If you watch the NBA a lot, there are many phrases and terms that you hear often.
Indeed, there is an entire lexicon related to the league, the players, and the mythology.
But one of those terms has been used so often that people are calling on it to be retired forever.
It’s time to retire the term unicorn. Wipe it out of basketball lexicon forever. We have beaten this label to death.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) July 6, 2022
Jay King went to Twitter to make a desperate plea to all NBA writers and analysts.
“It’s time to retire the term unicorn,” King said.
He added: “Wipe it out of basketball lexicon forever. We have beaten this label to death.”
King isn’t wrong, this term has been tossed around more than a beach ball during spring break.
But what is a unicorn in the NBA and why are people so devoted to finding one?
Searching For Unicorns
In the simplest terms, a unicorn in basketball is a player who is built like a power forward or center but has the skills to play more like a guard as well as a bigger, taller athlete.
Why is the unicorn so special and important in the league?
Think about it: tall players are always valued in the NBA because they are able to defend better, get to the rim, dunk, and everything else that comes with their size advantage.
But if a taller player is able to also shoot the ball then there is really no end to their ability to make a difference on the floor.
Imagine someone as tall as Giannis Antetokounmpo able to shoot the ball like Steph Curry and you’ll understand why people are so eager to find unicorns.
But King is right: people toss this word around all the time and maybe it’s time to just focus on someone’s all-around skills rather than put a label on them.