By Todd Allen

Merry Christmas.  I’ll be watching some basketball today.  The NBA has long tried to be to Christmas what the NFL is to Thanksgiving, and this year the league is even launching the season on Christmas.  (If you don’t know, don’t ask.  There was a work stoppage and it was ugly.)  You may not realize it, but there’s a smidgeon of crossover between comics and the NBA.  Bill Jemas was fairly high up in the league offices YEARS before he joined Marvel.  Remember the NBA Hoops trading cards that the league owned?  That was Bill.  Which led to Fleer.  Which led to Marvel.  Current Marvel EIC Axel Alonso has been speaking of basketball in his interviews of late.  Marvel also did a neat cross-promotion with the NBA, ESPN and Wired last year, making up mock comic book covers merging Marvel characters with the various teams.  Comics Alliance has an archive of it.

Far and away, the best cover was for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the wake of LeBron James “taking [his] talents to South Beach.”

Since I’m in a giving mood for the holidays, let me throw out a couple more covers in the slightly more ornery tradition of the Cav’s poster.

  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Loki whispering into the ear of Wolves General Manager David Kahn, “You simply can’t have too many point guards.”
  • New York Knicks: Take the cover of Avengers #28, “A Goliath Walks Among Us.”  Goliath = Tyson Chandler and line up Mike D’Antoni, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis in the front.
  • Los Angeles Lakers / Houston Rockets: LA GM Mitch Kupchak, Houston GM Daryl Morey and the Mad Thinker all strike the same pose — pulling at their hair in frustration and shouting in unison, “The X-factor always ruins my plans!”  Chris Paul in a Clippers uniform appears in the background.
  • Orlando Magic: Civil War “choosing sides” riff with Deron Williams as Iron Man and Stan Van Gundy as Captain America in the foreground and Dwight Howard in the background looking conflicted.
  • New Jersey Nets: “One More Day” as Mephisto looms over Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian