Loveness Explores the Roots of the Friendship Between Rocket & "Groot"
Tonight, basketball fans will be looking to New York City, where the NBA is hosting its annual All-Star Weekend. The traditional midpoint of the league’s season, the schedule of events includes everything from celebrity appearances to skills competitions to a “Rookie/Sophomore” game, all leading up to Sunday’s All-Star Game. But even for the most casual of NBA fans, one of the biggest draws of the weekend is the annual slam dunk contest.
While the throwdown sets some of the hottest players against each other in a “flash over fundamentals” battle, we’re doubting this weekend’s contest will push nerd buttons quite the same way the 2008-2009 rivalry run between Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson did, drawing as it did on Superman iconography for one of the most dastardly finishes in dunk history.
Bad news for fans of the BrooklyKnight: Grantland reports the Brooklyn Nets mascot won’t return next season, and is likely headed for mascot limbo. “We put a lot of effort into the BrooklyKnight,” the team said in a statement, “but we’ve decided to go in a different direction.”
The current mascot is the result of a 2012 consulting deal with Marvel, which designed a basketball-themed superhero in a metal mask and shield. As the BrooklyKnight’s Instagram shows, the Marvel connection continued to play a role in his appearances. In addition to photos of the mascot with Nets fans, there are shots of the “official superhero of the Brooklyn Nets” at New York Comic Con 2013, posing with cosplayers and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. convertible.
After suffering a broken nose, Miami Heat forward LeBron James returned to the court last week sporting a black protective mask some compared to those worn by Batman and Bane. However, it was hot and uncomfortable, leaving him in search for alternatives.
“I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time,” James told The Associated Press. “So we’ll see what happens.”
But on Friday, the NBA asked that he not wear the black mask — hey, even teammate Dwyane Wade conceded “it looks weird” — so James instead debuted a clear one in Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Greg Land had other ideas, however, designing a star-spangled option that Marvel tweeted on Tuesday was “in honor of last night’s super heroics” (James scored 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats as the heat won 124-107).
As Bleacher Report notes, “Land’s design pretty much sums up how James is playing lately.”
DC Comics put a quick end to the National Basketball Association’s plans to sell “Krypto-Nate” T-shirts commemorating the slam-dunk victory of Nate Robinson.
However, the New York Post reports, the NBA is trying come to an agreement with the comics publisher and parent company Warner Bros., which hold the rights to most everything Kryptonian.
“The NBA decided not to release the Krypto-Nate T-shirt because of future initiatives we are working on with Warner/DC Comics,” an NBA source told the newspaper.
Robinson, a New York Knicks point guard, beat Dwight “Superman” Howard in the Slam Dunk Contest held Feb. 14 during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Dubbing himself “Krypto-Nate,” the five-foot-nine-inch Robinson catapulted himself over the six-foot-11-inch, cape-wearing Howard.
Within two days of the win, the NBA launched plans to sell a green Knicks T-shirt bearing Robinson’s No. 4 and the words “Krypto-Nate.” A day later, those plans were scrapped. (The Post notes the NBA Store is close to the DC Comics offices.)
So with the Super Bowl settled some sports fans have moved on to other sports, such as following their favorite NBA team again. Or maybe they want to laugh about their least favorite basketball team. (Honestly, as an Atlanta native, I can say with great authority that for many years with the Hawks, all you could do is laugh . . . or cry). Why am I talking about sports at a comics blog? Well, this interview happens to focus upon the creators of the Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS) webcomic: Josh Frankel and Mark Haven Britt. As noted here: “Josh and Mark are the cartoonists responsible for the weekly NBA satire of Garbage Time All-Stars. Their comics first appear every week at the Yahoo! Sports Ball Don’t Lie blog, and are then archived here.” This week’s strip (posted on Wednesday morning) aims to welcome NFL fans back with a summary of the NBA season so far. Thanks to this interview, I now want to ask Tom Spurgeon if he thinks the 1979 addition of the three-pointer revitalized or ruined the game.
Tim O’Shea: How did the strip first come about?
Mark Haven Britt: Josh brought it up. He’s a huge NBA nerd. Even bigger than me. He knows the blogs, the sites and the community of NBA fandom. No one was really doing comics about the NBA and that he was sure that there was an audience for it. I thought it sounded like such fun. Josh is hilarious. I had to be a part of it so I weaseled my way into drawing it.
Josh Frankel: It’s true, I am an NBA nerd. I play fantasy basketball which requires total information gathering — stats, injury reports, local dispatches about coach moods — and it leads to long NBA rants in emails to friends. If I’m already doing all of that work I might as well try to get a comic out of it. Of my comics friends Mark is the guy I’ve always talked hoops with. It all fell into place.