Project Defense Day 8: Bobcat

Bobcat

You can say our next character is the courageous catlike Bobcat!

ORIGIN: Bobcat (realname: Addie Morrison) is a mutant whose body changed into an orange catlike humanoid while in college. Inspired by the other heroes, she’s decided to use her new found feline powers to protect her home city of Charlotte.

POWERS:  Superhuman agility and tracking…retractable claws in her feet and hands…enhanced tracking senses….

OTHER:  I kind of envisioned her to be a more friendly version of Feral. Her name is a reference to former Charlotte Bobcats draft pick Adam Morrison, who had a very successful college basketball career and now tears up the court for the KK Crvena Zvezda team in Serbia.

Project Defense Day 9: Unseld the Wizard

Wizard

Our next hero keeps the Beltway safe at all times, Unseld the Wizard!

ORIGIN: Unseld is a fairly pleasant wizard during the time of King David the Brave, who by accident transported himself into modern Washington DC. He uses his magical powers to help people in the DC area.

POWERS:  Unseld knows a variety of magical spells, pretty much allowing him to do whatever he wants. However, in hand-to-hand combat he is particularly vulnerable.

OTHER: Unseld is a reference to Washington Bullets great Wes Unseld.

Project Defense Day 8: Heat

heat

Our next hero is literally the hottest hero on Miami’s South Beach, the Heat!

ORIGIN: Little is known about the Heat, even to himself! He’s an amnesiac alien from Mercury who crash landed in Miami. He does remember that back on his home that he was a policeman of some sort, so he has allied himself with the city to protect it.

POWERS:  Heat gets his name from his abnormally  hot body temperature. He can channel it around himself as a force field for protection or flight. Based on the higher gravity of Mercury, his body is extremely dense which gives him super strength. He’s a master of an alien form of combat as well.

OTHER:  In case you couldn’t figure it out, he’s kind of like the Martian Manhunter of Miami.

Project Defense Day 6: The Hawk

The Hawk

Our next hero is the winged protector of Atlanta, the Hawk!

ORIGIN: Leonard Turner is a billionaire playboy by day but protects the city of Atlanta by night as the Hawk. Think like Batman, Green Arrow, Iron Man etc. Just a rich dude who wants to use his powers for good.

POWERS:  They would tell you, but then they’d have to kill you. They can take care of themselves and the city just fine.

OTHER:  Leonard is a nod to former coach/player Lenny Wilkins, and Turner is the surname of former owner Ted Turner. The color scheme is taken from their really awesome mid 1970s uniforms that the Atlanta Hawks sported.

Project Defense Day 4 and 5: Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz

Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz

Our next two heroes are a team that guard the New York New Jersey area, Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz!

ORIGIN:  Bakker and Netz are two government black ops agents who have set their sites on New York City. After getting the green light from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the duo went ahead with their plan to serve as the areas top paramilitary agents, keeping the area safe.

POWERS:  They would tell you, but then they’d have to kill you. They can take care of themselves and the city just fine.

OTHER:  Why a duo? Because both teams play in NYC. Why the silly names? Because there is nothing you can do with the theme of a super hero being a pair of shorts or a net. This was the best that I could come up with.

Project Defense Day 4: The Spirit of 1776

The Spirit of 1776

Keeping Philadelphia safe from super villains, criminals and even irate sports fans, its  the Spirit of 1776!

ORIGIN: Historian Julius Dawkins was examining the Liberty Bell and was struck by lightning. After recovering, he noticed that he noticed that he was stronger and faster then before. Strongly influenced by his love of the American Revolution, Julius created a comic book and set out to keep his city safe.

POWERS:  Spirit has above average strength and speed. He is also extremely dangerous in hand-to-hand combat, as he is a highly ranked mixed martial arts practitioner. His costume is made of bullet and fire proof material.

OTHER:  Coming up with this character was a little difficult, especially since my first impulse was to do some Agent 76 type Nick Fury character. Instead, I decided to make his appearance over the top and go with a more Golden Age styled character. His name is a bit of a tribute to the Julius Erving/Darryl Dawkins squad in the early 1980s.

Project Defense Day 2: Raptor

RaptorOur next hero is the courageous creature from the cretaceous age who protects the greater Toronto area from criminals, Raptor!

ORIGIN:  An alien expedition to Earth during the dinosaur age lead to a series of experiments that caused a small velociraptor, leaving the creature highly advanced. An exploration to the north left the creature frozen and in suspended animation for nearly 200 million years. The creature was found in an iceberg and taken to the University of Toronto’s zoology department in a block of ice. Much to everyone’s shock, the dinosaur was still alive. Naming himself Raptor after what the scientists called his species, he was able to communicate verbally to them and is trying to adapt to being a humanoid dinosaur in 2011. He lives and works at the University of Toronto, helping explain what the dinosaur age was really like. Raptor considers himself a scientist of sorts as well, often venturing out into the city.

POWERS:  Raptor has strength, speed and agility that exceed anything possible of a human. He has heightened tracking, vision, scent and hearing abilities. As a show of goodwill to his human coworkers, he has become a vegetarian.

OTHER:  Seriously, what other hero would it be than some sort of dinosaur? The red anthropomorphic dinosaur wasn’t intentionally inspired by Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur, but the trunks were. I love how so many of Kirby’s monsters wore shorts–whether they wanted to or not, and I would assume that Raptor would be modest in that regard.

Project Defense Day 1: Celtic


The Celtic

The first hero in the Defense Project is none other than Boston’s very own emerald guardian, Fergal the Celtic Warrior!

ORIGIN:  Sometime long ago in the middle ages, Fergal was born the son of the local priest and the goddess wife of Taranis (a Celtic/Gaul version of Zeus). Knowing the child would be harmed by Taranis, the child was left at an orphanage. Never aging, Fergal’s true age is unknown but assumed to be in the 800s. Fergal has spent his life as a professional adventurer, traveling the globe. In the early 1950s, he lost a bet where he was forced to emigrate to the United States, never to return. He has settled in Boston, where he is a local celebrity and self appointed guardian of the city.

POWERS:  The son of a god, Fergal has superhuman strength, endurance, stamina and durability. Having served in armies worldwide through history, he’s a master strategist and hand to hand combatant. His weapon of choice is a shalalie that he forged in a volcano off the coast of Iceland.

OTHER:  Developing Fergal was hard, as visually he kept winding up like a ripoff of WWE’s resident Irish brawler. Story wise giving him an origin similar to Marvel’s Hercules only made sense.

What is Project Defense?

Project Defense LogoWhat is Project Defense? Glad you asked

Remember last year when the NHL had the Guardian Project, where Stan Lee’s POW Entertainment came up with super hero concepts based on hockey teams? I always thought that was a fun idea, and some of the characters that came out of it were

The NBA had a similar marketing gimmick for a feature in ESPN Magazine, where each team’s preview featured a Marcel Comics themed cover. As equal parts basketball dork and comics geek, I thought this was awesome. Don’t believe me? Check out the awesome Carlos Boozer-as-Red Hulk cover.

So anyway, with the NBA lockout continuing on and me missing basketball more and more each day, I’ve decided to start my own sports/super hero mash-up called Project Defense. I’m going to come up with 30 super heroes themed after the 30 franchises in the NBA.

Am I crazy?

Yes.

Stay tuned. Starting tomorrow, expect to see one new NBA hero every day during lunch time. Villains be ware!

 

 

The Mighty Thor–or LeBron

Lebron as Thor

In watching the post-NBA Finals landscape, the big topic isn’t necessarily the impending lockout or even the greatness of Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. The discussion is instead dominated by LeBron James.

For many sports fans, mocking LeBron’s lack of a championship is cathartic. It’s payback for the never-ending free agency speculation, the Decision primetime special, the un-likability of the current Miami Heat roster, and even the seemingly overexposed media presence he’s had over the last decade.

Not to mention, he hasn’t seemed to gracious in defeat.

More than anything, at this point LeBron in his career, he parallels a super hero. LeBron is Thor.

Why?

These two larger-then-life figures have more in common than you would think.

Look at their lives. They have both always been viewed as the heir apparent, whether it is to become the face of basketball or the king of Asgard. They’re both unbelievably good at what they do, and because of that, they have the ego to match.

When the Heat’s big three joined forces, it was clear that LeBron would be the most scrutinized—and had the most to lose if they did not win a championship. Dwayne Wade already had one from 2006, establishing his legacy and claim of greatness. Chris Bosh was just lucky to be in the situation.

If you continue this Avengers metaphor, Bosh is totally the Ant Man of the Heat. He’s just there. He helps out when called upon, but doesn’t dominate the team. Occasionally, he has his big moment, but he’s just a supporting character.

As LeBron’s legend grew, he had his victories and his defeats. He—deservedly—is a two time MVP. In 2007, he led a Cavaliers team to the Finals due to his sheer will. Ultimately, that team, like the Heat lost. Unlike Thor, LeBron James is human. There is only so much he can do.

Clearly, LeBron takes this all too seriously. His frustration is evident. He wants to win so bad he was willing to leave his home, where he was viewed like a god.

His competitiveness has made his somewhat bitter, as he’s lashed out in the media with certain foolishness.

Remember this quote from when the Cavaliers were eliminated in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals?

“It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them, I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them. … I’m a competitor. That’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand.”

It takes a real man—a real leader—to know that accepting your defeat is not a sign of weakness.

This next bit of arrogance came out again just a few days ago.

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Again, he doesn’t show strong character in defeat. He still hasn’t learned.

LeBron is at a crossroads, just like Thor.

For brevity’s sake, we’ll simplify his story as it was shown in the movie this summer. Thor is brash and cocky. To teach him the lessons of humility, Odin strips his son of his powers and banishes him to earth. Thor can only reclaim his position of celestial nobility once he was able to overcome his hubris.

Losing the NBA Finals and his subsequent reaction has put LeBron in this situation. He’s been vilified and his integrity has been doubted. If he wants to return to being viewed as the beloved superstar he was just a little over a year ago, he has to swallow his pride and show that he can take his criticism in stride.

Like Thor, LeBron has to admit his shortcomings. He has to acknowledge that if his team can’t do it, that he has to figuratively—and literally—carry them. He has to step up and become a leader, one that inspires and have a strong sense of nobility. Be more Steve Nash then Stephon Marbury. Be more Thor then Loki

When he regains his humility, only then will LeBron be able to wield Mjolnir. Or in his case, become a deserving NBA champion.