Years ago, in Miami, there was an idea: to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to; to fight the battles we never could. It was an idea based on the belief that heroes truly do exist.
From this notion came the Miami Heat—Earth’s mightiest basketball team. Since hoisting the NBA championship trophy a year ago, the forces of evil are once again afoot, plotting and scheming in their attempts to dethrone the Heat and lay claim to the title of world champions.
The Heat are a modern-day superhero team just like the Avengers: a group of talented individuals who’ve shown us what can happen when egos and self-interest are put aside for the greater good. Take a look at the Heat’s Avengers alter egos and the supervillains littering the NBA landscape looking to take them down.
LeBron James as the Incredible Hulk
A brutish figure with rippling biceps and a penchant for destruction, James has finally learned to channel his anger and inner Hulk out on the court. He shreds defenses with greater ease than Hulk through a shirt four sizes too small.
Bespectacled and calm off the court, James crushes and humiliates anyone who tries to foul him or get in his way. All James needs to complete his Hulk look is a pair of purple pants, which he can probably borrow from Russell Westbrook’s closet.
And don’t get James angry, because you won’t like him when he’s angry. Just ask Jason Terry.
Chris Bosh as Thor
A badass Fabio with a beard and chain mail, Thor’s the only guy who could bring a hammer to a gunfight and be the odds-on favorite to win. The Norse God came from far, far away to aid Earth, just as Bosh has made the long trek from the distant icy realm known as Canada to heat things up in Miami.
Both titanic figures, Bosh is the thunderous force down low for the Heat, using his size and strength to defend his turf and hammer home dunks with the force of the mighty Mjolnir.
An impish trait runs in Thor’s family with his prankster brother Loki, and we all know what the mischievous Bosh is capable of with a photobomb.
Dwyane Wade as Iron Man
Brilliant, rich and charming, Dwyane Wade has solidified himself as the Iron Man of the Heat. Like Tony Stark, Wade knows that with his fragile health he is just one blow away from checking out. Regardless, that hasn’t stopped him from suiting up night after night and blasting through defenders like a repulsor ray from Iron Man’s hand. A grizzled veteran who rockets to the rim and puts his body on the line versus opponents who are younger, stronger and meaner.
Off the court, both playboys ooze confidence, and you better have Stark-like confidence and swag to pull off this outfit.
Ray Allen as Hawkeye
A deadly marksman capable of launching projectiles with near-perfect accuracy, Ray Allen has been a sniper his whole career. While not as big or powerful as his Avenger teammates, Allen relies on guile and precision, darting past defenders, ready to fire at his target on a moment’s notice.
The naive Hawkeye—originally thought to be a criminal—helped the enemy by aiding Black Widow in stealing Iron Man’s technology before joining the forces of good. Kinda like Ray Allen and the whole KG thing in Boston.
Mario Chalmers as Captain America
Chalmers can pass the basketball with the accuracy of Steve Rogers and his vibranium shield. Like Rogers, Chalmers has an old-fashioned style of play, and there’s nothing flashy or sexy about him. He’s the type of guy who would walk into an ice cream shop of 101 flavors and walk out with vanilla.
But when push comes to shove, Chalmers can be a floor general, sprinting past opponents and barking out orders to his teammates to direct them into position for an attack.
Best of all, he seems content with his role, just like Steve Rogers seems content with staying as a captain instead of seeking a promotion to lieutenant or general (you stopped an alien invasion, dude, go for that nice corner office).
Bonus Avenger! Chris "Birdman" Andersen as Agent Phil Coulson
When times are tough, we all need a good laugh. The Avengers had Phil Coulson, whose dry humor was the perfect addition to a group of eccentric personalities. Andersen has an eccentric personality mixed with a shot of Red Bull and a healthy dose of crazy. He flaps his arms, hangs from the rim and brings the energy level up whenever he steps on the court.
Kevin Durant as Doctor Octopus
With his 7'5" wingspan, the Durantula plays as though he has Doc Ock’s elongated mechanical arms. Durant moves across the court as swiftly and efficiently as Doc Ock scaling buildings. A teacher’s pet bullied as a child, Doc Ock exacted his revenge on society. Sounds like KD, as this self-proclaimed momma’s boy has busted out of his polite shell to display his nasty side to the NBA.
Just like Doc Ock was Spider-Man’s No. 1 foe, Durant may prove to be the same if he encounters the Heat.
Carmelo Anthony as Loki
The God of Mischief and archenemy of the Avengers, Loki prides himself on causing destruction and chaos wherever he goes. Pretty much sounds like 'Melo’s career, both for teammates and opponents alike.
The selfish Loki carried a chip on his shoulder wherever he went, seeking revenge because both his father Odin and his adopted brother Thor overlooked him. After living for years in the shadow of his nemesis, LeBron James, Carmelo has just been waiting for his chance at revenge.
Stephen Curry as Green Goblin
Firing pumpkin bombs with deathly precision has made the Green Goblin a notorious villain. Like the Goblin, Curry has been dropping bombs from deep and weaving through defenses with the ease of the Goblin Glider. A menace and constant headache for Marvel superheroes, Curry has emerged from the shadows as a superhuman with stamina, durability, agility and reflexes to rival the Green Goblin after ingesting the Goblin Serum.
Tim Duncan as Galactus
Said to be older than the Big Bang itself, Galactus is known as the Devourer of Worlds, moving through the universe on a deathly rampage, consuming planets and life forms with the emotional range of Keanu Reeves in a Shakespeare movie.
The emotionless, Methuselah-like Tim Duncan has earned god-like stature in the NBA, devouring opponents as if there was a need to win—a hunger—as opposed to any anger directed at his victims. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
Marc Gasol as the Juggernaut
Gasol has proven to the world that he is a defensive juggernaut capable of anchoring a team and stopping anyone who dares cross his path. Like the Juggernaut, the most potent weapon in his arsenal is momentum. Once in motion, the Juggernaut and his monstrous frame are virtually unstoppable, and even Thor himself has failed in his attempts to stop the deranged villain.
The momentum that Gasol and his team have amassed so far may prove too much for the Heat to handle, and the throne of the defending world champions may soon have a new suitor.
Joakim Noah as Venom
Heightened emotion, relentless brutality and a venomous attitude toward opponents have made Joakim Noah one of the most feared villains the Heat have faced in their quest for another title.
Noah batters and bruises opponents with seemingly no regard for human life. A dominant force and perpetual thorn in the side of the Heat, Noah plays with more energy than a teenager on Four Loko. And like Venom, the amount of joy he gets out of watching his opponents crumble and fall only fuels his villainous will to win. Noah’s already got the crazy eyes down; all he needs is to unfurl a terrible tongue and he’s Venom.
Colin Liotta is Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief of TheSportsHero.com.