A unicorn is a magical creature with the body of a horse and a single horn sticking out of its horse face. At some point people started describing rare, special things as unicorns. Most recently, the online basketball community has adopted the unicorn to describe certain players. It’s like a new way to say “superstar,” but without the pressure of having to make the playoffs.
Bill Simmons jumped on the unicorn bandwagon back in December and told everyone what everyone had been saying for months about how Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid were the super rare unicorns. According to the blurb below the headline, they’re once in a generation talents.
“Once-in-a-generation.” And here I thought they were just rare. Simmons also pointed out that the NBA includes active former unicorns Dirk Nowitzki and Blake Griffin as well as current active unicorns LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. So that’s somewhere between 8-and-10 once-in-a-generation talents active right now. The good news is that they all don’t go to the playoffs at once.
Giannis Antetokounmpo leads his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals and will become the first player in the history of the NBA to finish in the top-20 in all five categories. He’s a 6’11” point guard and he consistently does amazing things. Like barely make the playoffs.
Kristaps Porzingis went from 28.4 minutes a game as a rookie to 32.8 minutes a game this season and his rebounds, assists, blocks and steals all went down per 36 minutes and per 100 possessions. The good news is he shot better from both 2 and 3-point range. The bad news is his team is awful and will miss the playoffs. That’s been well-chronicled.
As has the Philadelphia 76ers continued losing. Philly won 28 games this year. Embiid averaged 20.2, 7.8 and 2.5 blocks in 31 games and the team was 13-18 in games where Embiid played. They were 15-35 in games he missed.
Then there are the non-unicorns, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis. Despite similar ages and superior stat lines this season they are not unicorns. Seeing as how Dirk and Blake are no longer unicorns, perhaps KAT and AD can ascend to the rank of unicorn. Or are they just pointless horses? Either way, what a fun way to say a basketball player is a star.