In February, NBA superstar Lebron James broke his nose in a game and afterwards joked with reporters that Marvel should design him a mask to wear in games. Well, Marvel jumped all over the marketing opportunity and designed a superhero mask for James. Of course, he didn’t actually wear a superhero mask to protect his nose but he did don a really slick-looking black mask in his first game after the injury. That got us wondering: What about Marvel superhero masks for athletes in other sports?Here are five athletes we’d like to see with a Marvel mask along with the superhero inspiration for each.
1. Ray Emery; goalie, Philadelphia Flyers
Hockey goalies are very artistic with their masks and last fall Emery debuted a mask honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American aviators in the U.S. armed forces. Check out Emery’s mask here. Inspiration: The Falcon. First introduced in Captain America in 1969, The Falcon was the first African-American mainstream comic book character. Sticking with Emery’s Flying theme, The Falcon not only flies but also has the ability to control other birds.
2. John Buck; catcher, Seattle Mariners
When Buck played for the Miami Marlins, he wore a mask with a menacing-looking marlin on the side of his head. Now that Buck is in his first year with the Mariners (a mariner is a sailor) he should stick with the aquatic theme for his next mask. Inspiration: Namor the Sub-Mariner. Debuted in 1939, Namor is the mutant son of a sea captain and a princess of Atlantis. Namor possesses super strength and aquatic abilities and over the years has served alongside the Avengers, the Defenders, Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
3. Justin Tuck; defensive end, Oakland Raiders
Tuck hides every inch of his face and from a distance he looks like he has a grill the size of a Buick’s. His superhero mask should be something designed for eating quarterbacks. Inspiration: Morbius the Living Vampire. Dr. Michael Morbius is a biochemist who tried to cure himself of a rare blood disease using vampire bats and electroshock therapy. The treatment went horribly wrong and Morbius ended up a vampire. The resemblance between Tuck and Morbius is uncanny.
4. Darrell Wallace, Jr; NASCAR driver
In October, Wallace, Jr. became the first African-American racer to win one of NASCAR’s national series races since 1963. He’s got the speed, now he needs the mask. Wallace, Jr.’s current helmet displays mostly his sponsors but a superhero-themed design might help him around the track even more. Inspiration: Blur. An African-American farm boy (Wallace is from North Carolina), Stanley Stewart acquires superhuman speed and transforms himself into Blur when a retro virus arrives on earth at the same time as the alien Hyperion.
5. Marvin Rettenmaier; poker player
Okay, so poker players don’t need a mask for personal protection like the others on our list. But “Mad” Marvin needs to hide his face for another reason: his pokerface. Although, he doesn’t seem to wear one when he’s off the clock, like in this clip from the PartyPoker YouTube where he’s playing the guitar.
Inspiration: The Thing. With a face made of stone, this is the obvious choice. Good luck figuring out what cards Rettenmaier is holding when you’re staring at that pokerface.