Have you ever turned on a basketball game and thought, ‘wow, this definitely needs more Iron Man’? Have you ever watched a player sink a three-pointer and wondered how badly the shot would piss off an impending horde of aliens attempting to destroy the Earth? Do you think Disney needs to flex its ever-expanding library of IP just a little bit more? Well, folks, today is your lucky day. It seems execs at Disney have officially gone off the deep end with their vast library of acquisitions, mashing together two of their most popular, albeit discordant, properties to create what may easily be the strangest crossover in all of television history – A “MarvelCast" NBA Game.
On May 3, ESPN2 will air the scheduled game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans in what they've dubbed an “NBA Special Edition,” shoehorn-, sorry, incorporating “elements from an original Marvel story” featuring heroes like Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Captain Americ into the basketball contest, Variety reported of the strange crossover. Although an unaltered version of the game will appear on ESPN proper, the new edition will center around a plot involving the characters viewing the game “in hopes of finding new heroes to help them fight an invading alien army,” the publication noted. Remember folks, everyone knows that nothing precludes an intergalactic, superhero battle to save the world quite like watching a Warriors game.
“The new ‘Marvel’s Arena of Heroes’ telecast will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly to the real-time experience of a NBA game," Marvel's VP of Marketing and Communications, Mike Pasciullo said in a statement, "and we are excited for fans to be able to watch their favorite players through the lens of Marvel’s mightiest heroes,” because why listen to the opinions of the professional announcers, Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson, that will be calling the game from a Marvel-themed studio when you can just slap some CGI heroes into the mix?
Aside from you, know, competing for points on the court, the players, namely Golden State Warrior's Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, and The Pelican's Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball will also be competing for “Marvel Hero Points,” a quantitative system of judgment more or less based on the opinions of fictional characters. “Every point, rebound, assist, steal or block wins one Marvel Hero Point. But any missed field goal, free throw or turnover means a Hero Point gets deducted,” Variety wrote of the scoring system. Whoever has the most points at the end will be crowned the Marvel “Champion” of the game, because as we all know, what's the point of playing professional basketball if you can't get validation from Iron Man himself that your free throw saved all of humanity?
Yet as Variety noted, for some inexplicable reason, this is far from the first time such a crossover has been attempted. Aside from ESPN's NBA “Bet Cast,” designed for those looking to bet money on the game and the “Kid Cast” of the Little League championship designed for kids (who may or may not be looking to bet money on the game), other companies have done similar experiments with their live sports offerings. Last year, ViacomCBS themed an NFL Wildcard game off of *checks notes* Nickelodeon's iconic '90s sketch comedy show, All That, Nick slime included.