May 25, 2019 | 61° F

HITCHINGS: America’s sports stars could have been cast for roles in ‘Avengers’


Opinion Column: From The Nosebleeds


Today, “Avengers: Endgame,” the culmination of more than a dozen movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will hit theaters worldwide. Dedicated fans will see their favorite superheroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, among others. They will take the fight to Thanos, a titan who has effectively knocked out half of the living creatures in the universe using the infinity stones.

Now, while these superheroes have next to nothing to do with sports, there have been some teams over time that people would compare to the power that the Avengers have when they are all together: the Dream Team, the 1972 Dolphins and Murderers' Row. All these teams dominated their competition, but none hold a candle to the power needed to take out Thanos. 

So, what if we could play casting director on the athletics version of “Avengers: Endgame?” What would the greatest athletes in sports today look like together as one team with one goal?

Tom Brady is the perfect choice to play Iron Man. He has led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl wins and has just about every record imaginable for quarterbacks. He also, like Iron Man, is still kicking it well after most believed he would stay active, at 41 years old. Brady has proven himself as a leader, taking teams both healthy and strong to nine Super Bowl appearances over 19 seasons. He is the leader of the NFL, and now of our Avengers.

While his partner Iron Man is the more controversial figure, Captain America is a blueprint of a hero to look up to. Mike Trout, center fielder of the Los Angeles Angels, while not made in a lab, is as close to ageless as a player gets in MLB. Only 27 years old, Trout has yet to show a hint of aging, continuously topping the league in a barrage of categories. Plus, how amazing would he look holding Captain America’s signature shield? 

Purely based on looks alone, Brock Lesnar is all but green when it comes to looking like the Hulk. At 6-foot-3-inches, 286 pounds, Lesnar is a beast of a human being, and somewhat of a wrecking ball, like the Avengers' own green giant. He has won an NCAA wrestling title, the WWE title, played on the Minnesota Vikings preseason roster and became the UFC champion in 2008. Since then he has constantly popped up in both WWE and UFC, bringing the pain with him. Lesnar is a beast, and the closest thing we on Earth have to the Hulk.

While New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard would be an easy pick here based on looks alone, Zion Williamson is the true brawn behind this team: the perfect reflection of Thor. At just 18 years old, Williamson is already 6-foot-7-inches, 285 pounds and taking the basketball world by storm (pun intended). Williamson will undoubtedly be the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick and will instantly become one of the most powerful bodies in the professional sport. Thor is the powerhouse brute of the Avengers, swinging his signature hammer, much like the hammer dunks that Williamson has become synonymous with. 

Ant-Man is just a regular guy from New Jersey who shrinks to the size of an ant to do amazing things. José Altuve of the Houston Astros is just 5-feet-6-inches tall, the shortest in the entire league. But he does not let his height limit his performance, winning a league MVP, batting title and World Series in 2017. Altuve proves that any athlete, no matter their size, can be classified in the upper echelon of talent. An honorable mention for this one would be gymnast Simone Biles.

Captain Marvel is essentially the cheat code for the Avengers. She is an all-powerful, otherworldly talent, with seemingly no way of being stopped. Serena Williams has been ranked number one overall in the world for a total of 319 weeks — more than six years — since 2002, taking major titles in every division in tennis over the last two decades. She even won the Australian Open while she was pregnant. Williams is a cheat code in her sport. 

A player with a dedicated following, and a legion of haters. A player with strong motives and influence, but an affinity for self-worship. A player who consistently tries to preserve his own fleeting greatness, at the expense of the younger generation of athletes. LeBron James dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers before stabbing his hometown fans in the back and moving to play with the Los Angeles Lakers. In Los Angeles, he angered fans and teammates alike with his selfish performance, but what is left of his fan base is unruly in its loyalty. James is the Thanos of the NBA, and of all American sports superstars. 

So, does Thanos stand a chance against this cast of Avengers? Like in the cinematic Avengers, I would never want to spoil a good ending. I would say that nearly every great superhero movie has a happy ending, in this case depending on your definition of "happy."

T.J. Hitchings is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies, with a concentration in sports media. His column, “From the Nosebleeds,” runs on alternate Thursdays.

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T.J. Hitchings

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