ESPN and Marvel are teaming up for a Marvel-inspired special edition NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans that will feature an “Avengers”-themed storyline.
Per ESPN, the telecast will “integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.”
Dubbed “NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes,” the special edition game will be broadcast May 3 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes, with the traditional game telecast on ESPN.
Here’s the “Avengers”-themed plot of the special edition game: “After a narrow victory over an invading alien army, the Avengers receive an ominous threat from the enemy who vows to return in greater numbers and force. The Black Panther and Iron Man quickly realize they will need more help and form a plan to expand their ranks to fight this impending threat. Recognizing the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.”
Those players include the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, and the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, all of whom will be collecting “Marvel Hero” points during the game.
One point will be awarded for every point, rebound, assist, steal and block, and one will be deducted for every missed field goal, free throw or turnover. At the end of the game, the player with the most Marvel Hero points on the winning team will be crowned as Marvel’s first “Champion.”
ESPN commentators Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson will provide commentary in a fully customized Marvel-themed studio at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus. Additionally, the special presentation will include commentary and analysis from Marvel expert Angélique Roché.
See the promotional art for the special edition game below.