To my KSR Avengers fans out there: we’ve finally made it to Avengers week. Just a little over a year ago, Thanos snapped his fingers to wipe out half of all living things across the universe. This week, we’ll get to see our favorite heroes attempt to defeat Thanos in Avengers Endgame. Because it’s finally the week of the movie premiere, I started thinking… what Kentucky sports figures would be in the Avengers, and what superhero are they most like? Here is what I came up with.
Tony Stark – John Calipari
When people think of the Avengers, the first hero to come to mind is often Tony Stark – same with the University of Kentucky and Coach Cal. Both Cal and Stark are the faces of their franchises and both brought life back into their program. When the first Iron Man came out in 2008, Marvel hadn’t been putting out movies quite to the ability it was now; then it hit, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born. When Cal took over, he had to rebuild a Kentucky team left in shambles after the short Billy G era, and he made Kentucky cool again.
Coincidentally, both Stark and Coach Cal took over around the same time in 2008 and 2009. There are also a lot of similarities in their personalities: Tony Stark is a genius who changed the game with his first Iron Man suit, and it brought about a whole new generation of heroes. Similarly, Cal re-invented the game with the One and Done, and just like Stark, he is still evolving his craft, thanks to the recent infusion of grad-transfers.
With each guy having a swagger on level 1,000 and confidence through the roof, both guys are definitely considered “the man” to their respective franchises.
Spider-Man – Lynn Bowden
Who doesn’t love Spider-man? Who doesn’t love Lynn Bowden? I’m not going to lie – I believe this is the most dead-on comparison on this list. I mean, just look at the picture.
Just like Spider-Man, Bowden is an electrifying asset to his team. With his unbelievable quickness, elusiveness, and agility, Bowden posses the same athletic traits as Spider-Man. Not only is the athletic comparison dead on, but both of their personalities are lovable as well.
Spider-Man is the kid of the group. He’s known for his quirky remarks, and sometimes he says something and you can’t help but shake your head and crack a laugh. The same can be said when Lynn Bowden takes to Twitter, and no one ever knows what he’s going to say next. Plus, there was that time Lynn Bowden asked Coach Stoops during a KSR session if he could go in his office to play Xbox.
Both are great heroes who play huge roles already on their team, but both still have so much potential still. Just like I can’t wait to see Spidey on the big screen more, I can’t wait to see Lynn Bowden on the field more this season.
Thor – Abbey Cheek
Thor is known for his pure strength and ability to knock out anything with one swing of his hammer. The same can be said for UK softball’s all-time home run hitter Abbey Cheek.
Every time Cheek steps to the plate, you feel like the ball will leave the yard. The senior third baseman has made a career of destroying her opponents with one swift swing of the bat as she has helped lead the Cats host back to back Regionals en route to a Kentucky record of 57 career home runs and counting.
Thor is one of the most powerful Avengers, and it’s no question Abbey Chek is one of the most powerful Wildcats of all time.
Captain America – CJ Conrad
When one thinks of Captain America, they think of a leader. A guy with a huge heart and a lot of class, but who can still defeat his opponent. He is the penultimate captain, and for Kentucky, that is CJ Conrad. Captain America gets ribbed a little bit amongst the Avengers for being the respectful old man, but CJ Conrad is the same, in a way. With his fantastic philanthropy work off the field, his classy interviews and his respectfulness that all display his maturity, CJ Conrad is one of the most mindful people you will ever meet.
On the field, Captain America is known for his shield, despite his amazing athleticism and his ability to fight any opponent without it. Theoretically, the same can be said for CJ Conrad’s blocking ability. While he is a great receiving tight end, it seems as he got used in blocking schemes more than he did catching passes. Although, when he did get the ball thrown to him, something positive almost always happened for the Cats.
CJ Conrad is the ultimate captain.
Hulk – Josh Allen
Just like the Hulk, Josh Allen is a monster on the battlefield. You know where he is at all times, and he’s easily one of the most feared assets on any team he is on. He strikes fear into all his opponents. Just like the Hulk when assembling a team of heroes (athletes), Allen will be one of the first guys picked.
Off the field, Josh Allen turns from the Hulk into Bruce Banner. He is a stand-up guy who is driven to perfect his craft, just like Banner.
Not to mention his body transformation is reminiscent of Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.
Hawkeye – Zack Thompson
When you think of Hawkeye, you think of pinpoint accuracy and never missing his target. The same can be said for Zack Thompson. Thompson is one of the most dominant pitchers in all of college baseball right now, with a record of 3-1, an ERA 2.5 and 91 strikeouts this season. Zack Thompson has been vital, but – just like Hawkeye – it’s easy to overlook Thompson due to the team around him.
The only difference is Hawkeye gets outshined due to the amazing heroes around him, while it’s easy to forget about ZT if you’re not a UK fan due to the lack of success from the Bat Cats this season. Regardless, both Thompson and Hawkeye are deadeye marksmen who never miss their target.
Starlord – Benny Snell
To fans of The Guardians of the Galaxy, Starlord is one of the most respected heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (until he punched Thanos in the face), but to the rest of the universe, Starlord gets no respect. So much so that in the opening scene of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, he presented himself as Starlord and the one response he got was “who!?” But throughout the movie, Peter Quill made sure you knew his name, and Benny Snell is the same way. Proving doubters wrong since day one and having fun in the process.
With his fun-loving personality, fans love Starlord because even when he’s defeating his opponents, you can catch him dancing, singing and talking some major trash. That is completely reminiscent of the one and only Benny Snell. Snell loved playing to the fans when he played at Kentucky – he would find himself on the video board constantly, and he always knew when the camera was on him.
When your girl goes through your phone and finds nothing pic.twitter.com/qFw1AsTJMk
— Nøtdante** (@n0tdante) September 20, 2018
Rocket- Tyler Herro
Some of you may think this of a reach, but when you step back and think about it, these two are more alike than you realize. If you are unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy you may think of Rocket as “just a regular raccoon,” and for some people, they think Tyler Herro is “just another white guy who can shoot.” But in reality, they both bring so much more to the table. Just like Herro, Rocket thrives surrounded by enemies. We all watched how Tyler Herro performed on the road this season, and for Rocket, he was known for escaping out of 24 prisons, including in the second Guardians. Rocket helped break himself, Yondu and Baby Groot out of captivity.
Not only do they both thrive surrounded by enemies, but they both also love to shoot, despite bringing other qualities to the table while talking some trash in the process.
One final comparison for these two: in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, with time ticking down and his back against the wall, Rocket led his team to victory under pressure when he was able to blast out of prison. Very reminiscent of Tyler Herro draining that three-pointer to beat Houston.
Nick Fury – Vince Marrow
To the Avengers, Nick Fury is the ultimate recruiter. In one week while trying to engage his Avengers initiative, Nick Fury was able to recruit Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk to create the greatest superhero team ever assembled.
While Vince Marrow’s recruiting didn’t happen as quickly, helping the players go from a 2-10 dumpster fire to the best team in the history of the school in just five years is quite impressive. Without Fury, the world doesn’t see the Spider-man, the Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man team up. Without Marrow, Kentucky fans don’t get to see Benny Snell, Lynn Bowden and Josh Allen team up to conquer college football.
Do you agree with the comparisons? Who did I leave off?
Avengers: Endgame hits theatres Thursday Night.
Go Cats. Beat Thanos. @BrentW_KSR