LeBron James’ amazing year – league MVP, NBA championship, NBA Finals MVP, Olympic gold medal – added another memorable accolade: comic book character.
Marvel Comics and ESPN have teamed up for “LeBron: King of the Rings,” a limited-edition comic book that will be published in the Oct. 19 NBA Preview issue of ESPN The Magazine. A preview of the comic is currently available online at ESPN.com.
The comic imagines what would happen if James actually did make good on his promise to bring Miami not one, “not two, not three. . . not seven” championships.”
The story begins after Team USA wins Olympic gold, and it follows James’ journey through self-improvement, as he works on late-game free throws with Golden State Warriors legend and foul-shooting phenom Rick Barry picks up helpful pick-and-roll tips from Tibetan monks. Seriously.
Along the way, he defeats a zombie Shane Battier and overcomes recurring quad injuries by building himself bionic legs. The comic follows him through the 2029-30 season, when, after finally winning his seventh title – as a Cleveland Cavalier, believe it or not — King James finally announces his retirement.
Fans will have to wait to find out if LeBron wins that elusive eighth title, as the ending will be decided by a SportsNational poll on ESPN.com.
The comic was announced at Saturday’s New York Comic Con by ESPN The Magazine editors Ty Wenger and Otto Strong.
“We tried to play off the known story lines of LeBron James and his career,” Wenger said in an interview with Marvel.com. He also pointed to his “personal theory about why basketball and super heroes go together very well” as part of his inspiration for the story.
There has been debate about whether James could eclipse Michael Jordan as the best player of all time. Chances are, Kobe Bryant will end up as the closet to touch Jordan’s legacy. But neither Bryant nor Jordan can claim to be a comic book hero.