NBA / Sep 7, 2010 / 12:15 pm

X-Men: First Class of the NBA

Dwyane Wade (photo. Jeffery Salter)

Dwyane Wade (photo. Jeffery Salter)

When Michael Jordan was showing off his plethora of out-of-this-world abilities, you couldn’t help but wonder if he was super-human. And as crazy as it might sound, players in the NBA today are much more athletic, faster and stronger than they were back in the MJ days.

Comparing a lot of these players to the X-Men — the most skilled superheroes in the comic book world and subject of the upcoming X-Men: First Class project — isn’t as farfetched as it might sound. If the NBA was a comic book, here’s a list of players (and one coach) with superhero abilities:

Dwyane Wade is Angel
Not many can hang with Angel’s speed, agility, and ability to take flight. The same goes for D-Wade. Already dubbed “Flash” due to his quickness on the court, Wade can swoop in for an acrobatic layup or take flight on a dunk on anybody. Angel has the ability to lead the X-Men to victory alone; the same can be said for Wade as he took the Heat to the playoffs two straight seasons on his back. Not that he has to do that anymore, though…

Phil Jackson is Professor X
No coach plays more mind games than the Zen Master. They both have a great power to influence the mind and improve their pupils. Jackson knows how to develop young players and coach huge stars like Mike, Kobe and Shaq. Professor X is the head of mutants, and helps them understand their powers and how to utilize them in the right ways to help the team.

Steve Nash is Cyclops
Cyclops has the uncanny ability to project optic blasts from his eyes, heatless blasts of concussive force which he is able to control with incredible and deadly accuracy. The same goes for Nash. His vision is legendary on the court, which allows him to make some of the hardest passes look easy.

Carmelo Anthony is Iceman
You can see it in his stroll, the way ‘Melo confidently struts down the court after icing another huge play. A sly grin, a shoulder shrug, or a mean-mug, Anthony is Smooth 101. His game is so smooth that some may say that he is lazy, but that’s not the case. Similar to Iceman, ‘Melo’s game just makes it look easy but when you’re cold as ice, you never get shook.

Kobe Bryant is Wolverine
Attitude: check. Fighting through injuries: check. Killer mentality: check. When it comes to being an animal, no one does it better than Kobe. Just like Wolverine, Kobe brings that assassin’s mentality and will fight through any injury. They also share the same attitude: Wolverine will destroy anything in his path to get what he wants. Same goes for Kobe. If you tick him off, he’ll just drop 50 on you. And as the superstar of the X-Men franchise, Wolverine has to be aligned with a similar superstar like Kobe.

Derrick Rose is Nightcrawler
Rose isn’t able to teleport, it just seems that way. He’s so blindingly quick that he leaves opponents guessing his exact whereabouts. Nightcrawler is the most athletic of the X-Men, and Rose is arguably the most athletic player in the League. When Nightcrawler teleports he leaves a puff of smoke; I’ve seen Rose on the court and I think I’ve seen smoke coming from the bottom of his adidas.

Dwight Howard is Beast
Although Howard isn’t furry like the Beast, at least his uniform is blue. When it comes to athletic big men, there’s no competition with Howard, and the same goes for Beast. Blessed with pure strength and intelligence, Beast is one of the best weapons the X-Men have. Once Dwight refines his offensive game, he’ll truly become the best weapon in the NBA.

Shaquille O’Neal is Colossus
Shaq is the “Man of Steel,” while Colossus can turn his entire body into steel. Colossus possesses superhuman strength along with stamina. While Shaq isn’t at the age where his stamina will last, he still has great strength and is the most dominant big man in the history of the NBA.

J.R. Smith is Gambit
Gambit brings explosiveness to the X-Men. He’s capable of turning anything he touches into a kinetic energy, which in turn causes an explosion. Gambit’s also been known not to listen to instructions during combat. What other player in the NBA is capable of providing explosiveness off the bench and massive firepower, while occasionally upsetting his coach with his antics? Smith is looked at as an enigma for the Nuggets, and the same can be said for Gambit with the X-Men.

Nate Robinson is Jubilee
Jubilee is another one of the X-Men’s energy players off the bench. Her ability to create fireworks with her hands and cause explosions is enough to compare her to Nate Robinson. The three-time NBA dunk champion is a spark plug; he’s also one of the few players in the League that’s capable of scoring 40 points on any given night. Both are overlooked and they back it up with a can-do attitude and toughness.

Kevin Durant is Rogue
Rogue has the ability to absorb energy from anyone she comes in contact with and duplicate his or her powers. The same can be said about Kevin Durant since many are starting to compare his abilities to Michael Jordan, or even greater. Durant is young and powerful, like Rogue, and he’s already one of the NBA’s top players even though the 21-year-old is still essentially learning the pro game.

LeBron James is Storm
Storm is able to change the wind and rain by increasing or decreasing its intensity to the point of creating snowstorms, lightning and tornadoes. LeBron has controlled the elements around him ever since he stepped foot into the League, on and off the court. He’s able to create offense and lead his team to victories while putting on a lightning and thunder show with dunks that shake the arena.

Who did we miss? Tell us in the comments and we’ll post the responses in a follow-up post.

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  • $wag

    funny how lebron is Storm!..hahaha

  • http://www.hellomynameisjuan.com/ kilinkis

    kevin durant is girl? lol
    that reminds me of Justin Bieber in the “most popular women on the internet” list. LOLx2

  • karizmatic

    Limiting it to the X-men is lame…we should just compare NBA players to comic characters period and give them nicknames based on it and what about x-men villains?

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Karizamatic

    You can’t put the Villains with the Superheroes in the same article. The Villains are a completely separate piece.

  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    Eddy Curry as the Blob

    See Wolverine is hot tempered Kobe is not. Let’s switch that up with a Stephen Jackson. and Ron Artest can be Sabretooth.

    I see Dwight Howard more like Juggernaut

    Colossus is more like Kendrick Perkins with hard illegal screens

    Lebron should be Beast(see his Vogue cover)

    Jean Grey is Darko Milicic- Weak!

    Sloan is Magneto

    J. O’Neal is Forge (busted up leg)

    Iggy is Bishop

    Rondo is Mystique

    Andrew Bogut is the Sentinel

    Rasheed Wallace is Banshee

    TD is Deadpool

    Chris Paul is Quicksilver

    Rashard Lewis is Morph because he can morph into a regular scrub that doesn’t do anything the whole game.

    Jamal Crawford is the Dazzler

  • jjPablo

    Phil Jackson and Professor X both sit in extraordinary chairs

  • derik

    Rudy Gay is the Northstar!

  • TD

    Good article AM — Work through the bad stuff and getting better, I like this one

  • sh!tfaced

    Nah, Rajon Rondo is more Shadowcat than Mystique, the man can penetrate almost anything at will…

    Delonte West as Multiple Man, obviously… LOL

  • sh!tfaced

    Paul Pierce as Professor X, are you kidding me?! Wheelchair and all.

    Artest as Wolverine, nobody like Ron and Logan needs more therapy than those two.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ TD

    Appreciate it man.

    @ Sh!tfaced

    Where do you see Paul Pierce as Prof. X?

  • Shot In Your Face

    Borris Diaw is the Blob

  • sh!tfaced

    The Wheelchair. Remember the 2008 Finals? LOL.

    Nice call on Cyclops and Steve Nash, BTW. He was a Cyclops for about a whole half against the Spurs in this year’s playoffs, courtesy of Tim Duncan…

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Sh!tfaced

    Hahaha, yeah now I remember.

  • sh!tfaced

    @ Andrew Macaluso

    Nice. Hehehe. Looking forward to the Avengers/Justice League Unlimited of the NBA, next…

  • Thirsty

    hahaha, jr smith as gambit. and lebron as storm.
    love ya dime

  • Mtx

    Sorry Arenas, but Ray Allen is the true Agent Zero, deadly from long range!

  • quest???

    I enjoyed this article, very well done!

  • Jason

    “The same can be said about Kevin Durant since many are starting to compare his abilities to Michael Jordan, or even greater.”

    Nonsense, KD is overrated as hell. Stop disrespecting Jordan. KD is just a shooter.

    “Rogue has the ability to absorb energy from anyone she comes in contact with and duplicate his or her powers. The same can be said about Kevin Durant…”

    how the hell is he related to rogue. What the hell is he absorbing, when has he duplicate anyone’s moves on the court. He is not hot like rogue, not really a high-flyer, not incredibly strong… so on so on

  • Jason

    since many are starting to compare his abilities to Michael Jordan, or even greater.

    U link up one article and write this b.s. and many people consider him like Jordan. WOW!

  • http://www.sactownroyalty.com Willis

    Gilbert Arenas is Deadpool, and Tyreke Evans is Shadowcat.

    Also, Jubilee is such a stupid superhero. She shoots stars out her hands. So dumb.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    You were doing alright up until you included JR SMith on this list. Everything under JR is way off. Plus Kobe is no Wolverine, not one bit. DWade is Wolverine. Kobe is more of the Cyclops…why? He has the same tunnel vision and thinks he is really the leader.

    Dwight = the Beast good.
    Rose = Night Crawler good
    Phil = professor X great one
    Shaq = Colossis good.

    REDO on
    Lerbon, Durant too many guys to compair them to WEAK female X-MEN

    Please remove NAte and JR they don’t belong.

    I like the Sloan = Magneto one. Though i would say Popovich first.

    Where are

    Tim Duncan
    Kevin Garnett
    Chris Paul
    Deron Williams

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    LMAO@ Willis

    Deadpool is perfect for Gil

  • LakeShow84

    Dont forget David Stern as Gen. Stryker lol

  • yoda

    its been ages since i’ve read x-men but i must admit, you got at least two of them perfectly. first is phil as prof x and second one as storm and princess james. shiny stuff but nothing done well. girl stuff i guess :P

  • Mark

    Very good article AM! Most of the analogies are good and I can totally envision it…nice way to backup your claims. I love X-Men! Creative style…thank you!

    JR was a stretch, and was surprised with the female x-men, but Jubilee and Storm are totally appropriate! But who am I to critique as I couldn’t have thought of something like this in a million years.

    Good job again! Looking forward to a follow-up and others like this (the villains and other comic book heroes).

  • Knicksfan84

    Lebron = Squidward
    Bosh = Patrick
    Spongbob = Wade

  • Knicksfan84

    Lebron = Squidward
    Bosh = Patrick
    Wade = Spongebob

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Mark

    Glad you enjoyed the read! Also, I know J.R. was a bit of stretch but he’s the perfect fit for Gambit, especially since he’s often clashed with the leader/coach like Gambit. I really couldn’t think of anyone better to play the part.

    Also, I didn’t want to seem sexist with leaving the girls out, especially since they play just as big of a role as the men do.

  • Mtx

    Nate Robinson is Toad: little, agile and can jump fking high.

    Shaq in his prime was Juggernaut: when he started to charge to the rim, nobody could stop him. Now hes more like Blob

  • alex “robocop” murphy

    After seeing cola dominate I think he should have been beast

  • hughboyd

    OMG, get a life….

  • Qrentis

    ..If feeling this list..

    I think they should of had the 2010 rookie of the year on here but other that I’m cool

    And kobe is much more like cyclops

    And wade is more like wolverine..

    Kobe has had an lot of help on all rings..

    Rogue and storm have the top 3 power

    Well rogue is top 2

  • Qrentis

    Naw I take that back.. kobe is wolverine

  • Qrentis

    Naw I take that back.. kobe is wolverine

  • mytiman

    100% agree on Kobe being Wolverine.

    Plus Nate Robinson as Jubilee? HAHA!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Mytiman

    I had to throw some kind of humor in there lol.

  • http://www.netshype.blogspot.com netstar

    lebron is banshee because of how loudly he complains

  • http://www.twitter.com/yung_prince Prenti$

    @Karizamatic I agree with you…

    how can’t you put the Villens on the list???? These players are going up against each other.. there not teaming up! Not to mention most of these players don’t even like each other lol

    And by the way ask your self which player in the league has the most power

  • http://www.twitter.com/yung_prince Prenti$

    Lebron is the top villain in the Nba… the top villain always has the most powers! The only way they can be beat is if you double team or if you cheat… you might not like the top villian (Lebron) but he can’t be beat one on one… man to man

    Top power in the league goes to


  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla


    Forgive me for that then. I’m not up on my x-men like i should be. Rouge is the one who can steal peoples powers for a short time by touching them right? Well as powerful as it is, that’s not really that cool.

    I do like Nate Robinson as the TOAD dude. That’s a perfect one for him. Especially since his uniform is green now.

    Can you imagine if the NBA did the TNT promos with a mix of the Xmen like they did when “Hulk” came out? That would be soooooo gansta <—in my Riley from Boondocks voice

    PS Wolverine = DWade. Under no circumstance does he resemble Kobe in anyway.

  • Oppaman

    this article is so gay. WTF?

  • Sporty-j

    lol Lebron is a Female??? lol

  • Mavs All The Way

    LOL @ Knicksfan84

    Mr.Crabs = Delonte West

  • Qrentis

    I’m not even up on my x men

  • NYC Hoops

    Interesting article. But I have a question (as a long time reader, but scant poster)?

    How is Shaquille O’neal the most dominant player/center in NBA history? Have you guys ever heard of a guy named Wilt Chamberlain? And I like Shaq! Nuff Said!!

    Dwight Howard is not that intelligent of a player yet to be Beast.

    And How is Derrick Rose the “most athletic player in the league? He’s not even the fastest (not close). Though he’s fast. Nate Robinson (who you listed) had a 2.96 combine time vs D. Rose’s 3.05), according to Draft Express, for starters.

    And how is Rose even more athletic than Dwayne Wade who you listed earlier. Derrick Rose is about 6’1″ (he’s really not 6’3″) and he’s certainly fast up and down the court, but he’s not particularly quick from side to side/stop and start (which affects his defense and ability to penetrate a zone in FIBA, unlike R. Westbrook, who’s bigger and quicker from side to side with more explosion). He’s just not.

    I can find a whole lot more players in the NBA that are more athletic than Derrick Rose (not too say he isn’t very athletic though), many who are just as fast and several more that are quicker. But why bother.

    I think you could of picked many for speed and Shaq (though a great choice) was certainly not more dominant than Wilt The stilt regarding points or how he bullied players. Did Shaq ever average 50 or 42 points a season and score a 100 points in a game?

    Lastly; shouldn’t ICE had been George Gervin (I know you were picking current players; but it would of still been nice, lol)?

    And Making Lebron Storm after Halle Berry played him in the movie, was just plain wrong! Lol.

    I know this was all fun games though; but you guys could of gave it more thought process, I think.

    No problem