In a truly confounding mash-up of what I previously understood to be two completely unrelated things, ESPN has announced its “first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate NBA telecast.” Wait, what?
ESPN described the event as a “Marvel-inspired alternate presentation” for an upcoming Golden State Warriors versus New Orleans Pelicans game slated for May 4 at 9:30 a.m. AEST. The event will centre on a Marvel storyline with 3D characters and animations and will feature characters Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange. Three players from each team, including Warriors Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, will have active roles in the event and will win “Marvel Hero points” for their performance in the game.
“After a narrow victory over an invading alien army, the Avengers receive an ominous threat from the enemy who vows to return in greater numbers and force. The Black Panther and Iron Man quickly realise they will need more help and form a plan to expand their ranks to fight this impending threat,” the press release reads. “Recognising the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.”
The winning team will evidently be named Marvel’s first Champion. Points can be both won and deducted based on performance during the event, which is certainly one idea. We have some notes.
Here’s how this should go: First of all, Thanos’ head will serve as the ball. At an unspecified time during any point in the IRL game, half of the players will disappear. Scratch that — half of the entire arena will disappear. In the wake of missing players and bystanders, signs for the poorly constructed campaign to #BringBackTonyStarktoLife will crop up everywhere. Chaos will ensue. Just spitballing here but surely if we want to give the people the true Marvel experience, we can do better than 3D visuals and cartoons, can we not?
The event will stream on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes. Stay tuned for where you can watch the show in Australia.