Kobe Bryant wields the Infinity Gauntlet. Lebron James dumps his Cavaliers jersey into the trash and walks away ala Spider-Man. These aren't fantastic and highly unlikely scenarios, they're promotional images from Marvel and ESPN's new collaborations for the October 22 issue of "ESPN: The Magazine." The alliance, previously mentioned on ComicsAlliance, has released the first two promotional image made to hype the upcoming NBA season.

The 2010-2011 NBA season kicks off on October 26th with the Boston Celtics playing what has become the NBA equivalent of the Avengers, the Miami Heat. Lebron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers in a public relations disaster this Summer to join The Heat, is featured in the first ESPN / Marvel picture.

The image of Lebron walking away from his Cavs jersey is modeled after the scene from Spider-Man 2 or, for those of you who have been reading comics for way longer than that, from Spider-Man #50's "Spider-Man No More."

The second image features Kobe Bryant, wielding a glove very similar to Thanos's Infinity Gauntlet. On the glove in the image are five rings representing the five NBA Championships Bryant won with The Lakers in 2000,2001,2002, 2009, and 2010. Whether or not Mandarin would have been a better representation for Kobe is debatable.

ESPN and Marvel are corporate siblings as they are both owned by Disney. In 1996, the Walt Disney Company purchased ABC and a majority ownership stake in ESPN totaling over 80%. The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel on December 31st of 2009. Although much Internet discussion has centered on a potential Marvel and Pixar team-up, the idea of teaming Marvel with ESPN has gone mostly under the radar.

The two images will be joined by scads more to make 30 in all promoting the new season. Are there any stars you'd like to see mashed up in the mighty Marvel manner?


[Via ProBasketballTalk]