ESPN Marvel Comic Covers for the NBA

Artwork, featured, Sports


I love the NBA. For me it is truly FANtastic as the old tag line used to say. Basketball is one of the most soap-opera driven sports we have. This was witnessed in spectacular and nauseating detail this past summer with LeBron James’s televised “The Decision” where he decided to leave the Cavaliers in heart-wrenching fashion and go play basketball for the Miami Heat, or in his words, “take my talents to South Beach”.

Can their be a more drama-filled sport that has to have an hour-long TV special dedicated to a player switching teams? So with this in mind I must now applaud ESPN the Magazine and Marvel Comics for creating 30 amazing covers, each one representing one of the NBA teams. Some of the matches are genius, especially the Amazing Spider-man issue #50 which has a lot in common with LeBron leaving Cleveland. Also inspired is the Carmelo Anthony depiction of him leaving the Denver Nuggets in an homage cover to the classic X-men #138 which shows Cyclops leaving the X-men.  Another great match of a NBA Superstar and a Marvel Comic Superhero was Dwight Howard being showcased as Wolverine – while Dwight may not have the killer instinct, the cover is definitely killer!

Enjoy these covers, as is one of the few sites where you can find all of them and one of the even fewer sites that you can see the sketches for some of the comic covers as well as some alternative covers that ESPN decided not to use.

All images can be clicked to show larger versions of each NBA Marvel Comic Cover by ESPN the Magazine.

The Cleveland Cavaliers – Spider-man

This cover uses a panel from inside issue #50 of Spider-man, not the cover of that issue. The panel is included as inset for you to compare. Nice.


The Denver Nuggets – X-Men

“Exit Melo” is a dead-ringer for “Exit Cyclops.” X-men #138. Although drawing a comparison to Carmelo is an insult to Cyclops, I can appreciate the creativity behind it.


The Orlando Magic – Wolverine

Love the execution here and love the final rendition. Not sure Dwight Howard is the best comparison.


The Phoenix Suns – The Phoenix

Included with this Suns cover is an alternate sketch that wasn’t used. Click the image for a bigger picture of the Suns cover, with a nod to the Phoenix mini-series featuring the spectacular Jean Grey.

The Chicago Bulls – The Red Hulk

Another great job by Marvel artists. Shown with this comic cover is the green Hulk version and I also included the two additional alternate sketches of the Bulls that did not appear in ESPN the Magazine. I like the final best.

The San Antonio Spurs – Thor, Iron Man, Captain America


The Houston Rockets – Weapon X

The Toronto Raptors – Alpha Flight

The Detroit Pistons – Dr. Doom – Doombots

Oklahoma Thunder – Thor

The Indiana Pacers – Doctor Strange

The New Jersey Nets – Galactus

The Charlotte Bobcats/Michael Jordan – S.H.I.E.L.D

The Dallas Mavericks – Ant-Man

The Los Angeles Lakers – Iron Man

The New York Knicks – a Marvel Hodgepodge

The Sacramento Kings – X-Babies

The Utah Jazz – Daredevil

The New Orleans Hornets – Archangel

The Miami Heat – Captain America and The Big Three

The Atlanta Hawks – Hawkeye

The Memphis Grizzlies – Captain America

The Los Angeles Clippers – The Incredible Hulk

The Boston Celtics – The Fantastic Four

The Milwaukee Bucks – Power Man and Iron Fist

The Philadelphia 76ers – Deadpool

The Minnesota Timberwolves – Iceman


The Washington Wizards – The Human Torch

The Golden State Warriors – Bullseye


The Portland Trailblazers – Deathloks


I am fairly impressed with the quality and the artistry of the these Marvel NBA covers. It was a creative endeavor for the Marvel artists but even more of a risk for the NBA and I am glad they took it. Thanks to ESPN the Magazine for making these images available. As an NBA fan and a comic book nerd I was very excited to see this merger of two of my favorite interests. Do you have a favorite comic cover? Please share your thoughts on the choices made for matching teams with comics as well as which ones you like and which covers you didn’t.

Make Mine Marvel and Go NBA!

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