Marvel gives LeBron superhero treatment

LeBron JamesESPN.com illustration

A comic book fan, LeBron says it's "pretty cool" to be a superhero in an upcoming ESPN The Mag issue.

MIAMI -- After a whirlwind trip to China that resulted in some serious sleep deprivation, LeBron James hasn't gotten a chance to see the 15-page Marvel comic book insert in the upcoming ESPN The Magazine in which James is depicted as "King of the Rings."

But at the Heat's first practice since returning to Miami, James said he'll get to see his superhero self soon.

"I think it’s pretty cool," James said with a grin. "But I'll let you know if it’s cool after I read it."

Little-known fact: James was a big comic book fan as a kid. His favorite? Batman.

"I read most of all the Batmans growing up," James said. "A lot of Spiderman, a lot of Avengers. A lot of people would give me comic books throughout high school and grade school. They knew I liked to read them."

James wasn't involved in the production of the comic book, which is included in the Oct. 19 edition of The Mag, but one of his relatives sent him a copy over the weekend when it was published online.

"When I seen my cover I knew it was ESPN The Mag, I knew it was real," James said.

In the comic, James is portrayed as a superhero who tries to fulfill his famous promise to win "Not one, not two ..." titles (he eventually stopped at seven). Not just by playing, of course. This LeBron learns how to levitate, creates bionic legs, performs magic tricks to distract opponents, and clones himself enough times to fill out an NBA roster.

While James got the superhero treatment, teammate Shane Battier wasn't so lucky. Marvel decided to draw the 34-year-old forward as a brain-eating zombie. Mike Miller was depicted as a traction-wearing, walker-using teammate and Juwan Howard was seen as a grey-haired 43-year-old (flip to Page 8 to see it). Eddy Curry? A near-400-pound behemoth.

"It’s like what my wife said, as long as I’m not in a halo and a walker [like Miller]," Battier laughed. "'King of the Undead?' I can deal with that."