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Web Animation / Game of Zones

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Game of Zones is a web series made by sports website Bleacher Report. It began as an Affectionate Parody of Game of Thrones centered around NBA basketball. Since then the creators have expressed a desire to focus less on blatant Game of Thrones references and more on the NBA ones. Each team is a different "House" (House Spurs, House Cavs, etc.). It can be seen on YouTube here.

Tropes associated with this series:

  • Animal Motifs:
    • It seems like anyone who signs with House Warriors are referred to by other Knights as "snakes". This is a reference to the real life nickname fans gave Kevin Durant when he joined the Warriors; Pat Beverly gave a nod to this when he tried to recruit Durant in the Episode 8 of Season 6. In Episode 2 of that season, teammate DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins was also called a snake by Damian Lillard in verse.
    • Also in Episode 6-8, Beverly is a dog, a conniving and bloodthirsty beast trying to pick up the Warriors' scraps (Kevin Durant at the twilight of his contract). He tries to convince Durant to join House Clippers through manipulation and false loyalty (i.e. being his "best friend"), and mentions how he could serve as the Clippers' "alpha" should he join them.
  • Affectionate Parody: As stated, this is an example of this for Game of Thrones, and NBA basketball. Westeros is Balleros, each team is a separate house, coaches and front office personnel are Lords, etc.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Although geography is heavily inspired by Game of Thrones, it also includes elements from real life geography.
    • Some cities (Sacramento) are mentioned by name while others (such as Phoenix/Phoenicia and Boston/Bostonia) are called by fictionalized versions of the city name.
    • House Warriors have a bridge looking suspiciously like the Bay Bridge leading to their castle.
    • House Thunder are shown to be Dothraki-esque as a reference to them being from a city in the great plains.
    • House Raptors' home court of Tor'Onto is a primitive tundra, covered in snow and ice even in the midst of summer.
  • Aside Glance: Rondo does one in the 2018 Christmas Special: "The King's Landing".
  • Ax-Crazy: Jimmy Butler. He was a pretty chill Straight Man when first we see him, but one season with House Timberwolves turned him into an absolute lunatic.
  • Batman Gambit: Pat Beverly attempts to get Kevin Durant to join the Clippers by playing with his emotions and insecurities. Durant wants to join House Knicks because they are a large market team, so Beverly notes that he will never live down the possibility of failure there. Beverly knows that Durant wants rings, so he sells the Clippers as a well-run house poised to win soon. And finally, he's well aware of Durant being LeBron's number two, so he gives him the opportunity to join LeBron's rival camp. He failed there, but apparently found a more receptive audience up North...
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  • Best Friend: DeMar DeRozan to Kyle Lowry. Kyle cites this as his reason not to trade him to House Magic, and is quite heartbroken when Lord Ujiri later sacrifices him in a trade for Kawhi Leonard.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Devin Booker has no sclera, just solid black eyes.
  • Brick Joke: For Season 6, LeBron's stage production of "Sea Jam 2".
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • As seasons pass and the perception of the real life players changes in the eyes of the fans, their characterization in the show changes with them. For example, compare Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler at the beginning of season 4, to them by season 6.
    • In the early seasons, House Warriors are portrayed as rough-and-tumble band of Night's Watch-types. By the time they acquire Kevin of Durant at the beginning of season 4, they've become a house of haughty, decadent aristocrats.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After House Rockets is raided by the Warriors, they're left a message reading "Your defense is weak AF." James Harden thinks "AF" is the writer's initials and concludes it's from long-retired Adonal Foyle.
  • Continuity Nod: There are lots, some in the form of Freeze-Frame Bonus. The horse the Raptors received from the Magic appears in the season 4 and 5 finales for instance. The gifts given to Kobe at his retirement ceremony are all on display in his shrine in "The Raid on Stables Castle", including the skull of the donkey Shaq gave him.
  • Cult of Personality: The Kobedicians, a sect of fanatical Kobe worshipers secretly led by Kobe's number one fanling: Kobe himself.
  • The Dandy: Russ Westbrook, in contrast to the rest of the Dothraki-esque House Thunder, is occasionally seen dressed like a foppish fool.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While Dirk Nowitzki is a firm believer of loyalty, he completely understands why Porzingis jumped ship from the Knicks.
  • Expy: The Spurs play the role of the White Walkers.
  • Empty Shell: House Spurs is an entire group of this. Whoever signs with them has their soul and personality taken out of them.
  • Fake Brit: invoked Most of the cast.
  • Fake Irish: invoked Most of the Celtics in Season 4, as a pun on their name.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback: Season 4 Episode 7, "Feast of the East", is comprised of a series of these, showing each time another team challenged LeBron's team's mastery of the Eastern Realm going all the way back to 2012.
  • Foil: Dirk and LeBron are portrayed as such in Season 6 Episode 5, "Loyalty". Dirk is fiercely loyal to House Mavericks and sees enough potential in his younger teammates to appoint them as his successors. LeBron on the other hand is more concerned with chasing rings, being willing to throw his young core under the bus for a superstar (Anthony Davis). This runs parallel to the 2011 Finals, where Dirk was a One-Man Army who was able to beat LeBron's superstar team.
  • Hope Spot: MarShon Brooks had high hopes that being traded to House Suns would be his chance to prove himself and revitalize his career, but is sorely crushed when it turns out they actually wanted Dillon Brooks instead of him, and he is turned away.
  • Hordes from the East: House Spurs, meant as a parody of the White Walkers.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Raptors' trade of DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl (and a 1st round pick) to the Spurs is depicted as this.
  • Implausible Deniability: Lord Thibs continually insists that Jimmy Butler is quite happy to stay with House Timberwolves, and dismisses his Ax-Crazy behavior as "motivational intensity", even while Jimmy is rampaging through the courtyard and slaughtering other players while shrieking to be traded.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: "Well whoever we're getting back, he'd better be a bloody MONSTER!" Cue Kawhi Leonard.
  • In Vino Veritas: LeBron gets smashed on wine at the draft lottery and starts roasting the other houses, finishing with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to all of them when he's called on his behavior.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Kobe Bryant's reputation as a self-absorbed ballhog is exaggerated here. He refuses to pass the ceremonial torch at his retirement ceremony ("Just get the rebound!"), built a shrine to honor himself, and secretly leads an extremist sect of his fans to harass LeBron.
    • Carmelo Anthony, to a degree. The reason why he was kicked out of the Rockets was because he wanted to boost his own stats rather than gel with the other Rockets and conform to their playstyle.
  • Latex Perfection: LeBron disguises himself flawlessly as Drake to poison House Raptors. When the real Drake is next seen his face is clearly stitched on, as if LeBron cut it off to make his mask.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe, no one will let Kyle Lowry forget that he once traded Terrence Ross for a horse "that does horse-things".
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Kawhi Leonard as a Raptor was never seen from the feet up, and he's referred to as a "monster" later on.
  • Power Trio: Played for Laughs with the "Triple Dirks", a trio of Europeans from House Mavericks (Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Maxi Kleber) who were each named Dirk's successor because he forgot about anointing them in the first place.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Thon Maker, as a joke on him lying about his age ahead of the draft. He's actually Maester Naismith, thousand-year-old inventor of basketball, kept young by a mystical necklace of peach and basket charms.
  • Real-Person Fic: A Web Animation equivalent of one, Game of Zones features fictionalized versions of real NBA players and references real events from the current/past NBA season.
  • Reference Overdosed: The creators are very tapped into the NBA fandom and include many memes that circulate through it. They've also been back-and-forth on Game of Thrones, starting as "Basketball as GoT", then "Basketball as seen by GoT", to a nice even keel of including references to famous scenes as storylines permit.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Parodied with Paul George's speech to House Pacers before their battle with Detroit. It has all the hallmarks of a typical Rousing Speech, except he's inspiring them to try for slightly less mediocre than usual. They still cheer him on.
    • Played straight at House Bucks at the end of Season 6.
  • Snub by Omission: When LeBron is tipsy at the draft lottery and starts roasting the other houses, he refuses to mock House Hornets even when asked to.
  • Soul Jar: House Spurs holds the souls of all of their players inside of one. Supposedly, a player will get his back if or when traded.
  • Spare a Messenger: LeBron poisoned House Raptors but pointedly spared their horse. As the Raptors lie choking on the ground he instructs the horse to tell people King James rules the East (and that he's better than Michael Jordan).
  • Stealth Pun: The Clippers, as described by Pat Beverly, are "smooth sailing", referring to how well-run they are, but also a play on their namesake.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After getting drunk at the draft lottery and insulting several of the other houses, LeBron delivers one to all the assembled houses for thinking that acquiring Zion Williamson will magically solve all the fundamental problems that led them there in the first place, and predicts that they'll only drag Zion down until he inevitably leaves for a better house.
  • The Unpronounceable: Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors settle on "Jake Puddle" while discussing his part in a trade.
  • Villain Song: Lord Dolan's "cheer-up song" to the bedridden Ser Kristaps is a gleeful ode to all the terrible decisions he has plagued, and will continue to plague, House Knicks with.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Carmelo Anthony is convinced that he's still a superstar despite becoming a journeyman in his last few years. This is taken further when he's included in LeBron's production of "Sea Jam 2"... and tries to literally upstage LeBron during his big musical number.


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