'Heliocentric' Is The Sports Media Term of the Year


In 1543, Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus published his theory of a heliocentric universe in which the Earth and other celestial objects revolve around the sun. It was met with great skepticism but eventually gained traction and became the base for understanding the science of life. Four-hundred seventy-nine years later, the term is having a poetic renaissance.

Anyone who consumed NBA-centric content has noticed the proliferation of the phrase this season to explain offensive structures built around a singular star. In which Luka Doncic or James Harden is the mooring force providing heat and light to everyone else on the court. It is a nice artistic flourish and drives the point home in terms that can be universally understood.

And its use is only exploding in popularity as more and more people hear the term and co-opt it into their own scholarly work breaking down the game. Witness J.J. Redick, on this morning's Get Up, expertly use the illustration.

If only Copernicus were alive to see what he'd created. One has to think he'd enjoy his seamless crossover from astronomy to sports and pop culture. Very few people have been able to pull that off. Though Blaise Pascal came close when Phil Jackson's teams were winning title after title with the Triangle offense.

Look at this guy and tell me he wouldn't have loved ball. You can't. If he were alive today he'd be listening to basketball podcast after basketball podcast while riding the L train in from Brooklyn.

Heliocentric is having a moment nearly five centuries in the making.