The basketball season is officially over, the Heat won the NBA title and Team USA fulfilled their destiny by winning the Gold Medal in London. Now we are left without the world’s greatest sport until the beginning of November. Most of the USA will be fine until football season is over, but a there will be a whole in my heart until the NBA gets rolling again.
Now I must admit, basketball is on my mind an awful lot. I think about my wife more, and I should think about other things more than basketball, but it is something I love. When something is on your mind as often as basketball is on mine, then other things start to get mixed into it. So, we had a great summer of basketball and a great summer of superhero movies and after seeing The Dark Knight Rises a month ago, superheroes and basketball started getting mixed together in my head. So without further ado, here is my list of some of the top basketball players in the game and the superhero to whom I compare them.
ROBIN- Dwayne Wade
Robin, Batman’s sidekick, at times could carry his own show as Dwayne Wade often can. Wade has now turned into LeBron’s sidekick, but Wade is still a star of his own. Like Robin, Wade is a peak athlete although he is finding it harder and harder to carry on his acrobatic ways. D-Wade is also one of the top tacticians in the game, just ask every other team who tried to get LeBron and Bosh in free agency a few summers back. He may be LeBron’s sidekick from here on out, but don’t forget for a second what this man can do for his team.
CAPTAIN AMERICA- Kevin Love
Kevin Love gets the Captain America award for doing so much on the court despite not being blessed with the crazy athleticism that his counterparts have been given. Besides his height, his body alone does not provide much NBA talent. But Love works hard to use all that he has been given and has a ton of heart. Like Captain America, Love will do whatever it is that his team needs, as shown in the 2012 Olympics. He did the dirt work inside, fighting for offensive rebounds and getting around ten points a game even though many plays were not drawn up for him.
SPIDERMAN- Rajon Rondo
Like Spiderman, Rondo has been trying to prove doubters wrong his entire career. Rondo was given the keys to drive the Celtics machine with their Big Three aiming for a championship. Once considered the weak link on that team, he is now the team’s best and most important player. His athleticism and sticky hands that give him a nose for the ball are also Spiderman-like. More than anything however, his spider sense that makes him one of the most, if not the most, creative dribblers and passers in the game would make Peter Parker himself jealous.
THOR- Dwight Howard
The perfect specimen. The powerful hammer. Protecting mankind (protecting the rim from the guys that Kobe and Nash were guarding). The comparisons can go on and on with these two. Howard’s size and athleticism make him a man among boys in the paint. His dunks from alley-oops or missed shots make you wonder if the backboard can survive such a thunderous hammer. The three time defensive player of the year protects the rim as well as just about anyone. In Thor’s story, he starts off immature believing his abilities allow him to do whatever he wishes, although he later matures into a wide ruler. With the Howard trade saga finally ending, will he mature as well? It is yet to be seen.
FLASH- Russell Westbrook
The comparison is easy here. Russell Westbrook is one of the most athletically gifted people on the planet. His speed is dazzling although he needs to learn to reign it in at times. He is a smaller player, but his jumping ability and explosiveness is almost unparalleled. His competitiveness and desire to win translates to going 100 miles and hour at all times. And like Flash, his career started somewhat slow and under the radar, but now he has blossomed into a perennial All-Star.
IRON MAN- Carmelo Anthony
This was one of the comparisons that was harder to make. Iron Man isn’t extremely super without his incredible suit that allows him to fly, endure blows to the body and… be super. Carmelo is also one dimensional like Tony Stark. Without his offensive game, he doesn’t bring to much to the table, but when his offensive game is on, look out. Just ask Ike Diogu and Nigeria. He is ingenious when he has the ball in his hands as one of the purest scorers in the game. The only man/superhero in the universe that can really slow him down is the man we compare to Superman later in this list. Tony Stark was never too excited to have to play with others and Carmelo has shown a similar struggle co existing with A’mare Stoudemire.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK- Chris Paul
Many of you are probably thinking, “Chris Paul as the Hulk? Have you ever seen Chris Paul? Or the Hulk?” But hear me out. The Hulk is a scientist and one of the best/smartest on earth and he is a brilliant schemer who is able to resist mind control. There are not a handful of people on earth who know the game better or are smarter than Chris Paul on the basketball court. His schemes are brilliant as his team almost always gets the last shot of any quarter. He starts planning to get the last shot with 2-3 minutes left in that quarter. And here is where the comparison is great. Paul plays Bruce Banner for three quarters, getting his teammates involved, keeping the game close and saving energy. In the fourth quarter, Paul unleashes the Hulk and goes crazy for the last few minutes doing everything that is needed to win the game. And there are even times earlier in the game when foolish big men make the little guy angry which unleashes a Hulk-like few minutes.
BATMAN- Kobe Bryant
Kobe’s athleticism is still somewhere in there although he only chooses to use it every once in a while. Like the Dark Knight, Kobe is no longer able to overpower his opponents on a regular basis. But for whatever reason, Bruce Wayne and Kobe Bryant continue to find a way to get it done. The physical abilities aren’t what they used to be, but their minds have become sharper and they improve enough in the little things to get what they want. Both have a million gadgets they can use and know exactly which one needs to be used when. The Dwyane Wade comparison to Robin doesn’t exactly fit with this one, but Batman and Thor should make a pretty good team( combined with whatever superhero Canadians like, and a werewolf- shout out to Bill Simmons). The Dark Knight may be relying a little bit more on sidekicks, but he is still the leader of his team.
AQUAMAN- Kevin Durant
This might be another one that raises a few eyebrows, but it will all make sense in just a second. The one quality that sticks out about Aquaman? He is cold-blooded. Sure, he has super speed and strength( Durant at least has good speed), but Aquaman could essentially have ice running through his veins. There is no better basketball player who represents being cold- blooded than Kevin Durant. His run through the playoffs officially gave him the belt for best crunch time player in the game. He hit late shot after late shot against the Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs only to come up short in the Finals against Superman himself.
SUPERMAN- LeBron James
I love the comparisons here. No player, perhaps ever, has been handed so many abilities like the Man of Steel himself. Many points guards have Superman’s x-ray vision. A lot of power forwards have super strength. Small forwards throughout history were able to fly. Shooting guards around the league have super speed. But no one in the history of the game has had a better combination of Superman-like talents than LeBron James. For Team USA and the Miami Heat, he has used whichever talent has been needed at any given point. Need him to bring the ball up and get his team in the offense? Check. Need the super strength down low? Done. Want to see the speed to intercept a pass, run by the defense and fly to the hoop for a jam? Jaw-dropping. Now he has his NBA title and a second Olympic Gold Medal to truly prove he is the greatest of any hero in the Avengers or the Justice League.
Perhaps, this is what makes the Olympics and World Championships so fun every two years. We threw out Superman, Batman, Aquaman, the Incredible Hulk just to start the game. Iron Man, Flash and Captain America came off the bench. And unlike the recent movie, The Avengers, egos didn’t clash, they were there only to help out America. They would do whatever was best for the team. And maybe, just maybe, it is more fun seeing these titans clash than play together. Man, I can’t wait til November.