It might be the NBA offseason, and it also might not be. The games might be played on a cruise ship, or they might be played at an amusement park, or they might be played in stadiums without fans. Or they might not be played at all. We really don’t know what to expect, other than to expect the unexpected and keep on guessing.
And what is more unexpected than a Game Of Thrones plot twist? The answer, of course, is nothing.
As fans and experts have had a lot more time on their hands recently, there have been some thoughts being passed around about who the greatest Trail Blazers player of all time is. In line with that debate, I thought it would be interesting to decide which Game Of Thrones characters would represent past and present Blazers, and who would have the greatest claim to the Iron Throne? And therefore, the claim to be the greatest in franchise history?
Of Course not every GOT character has/had a legitimate claim to the throne, and so some of the players listed below have no chance at being the best Blazer of all time.There are also plenty of Blazers greats not listed below, and that is due to their not being a close enough comparison to a given character, and is not a slight against their career achievements.
I originally didn’t intend to give a spoiler warning for a show that concluded in 2019, but I gave it more thought and will assume not everyone has seen the entire series. So, for those of you who haven’t seen the final season of GOT, perhaps it’s best that your journey ends here.
But feel free to bookmark this page for reading when you do finish the series, which may or may not happen before Mr. Martin concludes his book series/version.
We’ll do this in ascending order, going through the players with no claim, all the way to the top and our ruler of the Blazers Kingdom.
No Valid Claim
Tyrion Lannister – Terry Porter
Everyone loves Tyrion, everyone loves Terry. Neither of them have a valid claim per se, but you know they would make a great leader. We’re just happy having them both along for the ride as the hand of the king where they can make the most impact.
Sansa Stark – CJ McCollum
There are probably better comparisons for CJ, but here’s the deal—both of them have done what they can to support Jon/Dame, they’ve been through hell and back (Ramsay Bolton for Sansa, Golden State for CJ) to get where they are today, and they are liked by fans and the team. Sansa helped Jon reclaim Winterfell, the same way CJ helped Dame get past Denver and on to the conference finals. While Dame wasn’t able to take down the Warriors with a bow in close quarters, he did his part while playing with a mysterious injury. Neither CJ nor Sansa has a valid claim to the throne, but they are both great at what they need to do, and that is to lead people in times of need, whenever called upon.
Theon Greyjoy – Scottie Pippen
Pippen may not have gone through everything Theon did while being developed/altered into the player he became on Jordan’s team, but by the time he landed in Portland, he may as well have. Still one of the game’s best defenders but lacking—let’s say “fight”—Pippen was all too happy to take a backseat to Sheed and the rest of the team on offense, which is the opposite of what the team needed if they were going to take down the Targaryens (Lakers) in the late-90s/early-2000s. The team needed Pippen still in his prime, but what they got was a mild-mannered version of Dennis Rodman. Which tells us Scottie was too used to being Jordan’s Robin to be our Batman.
Ned Stark/RobStark/Renly Barratheon – Sam Bowie/Greg Oden
All of these characters were cut down in tragic fashion before they could make their claim for the throne. Sound like anyone you know?
Yeah….That Could Be A Claim:
Jaime Lannister – Arvydas Sabonis
We never saw Sabas at his prime—only the later years when he was one of the most talented players seemingly stuck playing with one hand. We can only guess what he might have done if he had been able to display his true gifts. The guy was stuck trying to keep Sheed in check, and often failing to do so. Like Jaime, we only have his later years to judge him on, and we didn’t always get the results we were after. And like Sheed, his lack of a Finals appearance will always be buried by the legacy of Clyde.
Cersei Lannister – Rasheed Wallace
A two-time all-star and perhaps the first “unicorn” sighting of the modern NBA, Sheed helped bring Portland back to the championship conversation after a seven-year drought by appearing in conference finals in consecutive years, only to lose to two all-time great dynasties (Spurs, Lakers). The leader of the post-Clyde Blazers and a player still celebrated in Portland by those coming of age in the late-90s, Sheed had his moments of greatness, but they were usually overshadowed by his tendency to get himself (and the team) in trouble on and off the court. Sheed would definitely have a claim to the throne, and he may have even held it for a time, but his antics and one dragon named Glide would be his undoing.
Stannis Baratheon – LaMarcus Aldridge
A four-time All-Star while in Portland, LMA is near or at the top of every meaningful franchise statistic—except win shares and deep playoff runs. Captain of the team from 2012-2015, he led Portland on just one playoff run beyond the first round, only to get spit back out by the Spurs, who he eventually left Portland to join forces with. Like Stannis, his following is split between himself and those rallying behind those with a proper claim, and while Aldridge may be another “unicorn” sighting, he was never a great leader and often had to settle for defeat against his rivals, just like Stannis.
Gendry Baratheon – Brandon Roy
Three time all-star, rookie of the year, and in his six seasons in Portland was well on his way to bringing the team back to the championship conversation before his legs were literally cut out from under him. We will never know what Roy could have done if he had not been forced to retire, much like Gendry was forced into exile during one of the more disgusting things King Joffrey put into motion. Roy’s career is and will remain a mystery. We know he can run faster across multiple regions than a magical army of undead can cross a lake, and they say he’s still out there somewhere….rowing.
Extremely Valid Claim:
Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen – Damian Lillard
An all-star since 2014 but routinely left out of the conversation of the league’s elite, Lillard is a battle tested and proven leader on and off the court, and continues to play with a chip on his shoulder. He was the reason one of the weakest Blazers playoff teams in recent memory made it all the way to the conference finals, and you could argue he’s the reason any Blazers team has made it to the second round and beyond in the last 8 years. Currently the Lord Commander of the night’s watch, he seems destined for much bigger things, but I’ve seen this show before, it hasn’t and will continue to not end well for Dame.
Daenerys Targaryen – Clyde Drexler
Eight-time all-star, led Portland to the conference finals in three straight years, made it to the Finals twice, only to be shut down by two of the toughest dynasties in the history of the game (Pistons and Bulls). While he may not be the stats leader on most items anymore, he was when he retired. The biggest miss in Clyde’s career is that he didn’t ever win the big one despite two trips and a shot at a third. The Glide could fly with or without dragons, and was the only person I’d pick in a head to head fight with Jordan (kind of rhymes with Bolton which is perfect for what we’re going for), and genuinely believe he could have beaten Jordan in a rematch. Since Clyde left the Blazers for the Rockets and won his only title against The Mountain (Shaq), I guess we’ll never know what he would have done against Jordan if their duel had a sequel, but at least we know the legend of Clyde buried Sheed.
Bran Stark – Bill Walton
Once you factor in time missed due to injury, Walton’s two year career in Portland is probably the most epic 18ish month span in NBA history. Two time all-star, NBA MVP, Finals MVP, and NBA Champion while collecting 50 more wins than losses; and all of that on one good leg most of the time from the fall of 1976 through the spring of 1978. Like Bran, he has also been paralyzed from the waist down since 1979. He’s the hero we needed, just when we needed it, just like Bran the Broken. Bill is the greatest Blazer, and Bill belongs on the Iron Throne.
And there you have it. Bill Walton sits upon the Iron Throne. Will any player ever dethrone him? Perhaps, but until a challenger emerges that also wins a championship, it will be tough if not impossible to take the crown away from Portland’s only champion.