Tonight the NBA begins its brand new season as the Miami Heat, now with Lebron James in their corner, take on last year’s Eastern Conference Champions, the Boston Celtics. To commemorate the league’s return, ESPN Magazine has teamed with Marvel Comics to produce images of their best players in superhero guises. The talent inside the issue includes Marvel artists Salvador Larocca (Iron Man), Greg Horn (Ms. Marvel), Kyle Baker (Deadpool MAX) and even Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada.
They cover each team in the NBA, calling on different inspiration for each. The most obvious—my favorite of the bunch—is Lebron James inserted into the classic page from Amazing Spider-Man #50, where Peter Parker throws his Spider-Man costume in garbage. This time, Lebron does the same with his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, much to the chagrin of every Cavaliers fan on the planet.
There’s also Michael Jordan, part owner of the Bobcats, as Nick Fury (looking way too much like Samuel L. Jackson), Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban as Hank Pym, an adamantium-clad Yao Ming of the Rockets, along with many others living out their superhero fantasies. The issue is on sale now, so you can find it pretty much anywhere magazines are sold. For more images from inside the issue, as well as how Marvel will (or won’t) capitalize on this cross-promotion between branches of Disney, head over to Comics Should Be Good; I am also curious how Marvel will benefit from this exposure, as even though there have been numerous news articles on the subject, there has been a surprising lack of internal ads promoting the issue.