We need to retire “unicorn” from the NBA zeitgeist

As I ran on the treadmill this morning (listening to a well known podcast from a well known blog on the upcoming NBA Draft), something profound hit me: the descriptive term “unicorn” needs to retire.

For most draftniks, they’ve continuously used this word as a sense of endearment. It is was the best possible way to describe the type of skill sets we’ve never, ever seen on a basketball court before. It’s how we’ve come to refer to the very special things that Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Karl Anthony Towns have brought to the NBA on a night in and night out basis.

Shit, I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can find someone referring to LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook as such before that.

Just like the era of “swag” before it, “unicorn” was fun for a while. But after headlines and lazy write ups from all across the internet on players projected to go in and out of the lottery, it’s time for the Era of the Unicorn to RIPIP:


From here forward, Second City Sports is a no Unicorn zone.

Look, I love a lot of the big men that are coming out for the 2018 NBA Draft. I’m in love with Deandre Ayton and I think with his reported work ethic at Arizona, he has the potential to be an extremely valuable player in the league. I think Jaren Jackson Jr. has the highest floor/is the safest pick in the Top-10. Marvin Bagley has some things to work on, but that’s to be expected with an 18-year old that should still be in high school. Mohamed Bamba is… something. And people really, REALLY love Luka Doncic (count me out on that).

But not every single player that is big and can play the perimeter on both offense and defense is a “unicorn”. In fact, just saying that they are (or can be) deters from the actual unicorns we have in the league right now.

Maybe I’m watching something completely different than most of these “experts”, but I’ve never once watched Ayton or Bagley and thought to myself that their ceiling is as high as the Greek Freaks.

That doesn’t mean that they’re not nice players that can potentially be great. I’m sure a few of them are going to be multiple All-Stars and help their franchises get to the playoffs as early as next year (looking at you Memphis and Chicago). But can we just chill on the unicorn thing?

Or, at the very least, can we just pick a new mythical and majestic creature, like, a Griffin? Yeah, a Griffin!

I can see it now: “He’s not a unicorn. Not by any means. But he can get to be the NBA’s first version of a Griffin. With the body of a lion and hops that make him soar like an eagle, he can easily become the king of both the paint (the jungle) and the sky (dunks).”




Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: