ESPN Goes the MCU Route With an Epic Marvel Studios Intro for NBA Opening Night

ESPN is celebrating the start of the NBA season with a video montage borrowed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The NBA season may have kicked off on Tuesday night, but ESPN's first doubleheader of the season begins Wednesday evening. ESPN is under the Disney umbrella with Marvel Studios, meaning there can be some synergy and marketing opportunities between the two companies. The latest example of a crossover comes with the signature Marvel Studios intro video. It typically features several of the key heroes in the MCU like Iron Man and Captain America, but ESPN has replaced those characters with the NBA's brightest superstars.

"NBA FANS, ASSEMBLE!!" a tweet from the official ESPN Twitter account reads. The attached 33-second video includes the iconic MCU opening theme music as images of players like Anthony Davis, De'Aaron Fox, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Cade Cunningham, and more flash across the screen. The lasting image features NBA champions LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpoo, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry, along with Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, and Luka Doncic. Highlights from the 2021-2022 NBA season are also displayed, with the video ending with the "NBA on ESPN" logo.

Is Sasha Baron Cohen Joining the MCU?

The latest casting buzz making its way around the rumor mill is that Sasha Baron Cohen has been secretly cast as Mephisto for Marvel's Ironheart series. Earlier this month, rumors began circulating in the usual circles of Cohen's involvement in Ironheart, with some suggesting he's playing Marvel's version of the Devil. Now, a new report from Deadline suggests there has been chatter on the set of the Disney+ series about the casting, and possible stepping into the role of the iconic Marvel villain.

"A source close to the production confirmed to Deadline that there has been talk on the set about Cohen being part of Ironheart, possibly playing Mephisto," the trade reports. Mephisto became a household name amongst MCU fans in the earliest days of the studio's offerings on Disney+, becoming a meme as fans speculated whether or not he'd make his live-action debut in WandaVision.

What Is the Next Marvel Studios Release?

With the conclusion of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be the next release from Marvel Studios. Premiering November 11th, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever features the MCU introduction of Namor the Sub-Mariner, whose kingdom of Talocan will go to war with Wakanda.

The movie will also honor the life of Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died of colon cancer in 2020. Marvel Studios chose not to recast the role of T'Challa, and the characters in Black Panther 2 will mourn their fallen king, who we find out is also dead in the film.

Let us know your thoughts on the NBA on ESPN MCU montage in the comments.