Kobe Bryant and Spider-Man, together at last!
You wait years for something like this to come along, so when it does, you don’t want to miss out on it. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the NBA and Marvel Comics, together at last:
That’s the splash page of the new ESPN: The Magazine NBA preview issue, courtesy of Marvel. This isn’t just in my wheelhouse, this is the wallpaper on the walls of my wheelhouse. And this is where I can bring the comic-geek and sports fan camps together. Gather round, folks, and I’ll explain what’s going on here.
Comics fans: You know who all the characters are. But the guy in the center is Kobe Bryant. Think of him as the comic equivalent to Captain America, not particularly interesting in his own right but always somehow figuring out a way to win. Around him are LeBron James (top left), who’s like Iron Man in the “Civil War” saga, selling out his mates for his own good; Rajon Rondo (center left), who’s like Spider-Girl, present everywhere even though nobody really likes her; Kevin Durant (middle left), who’s like an early-80s Wolverine, just about to break huge; and Dwight Howard (top right), who’s exactly like The Thing–all muscle and no touch.
Sports fans: I’m assuming you know who Spider-Man, Captain America and the rest are. That’s Thor’s hammer in the lower left, which is the comics equivalent of Peyton Manning–you’re not quite sure how powerful it is, but it’ll always get you the comics equivalent of 15 fantasy points per game. But the big mystery is that glove on Kobe’s hand. That’s the Infinity Gauntlet, which was created from soul gems gathered from around the universe and supposedly bestows on its wielder omnipotent power — which we know isn’t true because if it did, Kobe would have erased all memories of a Colorado hotel room, his absurd all-white photo shoot, and “tell me how my ass taste.”
So there you go. ESPN, Marvel, and me, bringing comics and sports fans together. Now, nobody beat anybody else up, nobody infect anybody with any computer viruses. Cool?