Just like each player on the roster, each Marvel hero has their own specific set of skills, which enable them to transcend ordinary mortals. While The Avengers are the most notable characters, the Marvel universe consists of a plethora of heroes with some working on the outer limits of justice. The Celtics have their very own version of vigilante on their roster, one who breaks the rules to protect those around him, who never shies away from conflict when he deems it necessary.
In the Marvel universe, that character is The Punisher, Frank Castle, a former Navy-Marine who is incredibly well trained in the dark arts of combat. Castle boasts a short temper with outbursts of rage, coupled with the occasional wrong decision; there can be only one comparison here: Marcus Smart.
Smart, like Castle, is prone to moments of madness, from jumping into the stands in college to the big-time shove on Embiid last year. Smart disregards the rules when he feels an injustice has occurred and instead opts to serve his own form of punishment irrespective of penalties that may follow. With their very own version of The Punisher coming off the bench, the Celtics remain a fearsome proposition for those who stand in their way.
If Smart is the cavalry, then his job is to protect the generals, the ones tasked with leading the team to the promised land, those with God-like abilities.
Jayson Tatum is a rising star in the league, capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor, but when he catches you in transition, he is capable of soaring through the sky and throwing down the hammer. You see where I’m going with this, right? Tatum is the Celtic’s very own God Of Thunder, Thor, a mythological demi-god from Norse mythology who battled to save Asgard and the nine realms from dark forces within the universe.
Like Thor, Tatum is a young king, still learning what it takes to lead and how best to approach his newfound stature amongst his peers. Sure, Tatum is prone to mistakes, as any young king is. There are over dribbled plays, poorly selected long mid-range shots and the occasional sloppy pass. Like Thor, Tatum is learning on the fly, entering battle with more confidence every day, knowing that one day, the crown will belong to him.
Then there is Tatum’s partner in crime, Jaylen Brown, or T’Challa, otherwise known as Black Panther. Brown is a fierce competitor who is highly intelligent both on and off the court; he displays a calm demeanor when attacking the basket while continually improving every aspect of his game. T’Challa approaches life the same way. Intelligence reigns supreme in Wakanda, as they utilize technology not found elsewhere on planet earth. He’s a strong leader but also displays a willingness to work as a team when Thanos begins his tyranny over Earth.
T’Chillia is a formidable opponent, capable of going toe-to-toe with any hero within the Marvel universe, and Brown’s cut from a similar cloth. Brown became an assassin that attacks the defense within the flow of the game this season, lulling defenses into a false sense of security before plunging a dagger into them with vicious precision. Black Panther utilizes a high tech suit to protect him from incoming damage, much like other members of the Marvel universe, but the suit which reigns supreme does not belong to T’Chila, it belongs to Tony Stark.
Gordon Hayward deserves the title of Iron Man for the Boston Celtics, recovering from a career-threatening injury similar to how Tony Stark recovered from shrapnel to the heart. The comparison doesn’t stop there either; Tony is a genius in the field of physics while Hayward is elite in terms of basketball IQ.
Just like the Iron Man suit of armor, Hayward is multi-faceted on the basketball court. A ferocious scorer, maverick passer, and decent rebounder, the layers to Hayward’s game draw similarities to the hidden weapons at Tony Stark’s disposal. Does anyone remember when he called all those suits to his aid? Hayward, like Tony, holds the team together, he’s the metronome that keeps everyone else on beat.
Remaining on the subject of suits, another player on the roster comes to mind. This time it’s Kemba Walker baring resemblance to Scott Lang, or as most people would know him: Ant-Man. Kemba is a smaller than average point-guard who packs a scoring punch whenever he touches the hardwood.
Scott Lang was capable of shrinking down to the size of an ant whenever he put on his suit, and while Kemba is hopefully not shrinking any time soon, his impact is reminiscent of a head soldier ant. Similar to the Avengers movie, having a player such as Kemba (or a hero like Ant-Man) can stack the deck for your team.
For the six and final spot, the Boston Celtics boast Daniel Theis, a European import who has grown in stature each passing year, one who stacks the deck in Boston’s favor with every seal down low.
Due to Theis’s poker face, his most reasonable likeness is from a hero long ago forgotten, one who’s last major appearance on TV was the animated version of the X-Men back in the late 1990’s. Have you guessed it yet? Daniel Theis is Gambit. The fit is seamless! The accent, the aloofness when on the floor, it all makes sense.
Like Gambit, Theis is underappreciated outside of his team. Gambit was never anyone’s favorite X-Man, even though he regularly was involved in some of the toughest assignments, and Theis has a similar mountain of his own to climb. Outside of Boston, Theis has slowly been earning some recognition for his play on the floor, yet he still hasn’t set the world alight.
That’s Boston’s six superheroes. They may not be saving the world or even saving lives, but right now, we miss them wholeheartedly, which makes this sentiment more accurate than ever before: not all heroes wear capes. No, capes are for comics, but our heroes wear green.