removed each character was from the source of their success, the less satisfying that success ultimately became.
Step 7: The Return
The heart wants what the heart wants, and both Jon Snow and Lebron James wanted to be successful with their original squads. The original talent that stayed in Cleveland all of the sudden started to become stronger. The Night’s Watch also dug their feet into the ground and looked like a place that could stand on it’s own and win the wars to come under the right leadership.
Both teams welcomed back their former traitors. Both were skeptical, Jon Snow had broken his vowels, hammered out Ygritte, and was accused of being a Wilding lover.
Lebron signed a one year deal letting everyone know how quickly this carriage could turn back into a pumpkin.
Still, the desperate teams had a power vacuum that needed to be filled. The only people that could do so were the two characters that have been there before.
Lebron had learned how to win a championship with the Heat.
Jon Snow learned how to successfully invade, evade, and defend with the Wildlings.
It was time to take their talents to the place that could benefit the most.
Step 8: First Year Back
This is where, to me, it gets super…dare I say….Erie. Get it? A Cleveland great lakes joke and an acknowledgement that these two people are the same character in different stories so much so that I’m writing over 2000 words on it? I’ll see myself out.
Lebron James had gone back to his team with his original goal: to bring the title to Cleveland.
Jon Snow had gone back to his team with his original goal: to protect the realm..or to DEFEND THE LAND.
It took one year for Lebron’s talents and knowledge to be useful and he got them back into a championship pedigree, by taking them to the Finals. Despite his herculean effort, they fell short of achieving this goal to the Golden State Warriors.
Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals was on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015. He had failed his city, and we were in a place where we didn’t know what Lebron was going to do next. Would he be a traitor and flee again? Would he stay? We didn’t know.
Jon Snow had also reached a point where his own team did not know what Jon Snow was going to do next. After his grueling battle at Hardhome, which debuted on May 31st, 2015, he realized a new enemy. A team that looked like it couldn’t be beaten: the Whitewalkers. He saw what he was up against, needed numbers, and decided to let the Wildlings across the very line he defended. The internal turmoil was real. He was the leader of men with a crew that didn’t know what his next move was going to be.
Lebron also had a glaring new enemy that emerged out of no where: The Golden State Warriors; a deadly team with ice cold shooting. To beat them, he also either needed to ship up, or ship out.
Lebrons first encounter with the Warriors was unsuccessful, but he was dominant and arguably the most valuable player in the series.
Jon Snow made it out alive, but his first encounter with the White Walkers wasn’t exactly successful at Hardhome. He was however, the most valuable swordsmen.
Lebron’s team failed him. They were riddled with injuries and not there for him when they needed him most.
Jon Snow’s team was fed up, and when he needed them to trust his guidance the most, they killed him.
The date of when the Cavs lost to the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the first time was Tuesday, June 16th, 2015.
The date of when Jon Snows team betrayed him and murdered him in cold blood was on Sunday, June 14th, 2015.
Two days before Lebron would ultimately fail, Jon Snow died. We were left in an unknown land of what was next for both characters.
Step 9: The Rebirth
In May of 2016 Jon Snow was born again, and breathed hope into the Night’s Watch regarding the battle to come.
In May of 2016 The NBA playoffs began again, and Lebron James breathed hope into the fans of Cleveland that they would finally win a championship.
Step 10: The Battle of the Bastards/Game 7
If I haven’t been able to convince you that this is somewhat of a significant coincidence, perhaps this will help. After everything both characters had gone to, the goal was finally clearly defined. Lebron needed a championship in Cleveland. Jon Snow, free of his vowels from the Nights Watch because, I mean, technically he died thus fulfilling the vowels, his goal was now to win back Winterfell.
There were just two things standing in both of their ways, and they were both bastards: The 2016 Golden State Warriors, and Ramsey Bolton.
The biggest test was to come: Game 7, an away game at Golden State to a team that was 73-9 throughout the season. Ramsey Bolton, who went on quite the impressive winning streak himself, had home court advantage AT Winterfell.
The problem for both the 2016 Golden State Warriors and Ramsey Bolton…their enemy had both been there before.
Lebron has never lost a Game 7 of the NBA Finals and was most familiar with the pressure and attention a Game 7 of the NBA Finals gets.
Jon Snow was born in Winterfell, and most familiar with it. He had been there before in his own way.
At the end of 3 quarters of basketball, the outcome for Lebron James looked bleak. The score was 76-75, his team was trailing, and although they had an impressively offensive 3rd quarter, they still did not figure out how to stop the scoring of the Golden State Warriors.
At the end of 3 quarters of the Battle of the Bastards, the outcome for Jon Snow looked bleak.
The score was 76-75, his team was trailing, and although they had an impressively offensive bout, they still did not figure out how to stop Ramsey and his army from destroying the Night’s watch and the Wildlings.
And then…in the most peculiar and unexpected way…help arrived.
Kyrie Irving provided an offensive burst when it was needed most.
The Vail swooped in and helped save Jon Snow.
Lebron had finally reached his goal. He, with the help of his team, brought a championship to Cleveland on June 20th, 2016.
The Battle of the Bastards was over and Jon Snow had finally won back his home, proved he could win on the battlefield with his team, and the episode aired on June 20th, 2016.
The Aftermath: What’s Next?
Jon Snow’s enemy is now the scariest enemy he has faced. The groundwork has been laid for Jon Snow vs. The White Walkers. The scariest, most deadly force in Game of Thrones.
Lebron James enemy is now the scariest enemy in the history of the NBA. He was up against the 73-9 Warriors, plus Kevin Durant.
We know what happens to Lebron in season 7. He loses to his version of the White Walkers.
If I was a betting man, I would say it’s safe to say that Jon Snow isn’t going to win anything this season either. Especially because we already know there is a Season 8, the final season, next year.
Will the parallel continue? Will the potential last season Lebron will ever play with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2017-2018 season, coincidentally coincide with the last season Jon Snow will be in our television lives…the Summer of 2018? If Lebron beats the Warriors next year in the Finals, will he retire and ride off into the sunset? If Jon Snows beats the White Walkers next season, will he do so on his own two feet? Will they both die trying? It’s hard to say, but at this point in time, I do know one thing.
Lebron James is Jon Snow, Jon Snow is Lebron James.