• Karin Abcarians

Marvelous Ballers Universe: Carmelo Anthony and Bucky Barnes

NBA players are superheroes to children and adults alike. Their incredible abilities astound us, just like the superheroes we've come to adore in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nearly every year, Marvel puts out a new comic book movie, whether it’s an Avengers film or a solo film for specific superheroes. Every NBA season, a new team is crowned champions (unless there's a repeat, or a dynasty in the making).

Marvelous Ballers Universe takes a look at different NBA players and compares them to a Marvel superhero. In what ways are they similar?

For this instalment of MBU, we are taking a look at Portland Trail Blazers superstar Carmelo Anthony and Bucky Barnes - better known as The Winter Soldier. Now you may ask, what could these two characters possibly have in common? Second chances.

For Carmelo Anthony, it was a frustrating road to playing at a serviceable level again. After his breakup with the New York Knicks, he went from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. Ultimately, after the Rockets stint, teams weren’t really wiling to take a chance on him being a productive playoff contributor.

Could Carmelo Anthony still be a mid- to high-level forward on any team in today's NBA? Perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers would pair him up with LeBron James? Or was the league finally pushing him away, essentially forcing his retirement?

Finally, the Portland Trail Blazers were the ones who made the gamble. They gave Carmelo the second chance he was praying for. While his statistical averages are a departure from the peaks of his past, he’s a steady member of Portland's starting five, and has provided veteran leadership to the locker room. He is exactly the offensive wing threat the team needed to make a push to the playoffs.

Now, back to the big screen: after losing Bucky years ago, Steve Rogers (Captain America) finds out he’s actually still alive and is, in fact, The Winter Soldier. Bucky was brainwashed into becoming a brutal sleeper assassin who could be triggered with a few specific words. Steve never gave up on his best friend, and did everything in his power to keep him safe, even though Bucky had made so many terrible mistakes.

Bucky needed a new start in life. A second chance. He needed to escape his Winter Soldier persona and start living his life as normally as he could. He fought alongside Steve and the Avengers and now he gets to explore the life he yearned for.

Both Carmelo and Bucky show us that second chances are a great thing. Giving someone a second chance can give them a new outlook on life. Bucky gets to continue life without being brainwashed into killing, and (on a much lighter note) Carmelo gets to continue playing the game he loves, while helping an experienced team compete for a playoff spot.