Thursday, June 01, 2006

Summer Blockbuster Series: X-Athletes

(May 28, 2006)

I went to see the new X-men movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, Friday night. It’s a pretty decent flick, especially if you like summer popcorn movies jam-packed with action and special effects sequences. As always, super thespian Ian McKellen brought the drama, while Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, and Rebecca Romijn brought the hotness. Kelsey Grammer and Patrick Stewart also turned in fine performances. Some X-Men fanboys and fangirls are apparently disappointed with the mishandling of several things and the not-so-faithful script, as was I to some extent, but overall the film was rather enjoyable.

What does X-Men have to do with sports? Everything.

During the movie I started comparing the sports world to the X-Men world. Dominant athletes in our world are rare. Dominant mutants in the X-Men world are just as scarce. Then I started thinking—which of today’s athletes are mutant-esque? That’s when I came up with this post of “X-Athletes." If I could re-cast the mutants of X-Men: The Last Stand with personalities from the sports world, this is how I would do it…

Cast of X-Athletes

New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner as “Magneto”

Magneto is the biggest villain the world of X-Men has ever known. Steinbrenner is the biggest villain the world of sports has ever known. Magneto uses his ability to control magnetic fields in his attempts to wipe out humankind. Steinbrenner uses his deep pockets in his attempts to wipe out the rest of baseball. Neither man has succeeded in their destructive quests, but both have come close several times.

Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson as “Professor Charles Xavier”

Who else could manage the massive egos of mutant superstars Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey, but “Headmaster” Professor X. Who else could manage the massive egos of basketball superstars Shaq, Kobe, Air Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, but “Zenmaster” Jackson? Professor X can read minds. Jackson can seemingly read the minds of opposing coaches. One lived in a mutant commune, the other should live in a hippy commune.

Miami Heat Center Shaquille O’Neal as “Colossus”

Colossus and Shaq are men of steel that tower over the competition. Both men are extremely valuable to their respective teams. Neither one of them impresses us with their vernacular.

Chicago Cubs Center Fielder Juan Pierre as “Kitty Pryde”

Walls don’t stop either of these standouts. Pryde phases through them, Pierre elevates over them. Pryde robbed Juggernaut in the movie, Pierre robbed Barry Bonds in real life.

San Francisco Giants Left Fielder Barry Bonds as “Juggernaut”

Both of these massive men are believed to harvest their unrivaled power from a supernatural energy source. If that isn’t enough of a similarity, just compare the size of their gigantic noggins.

New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady as “Cyclops”

These pretty boys have a penchant for dating Maxim-quality tail. Other than that, they both shoot out projectiles with laser-like precision. Cyclops shoots out laser beams from his eyes, while Brady fires footballs from his golden arm. Each of these heroes is often viewed to be the glue that holds together their respective team.

New York Knicks President Isiah Thomas as “Rogue”

As a mutant, Rogue was one of the best ever. As a player, Zeke was one of the best ever. As a person, Rogue sucks the life out of and ultimately kills anybody she touches. As an executive, Thomas has sucked the life out of the Knicks, and he might just kill off the franchise if he isn’t removed.

Indianapolis Colts Defensive End Dwight Freeney as “Beast”

Check out this quote from the good people over at Marvel—“The Beast possesses superhuman strength, agility, endurance, and speed, despite his bulk.” Sounds like QB-killer Freeney to me. Both “animals” also don a bright shade of blue while reeking havoc on opponents.

Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby as “Iceman”

The baby-faced Iceman can do just about anything with ice. The baby-faced “Sid the Kid” can do just about anything on ice. Both Iceman and Crosby do there fair share of whining.

Sacramento Kings Small Forward Ron Artest as “Pyro”

Pyro, a young mutant struggling with his emotions, doesn’t always put the fire he can summon to good use. Artest, a young superstar struggling with his emotions, doesn’t always put the fire he can summon to good use. Both are capable of burning either the opposition or their teammates, and both have during their turbulent pasts.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Reggie Bush as “Mystique”

Mystique can psionically shift her body to replicate any human. Bush can shift his body to replicate what any skill player has ever done on a football field. Before Friday, I thought both were impossible to catch.

Phoenix Suns PG Steve Nash as “Jean Grey/Phoenix”

As Jean Grey of the X-Men, Grey was great. When she became the Phoenix, she was almost unstoppable. As a Dallas Maverick, Nash was great. Since he became a Phoenix Sun, he’s been almost unstoppable. Both Grey and Nash possess telepathic powers (Nash at least comes close), can control objects and others around them, and look good doing what they do. They both are dangerous, though. Grey as the Phoenix nearly destroyed humankind. Nash with Phoenix might destroy basketball by letting aspiring hoopsters watch him play defense.

Los Angeles Lakers Shooting Guard Kobe Bryant as “Angel”

Bryant and Angel have a ton in common. They are products of relatively famous fathers and enjoyed privileged upbringings. However, they also endured troubling times as young adults and are trying to restore their now-damaged reputations. Will Angel’s and Kobe’s “wings” allow them to soar to the heights needed in order to revive their reps?

Tennis Stars Venus or Serena Williams as “Storm”

Each sister possesses the requisite beauty and abilities to play this role. Serena and Venus have been known to whirlwind around the court as they unleash a “Storm” of serves, volleys, lobs, and overhead smashes on opponents.

Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Farve as “Wolverine”

Wolverine: A moxie-filled man with incredible mutant healing powers. Continues to perform at a high level despite his old age. Typically beats the odds and conquers any obstacle. Vastly popular.

Farve: see WOLVERINE.

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