Personally, I don't think so.
Superman is the best all-around superhero in the history of superheroes. He only has one weakness (kryptonite), but he pushes through until the very end and wins every time.
Superman can do it all. Dwight Howard? He still has flaws.
After questioning Howard's nickname, I started thinking to myself, "What other NBA stars match up well with fictional superheroes?"
Guess what happened?
You're right. I wrote an article about it.
For what it's worth, the Green Arrow is a pretty lackluster superhero. His only "powers" are his supreme archery abilities and his deadly accuracy.
This just so happens to work out perfectly, because while Allen is a good all-around player, his best "power" is obviously his shooting ability and deadly accuracy from deep.
Allen holds the record for most three-point field goals made at 2,612, and when you take into account that his career average from deep is 40 percent, that makes for a nice comparison to someone as accurate as the Green Arrow.
Not to mention, the whole "green" connection is pretty valid.
Seriously, look at the picture.
Even though Garnett is getting old and is playing on bad knees, that doesn't mean his will to win and determination are gone.
Here is what the Hulk's Wikipedia page says about him:
The Hulk possesses the potential for limitless physical strength depending directly on his emotional state, particularly his anger. This has been reflected in the repeated comment, "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets."
If this doesn't describe Garnett in a nutshell, I'm not sure what does.
Garnett is known for his superior emotional play. He is the epitome of energy, and his emotion dictates how he and the rest of his team are going to play.
More times than not, if you're watching the Celtics either live or on TV, you're going to hear Garnett either trash-talking or yelling. That's just who he is. He's the Hulk.
This one was hard. I really, really wanted to find Dirk a fitting superhero, but there's only so much you can do with an agile, half-awkward, unguardable seven-footer who likes to shoot jumpers rather than post people up.
So, when I learned that Nightcrawler from the X-Men gang was German, it seemed like things were finally coming together.
Nightcrawler's most important power is his ability to teleport. Dirk—well—doesn't really have this in common with Nightcrawler, other than the fact that he has the ability to teleport the basketball from his hand into the hoop.
Yeah, it's not a good comparison.
What is a good comparison, however, is the fact that Nightcrawler is one of the most agile and flexible superheroes in the world.
The fact that Dirk is seven feet tall, dribbles the way he does and has the ability to hit 20 footers off of one foot while falling away is enough reason for me to compare him to Nightcrawler.
Agile, flexible, unreal. This is Dirk Nowitzki.
So who really is most like The Flash? I give the upper hand to John Wall, and not just because their pictures are so similar.
Obviously, The Flash is the fastest superhero ever (with the possible exception of Superman, but, you know, he's Superman).
Watch this clip of John Wall from his days at Kentucky. He gets from hoop to hoop in four seconds, all while weaving through traffic.
A perk of having super speed is having the ability to make decisions and know what's going to happen in a flash. This ability to process information quickly relates to Wall's ability to slice apart defenses with the dribble and his superior passing ability.
In his rookie season, Wall averaged 8.3 assists per game. Needless to say, this guy is going to be great.
This is the biggest "reach" of the article, but here's what I'm going for:
Harvey Birdman sticks out like a sore thumb in this article. He's not your average superhero—but that's what makes Tim Duncan so unique, as well.
He's not your average NBA superstar by any means.
Like Birdman, Duncan doesn't have many "powers." He just plays the game like it was meant to be played. Thus, his nickname, "The Big Fundamental," is very fitting.
The fact that Harvey Birdman is a defense attorney doesn't hurt things either since Duncan is no slouch on the defensive side of the ball. He has a career average of 2.3 blocks per game.
They actually kind of look alike, right?
Blake Griffin and The Thing are alike for the obvious reasons: they're huge, they demolish things in their path and they're feared by their opponents.
The Thing's actual superhero abilities include super strength, incredible stamina and resistance to injury.
Since Blake was out his entire real rookie season because of injury, we can rule that one out, but he is ridiculously strong and it seems like his motor never stops running. He is always putting his body out there without any regard to what may happen.
Remember that play a few years back while Blake was at OU? You know, the one where he dove into the crowd just for a loose ball? Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about.
One thing that I really like about the comparison between Blake and The Thing is this:
Despite his brutish, even monstrous form, the Thing suffers no change in his personality nor his level of intelligence.
This quote, taken from The Thing's Wikipedia page, describes Blake's personality. He's always a nice, humble guy despite what form he takes.
As a student of the University of Oklahoma, I had the pleasure of seeing Blake destroy and posterize defenders in his two years at school. So, watching Blake take the NBA by storm was almost like watching a son grow up before my eyes.
I have to say, though, I was expecting it.
I really think I'm just getting lucky with these look-alike pictures.
At first glance, Wolverine and Westbrook have similar physiques. While Wolverine is shorter, they're both completely ripped. They're definitely two smaller guys who pack a punch.
Getting past the physique, the similarities between the two are uncanny.
Wolverine is likely the most athletic X-Men character, while Westbrook is likely the most athletic point guard in the NBA (you could make an argument for Rose, but I'm not going to).
When Wolverine fights, he attacks his opponents quickly and aggressively. Westbrook attacks the rim with the exact same intensity.
Wolverine is the leader of the X-Men (if you aren't counting Professor X); everybody looks up to him. As a point guard, Westbrook is the on-court leader for the Thunder as he is the most vocal and has the ball in his hands the most.
Both have absolutely zero problems standing up to authority, especially in Westbrook's case.
And finally, Wolverine has incredible healing ability. Russ has yet to be injured in his short career; he has played in every single game in every season thus far.
Like Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade also has a superhero nickname that doesn't quite suit him.
Wade, whose most popular nickname is "The Flash," is really more like The Human Torch.
The most obvious reason involves the team he plays for, of course, the Heat. How fitting is that? Also, the Human Torch's abilities all revolve around fire, something that Dwyane Wade is used to being on.
The Human Torch is able to manipulate his fire into a body shield, and in this form he is able to fly. This relates to Wade's ability to fly through the air for crazy lay-ups and dunks, and his "body shield" is just his lack of fear.
If Wade's commercial from a few years ago taught us anything, it's that Wade has no fear of getting hit and falling to the floor.
The Human Torch also has the ability to form his fire into rings. Even though Wade only has one ring to show for his time in Miami, he is sure to have more to come.
So if Dwight Howard isn't Superman, who is he? Spider-Man?
Yes, Spider-Man. This may sound like an odd comparison, but hear me out.
I'm entirely aware that Dwight Howard and Spider-Man are polar opposites when it comes to physiques, but when it comes to powers and characteristics, they're the same person.
First off, both have superhuman strength and agility. This isn't too remarkable, as lots of superheroes have these traits, so any of those could have been compared to Dwight Howard.
So why isn't Dwight Howard Superman? He's built like a freak of nature, he's agile, he's super strong and he has a super personality.
Superman has one flaw: kryptonite. Many could say that Howard's kryptonite is free-throw shooting. While that may be true, he still has other glaring flaws: he's turnover prone, awkward with the ball in his hands and unable to dribble well.
This relates to Spider-Man's awkward personality and his accident-prone nature. Sure, Spider-Man as a superhero is a bad-ass, but as a person he still can't do the smallest things.
Meet Dwight Howard, the NBA's version of Spider-Man—not Superman.
Again, this might be an odd comparison to some, but there is a logical explanation.
The first explanation obviously has to do with the power of rings. Green Lantern wouldn't have any super powers if it wasn't for his ring, but because he has it, nobody would ever want to mess with him and his super abilities.
This is more or less what Kobe's story has become. But to be fair, it really only started after he won his fourth ring in 2009 (hence the picture).
Before Kobe earned said ring, he was publicly ridiculed for being unable to win a title without Shaq. For years, Kobe was a bad seed in the NBA world. He was cocky and unable to take advice from coaches, he was in a feud with the most lovable big man in the NBA, and then, you know, there was that whole alleged rape thing.
But it truly is amazing what winning a ring can do for your image. Just ask the Green Lantern.
Now that Kobe has won two rings since all of his wrong-doings, he is only praised for his work ethic and will power, which is something else he has in common with the Green Lantern.
So, for all those who believe Kobe is the Superman or even the Batman of the NBA, remember that he and the Green Lantern have a lot more in common.
Kevin Durant is the only superstar in this slideshow to get two superhero counterparts.
This is because Durant is the embodiment of both superheroes.
Let's start with Captain America.
Captain America really doesn't have any "real" super powers, other than what was given to him after the transformation, but what he definitely has above all else is superior leadership qualities. Not to mention, he's one of the best tacticians in the superhero world.
Durant is blossoming into an on-court and off-court leader for the Thunder. He may be the most respected player in the league. Also, his deadly offensive arsenal makes him one of the best tacticians in the NBA when it comes to destroying opposing defenses.
Beyond super powers and characteristics, Captain America and Kevin Durant are alike because they're both "poster boys" for their respective professions. Many people believe Durant is a great "face of the game"-type player, especially after what he's been doing around the country this summer.
Now, on to Thor.
KD and Thor may not have much in common physically, but how can I pass up the opportunity to compare the God of Thunder to the God of the Thunder.
Also, Thor has the ability to somewhat control the weather. On any given night, Durant has the ability to make it rain.
Yeah, I hate me too.
"But Alex, how can one of the most despised NBA superstars be one of the most beloved superheroes?!"
"Yeah, Alex! I LOVE BATMAN. BUT I HATE LEBRON. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE."
Before all the flame rolls in for this slide, let me explain to you why this makes perfect sense. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Batman:
There are a plethora of superheroes without superpowers, but of them all the Batman character relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess." ... Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth," able to defeat a team of superpowered aliens by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates.
Athletic Prowess: something LeBron has gobs of. Also, while in Cleveland, LeBron was ordered on multiple occasions to defeat opposing teams by himself.
I know what you're thinking, if you actually like LeBron and had to compare him to any superhero, Batman would make the least amount of sense because LeBron's super powers would be flight (dunking) and superior vision (passing), and Batman has zero real super powers.
So, why isn't LeBron's superhero counterpart Superman? Well, I'll get to that on the next slide. But for now, remember that Batman can fly and he does have superior vision, he just has to use special gadgets to do it.
So while LeBron may have more natural super powers than Batman, they both are real guys who have the same abilities.
But what makes LeBron like Batman goes far and beyond any super power, it's more about respectability.
Batman was beloved by the city of Gotham forever. Who wouldn't love a vigilante crime fighter who put the entire city on his back?
Ding, ding, ding. That was LeBron in Cleveland. LeBron was Cleveland's Dark Knight for seven years. He had very little help while he was there, so he always had to put the entire team on his back.
The only difference between these two scenarios was that Batman certainly had more clutch victories, but again, they both have the same story.
Now, for those of you who read the comics, graphic novels or have seen the Batman movies, you know that Batman becomes the villain at the end of The Dark Knight. As Harvey Dent puts it:
You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Batman wasn't in the wrong, he isn't a true villain, but he's not the hero that Gotham deserves. In order to bring Gotham together, he has to become the villain.
Ding, ding, ding. That's now LeBron in Miami. Now, I'm not saying this is true, but this is a crazy theory. LeBron knew that he wasn't going to win in Cleveland. Nobody was doing anything to help him. He was supposed to be the city's savior, but he couldn't do it all by himself. He needed a Harvey Dent to help him.
When he realized he wasn't going to get a Harvey Dent, he decided to turn against the city in the most horrible way possible ("The Decision"), and become the villain to unite the city, even if it was against him. Anything to get the fans in Cleveland passionate about something.
Batman tells Lt. Gordon to tell the people of Gotham that he killed Harvey Dent, their hero. LeBron told the city of Cleveland that he killed the metaphorical Harvey Dent, which was the slight hopes of winning a championship.
The ending lines of The Dark Knight are the perfect summation of both Batman and LeBron's lives:
James Gordon Jr.: Why's he running, dad?
Lt. Gordon: Because we have to chase him.
James Gordon Jr.: He didn't do anything wrong.
Lt. Gordon: Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
Kinda perfect, right?
Like I said on the intro slide, Superman is the ultimate superhero.
He has an ungodly amount of powers, he is from another planet and he has the best personality and demeanor of any superhero in the history of superheroes.
It's unfair to Superman if I try to compare any NBA superstar to him, because, well, nobody at all compares to him.
There isn't a single player who has Superman's talent and charisma—that's why he's Superman.
Sorry, Dwight. It's time for a new moniker.