Spoiler Warning for all of Kong Skull Island and the 2015-2016 NBA Season.
For most of human history monarchs have ruled their kingdoms with an iron fist. There have been some great Kings and Queens and some horrible ones.
In the past several hundred years democracy has emerged as the premier form of government throughout the world, and Kings and Queens have largely fallen to the wayside, or taken on a purely ceremonial purpose. There are two Kings who have bucked back against this trend however, and since this is the internet, we must know which of these Monarchs is better.
King Kong, who for our purposes is depicted in the film Kong Skull Island, is the ruler of all who inhabit Skull Island. The native human inhabitants worship him as a god-king, because he protects them from the monstrous Skullcrawlers. He also protects the animals of the island, as evidenced by a scene where he lifts a fallen helicopter off of a trapped water buffalo.
A small aside about Kong Skull Island, it’s a very fun movie that is pretty harmless, and underutilizes almost every piece it has. Watching it is a blast, but once you start thinking about it, a lot of flaws become evident.
King LeBron James plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he holds dominion over all who inhabit The Land. They worship him as a god-king because he protects them from the monstrous Warriors of Golden State. He also protects them from the pain of fruitless seasons, which is something the people of Cleveland have had a lot of.
In order to determine which of these Kings is best, we first have to decide upon a criteria for measuring Kings (in this instance) against one another. So what describes the ideal King? The ideal King has to be a leader, not just a ruler, he has to be loyal to his people, he should make sacrifices for his people, he should be a benevolent ruler, and he should be revered by his people. So, how do these two kings stack up against one another? It’s time to find out, and determine: Who’s the Better King, King Kong of Skull Island or King James of Cleveland?
There are a multitude of ideas about which characteristics make the most effective leaders, and in some cases they would be important to measure. Some leaders utilize fear to get what they want, others lead by example. In this particular case however, it really isn’t all that complicated.
King Kong is nowhere near the leader that King James is. He is a giant gorilla, and he’s the last of his kind, so there isn’t really anyone for him to lead. The only creatures he could really lead are the human inhabitants of Skull Island, but they are quite content to hide behind him. Gorillas are very social creatures in real life, so I for one would be very interested in seeing King Kong interact with other giant gorillas, preferably narrated by David Attenborough.
King James on the other hand, is a true leader. He is one of the best basketball players of all time and he sets the tone for his teammates each and everyday. He doesn’t just preach to his teammates, he leads by example, he truly understands how to utilize each and every piece on his team in order to get them to win games.
The best example of King James’ leadership, is how he turned J.R. Smith (!) the shooter without a conscience, into a reliable and focused player, who proved pivotal to the Cavaliers capturing the NBA Title.
Score: King James, One – King Kong, One
On the surface this category is another super easy one, and it appears that King Kong is the much more loyal king. If we take a closer examination however, things become a little more murky.
King James grew up in Akron, Ohio and was anointed as the next Michael Jordan while still in high school. He was then drafted number one overall, by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. He spent the first seven years of his career there, carrying the team to newer and greater heights each year. He toiled for nearly a decade with inept teammates, foolish executives and incompetent owners tarnishing all of his hard work. He finally snapped after a disappointing playoff run, and joined two other premier players in the league on the Miami Heat. The people of Cleveland were devastated. They burned his jersey, they cursed his name, and they derided his Decision. Their native son, their savior, had abandoned them to win championships for another city. It’d be like if George Washington decided to join the British army after Valley Forge, or if Percy Jackson decided to team up with Kronos.
King Kong never left Skull Island to team up with two other monsters in their primes, and he certainly didn’t join the Skullcrawlers to ravage Skull Island.
But, King James is incredibly loyal to his friends, and he has since returned home to Cleveland, and brought glory to their halls as well.
So I guess the real question is who are King James’ subjects, are they his friends, his teammates or the people of Cleveland? And I really think that the answer is that he rules his teammates and the people of Cleveland, both of whom he betrayed when he joined the Miami Heat.
Ultimately King Kong is a more loyal King than LeBron James.
Score: James One – Kong One
Good rulers make sacrifices for their people. They can sacrifice their free time, their wealth, their comfort, or their lives. These two Kings sacrifice their bodies.
King Kong literally risks his life everyday killing Skullcrawlers, and believe me, these monsters are nasty. They are big, mean, vicious and clever, and they don’t fear him at all. He also risks his life fighting Samuel L. Jackson’s soldiers, who are vicious, and deathly afraid of him.
LeBron James is basically as close to being Captain America as a real life person can be. He is bigger, stronger, and faster than his peers, which is insane considering they’re all NBA players. He does everything for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and puts his body at risk every night. His body is his livelihood, and he’s taking on an insane burden for his people.
This seems like it should be an easy win for King Kong, but in reality, this category is a tie. Although King Kong appears to be sacrificing more for his people, he’s only risking sacrifice, he doesn’t really seem all that bothered by the Skullcrawlers, and even when he gets lit up by Napalm, he basically shakes it off.
Score: James Two – Kong Two
This category is the easiest of them all.
King Kong does everything for his people, at the potential cost of his own life, for no reward really. And the movie makes it very clear that King Kong isn’t merely killing the Skullcrawlers to save his own life, he is very obviously acting as a protector for the other inhabitants of Skull Island. He is the definition of a benevolent leader.
King James can be benevolent sure, but he is just as often malevolent. I could list some examples, but in this instance, it’s probably best to show you.
The above gif shows Kevin Love approaching King James for a high-five. For a brief moment, Kevin’s eyes are full of love and hope, but watch how quickly it fades as his King lays into him.
Score: Kong Three- James Two
A King should be revered by his people, and both of these certainly are revered by theirs.
King Kong is worshipped by the people of Skull Island, including John C. Reilly’s character Hank Marlow, a WWII veteran who crash landed their in 1944 (the movie takes place in 1973). When I say that he is their god-king it is not hyperbole. That is how much they fear the Skullcrawlers, and how much they value the protection Kong offers from them.
When I say that the people of Cleveland worship LeBron as a god-king, I am being hyperbolic (but not by much). I am very tempted to call this category a tie as well, save for one fact.
King James publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, which would have sealed her victory in Ohio if the people revered him, as those of Skull Island revere King Kong. Mrs. Clinton lost Ohio however, which seems to signal that perhaps King James’ reign is limited merely to basketball.
Score: Kong Four -James Two
So there we have it, incredibly Kong is a better King than LeBron James. Something important to note is that King Kong’s biggest enemies, the Skullcrawlers, don’t fear him at all, while his lesser enemies, the soldiers, are horrified of him. King James’ biggest enemies, the Golden State Warriors, are deathly afraid of him, while his lesser enemies, are not. So while Kong is the better King than LeBron James, is it possible that James is the more fearsome? I guess that’s a question for another time.