Comparing the Biggest Sports Stars to Comic Book Superheroes
A common metaphor used for many athletes today is superheroes. It's a stretch since they're not really doing anything heroic but simply playing the game they love at a high level. Yet it's hard to count all the times that players come up with titles for themselves, invoking comparisons to such comic book superheroes as Superman and Batman.
I thought it would be interesting to have a look at which superhero today's top athletes are most like. For those who love comic books, this includes characters from both D.C., Marvel and Mirage Studios. It also includes athletes from most of the major sports in both the U.S. and worldwide.
Floyd Mayweather Jr: The Incredible Hulk
To start off, I'm going with one of the greatest boxers in the world today. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is undefeated as a professional boxer and has won seven world titles. By the simple fact that he is a boxer, he is extremely physically strong, perhaps towards the level of the Hulk.
But like the Hulk, you won't like Mayweather when he's angry. Because when he's angry, he'll do things like headbutt you or mercilessly beat you into a bloody pulp. Even his own family isn't immune to his Hulk-like rage, as Mayweather was arrested two years ago for domestically assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
Mayweather's origins also run similarly to the Hulk's; but instead of slaving away in a laboratory all day, he trained like crazy to become the boxer he is today. Both Mayweather and the Hulk struggle with public perception a well, not surprisingly since both have the tendency to seem like out of control psychos. It may be possible that like the Hulk, the angrier Mayweather gets, the stronger he gets.
Carmelo Anthony: Pyro
Carmelo Anthony is a fiery NBA player so that's part of the reason why he lines up so well with the X-Men character Pyro. Well, the kinds of fire they use are obviously different but beyond that, they have some similarities.
Anthony used to be a beloved player for the Denver Nuggets, similar to how Pyro used to be an X-men. Anthony abandoned Denver for a chance at glory with the New York Knicks, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants of the NBA. The X-Men got along all right without Pyro and the Nuggets have also still contended in the Western conference despite losing Melo.
Pyro was initially attracted to Magneto's cause because of the lure of power. However, he turned out to be a minor player for the Brotherhood, something that is in danger of happening to Anthony today. With Jeremy Lin and his Linsanity getting the Knicks to six straight wins, could it be possible that Anthony is the second- or even third-best player on his team?
Serena Williams: Jean Gray (Phoenix)
It could be argued that Serena Williams is the most popular female athlete in the world. She and older sister Venus are both stars in the tennis world that have been dominant for many years. Due to the vast amount of power she has, Williams is a lot like X-Men character Jean Grey.
Jean is one of the most powerful mutants in the entire X-Men universe, as she is an Omega level mutant. However she is insecure in her abilities until her transformation to the Phoenix when she becomes too powerful for her own good.
Williams had her own Phoenix transformation around 2009 when she became the world's number one tennis player again. Although Williams doesn't lack for confidence, she does to have to deal with having an older sister who is a tennis legend. Even though Williams probably doesn't share Jean's power of telepathy, she does share that same inner strength that propelled both women to the top of their respective careers.
Clay Matthews: Thor
This one is not solely due to his hair, I promise. Although both the Norse god of thunder and Green Bay's star linebacker do both have similarly long hair, both players have more in common than just their appearances.
Thor wields his mighty hammer while creating thunder, lightning and all manner of storms. Matthews just mostly tackles and sacks opposing football players really hard. Some of Matthew's hits are so intense that they almost sound like thunder.
Thor hails from a family of gods, while Matthews actually is from one of the most successful families in the NFL. Matthews' grandfather, father and uncle all played for the NFL, while he also has brothers and cousins that have all at least played football at the collegiate level.
Nick Swisher: Michelangelo
Nick Swisher is a fun-loving guy that doesn't take his career as an outfielder for the New York Yankees too seriously. Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a similar lease on life as he is very free-spirited and adventurous.
Swisher is not bald like the Turtles; however, he has short hair which is similar enough to Michelangelo's appearance. Obviously they can't look too similar considering one is a human and one is a turtle. Still it could be argued that Swisher's round face is a little bit Turtle-like in its appearance.
Although he is on a team of superstars with the Yankees, Swisher stands out thanks to his presence on Twitter. He is arguably the top baseball player on Twitter with 1,462,511 followers. It would probably be a number that Michelangelo could challenge if he were to have his own Twitter account.
Tiger Woods: Spiderman
This may seem like an odd choice for the disgraced and washed-up golfer. However Tiger Woods has more in common with the webslinger than what it looks like at first glance.
Woods came out of nowhere to become a famous golfer and one of the world's most famous African American athletes nearly a decade ago. Like Peter Parker, the kid chosen to become Spiderman, Woods seemed to have the destiny of becoming one of the greatest golfers of all time.
But the real similarity is that both men became experts at living double lives. Parker didn't let anyone know that he was secretly a superhero saving the people of New York City, while Woods didn't let anyone know he was chasing skanks and having multiple affairs. Both men learned the hard way that with great power comes great responsibility.
Right now Wood's career seems to mimic the Spiderman 2 film, where Parker loses his powers and decides to give up being Spiderman. Woods has supposedly gotten help for his sex addiction; however, his golf play has been mostly unspectacular lately. One has to wonder if he could be close to hanging up the suit, especially with the hit that his reputation has taken the last few years.
Kevin Garnett: Aquaman
One of the more infamous superheroes from DC Comics is Aquaman. Although he has some interesting powers when in the water, as Family Guy cleverly pointed out his powers are useless when something bad is happening on land.
For some reason this reminds me of Kevin Garnett. The power forward for the Boston Celtics has had an excellent career but it is one which he is clearly in the twilight of. Like Aquaman, Garnett's game is severely limited since he's only really good at dunking and hitting wide open jumpers.
Now, Garnett is older, so it isn't too surprising that he becomes tired and can have games where he seems to totally disappear. Like Aquaman, Garnett is known for talking a ton of smack, sometimes he backs it up while other times he does not. But like anyone who is doing something evil a few feet away from where Aquaman could reach them, people know to take Garnett's words with a grain of salt most nights.
Although it's to be added those nights when Garnett is on, he can dominate a game and more than backup his smack talk. It's just those nights seem to be far and few in between.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Superman
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world so it's fitting that one of its best players would get the comparison to Superman on this list. The title of best soccer player in the world is very much debatable but one player that is in the discussion is Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The winger/striker for Real Madrid seems to almost be at the same level of perfection as Superman. Ronaldo can completely dominate a soccer game and look totally invincible like Superman.
In addition to his soccer skills, Ronaldo just seems to have the perfect life. He's a millionaire, one of the best soccer players in the world and only dates the most beautiful women in the world. Superman is generally regarded as the best superhero and he also has the untouchable perfection quality that Ronaldo has.
Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká is also one of the best soccer players in the world. However I feel like the unapproachable Ronaldo is a lot different from the good guy Kaká. I picked Daredevil as Kaká's superhero since both not only do their jobs well but also want to do what is right.
Kaká was born with myopia and was considered too weak to play soccer. Although myopia is different, it is also a crippling illness similar to what blindness is for Daredevil. And before Kaká had eye surgery, he had difficulty seeing without contact lenses or glasses.
Daredevil has heightened senses similar to how Kaká uses his senses on the soccer field. Both are morally upright men, as Daredevil is a lawyer by day. Kaká is a devout Christian and he regularly donates 10 percent of his salary to the church.
Albert Pujols: Iron Man
Albert Pujols is likely the most famous man in all of baseball. After winning the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, most MLB talk this offseason focused on Pujols' impending free agency. Now Pujols has signed with the Los Angeles Angels, leaving a void in the defending champion Cardinals.
With his new contract making him among baseball's richest players, Pujols now draws some comparisons to Marvel Comic's Iron Man. Both Tony Stark and Pujols are rich men that aspire to do something great. Yeah, Stark is more of an egomaniacal jerk than Pujols, but still both men seem to be good at heart.
Another reason Pujols is similar to Iron Man is his tendencies to survive injuries. He suffered a brutal fracture injury in 2011 that was rumored to be season-ending, yet he returned only 15 days later. He has had injuries but he proves himself to often being an Iron Man by playing through injuries and not missing significant time.