There might have been no stopping LeBron Thursday night against the Knicks, but there was definitely no stopping the outpouring of social media posts fixated on the mask. It was as if the world was bearing witness to a new Marvel character the moment James donned the protective accessory on the floor at American Airlines arena.
The overwhelming reception the mask received is no surprise considering his stature, but it's interesting to look at the possible symbolism surrounding these tweets. It seems that he and his mask are either the makings of a superhero or villain depending on who you ask. ESPN embraced the Bruce Wayne narrative:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 28, 2014
The Batman comparison also really seemed to resonate with teammate Chris Bosh. Not only did Bosh remark, "he played like Batman" after the Heat's 108-82 smothering of the Knicks, but he posted this on Instagram:
Meanwhile, others felt a little scared about the whole look:
— For The Win (@forthewin) February 28, 2014
And, in a complete contrast to Batman, many compared the look to Bane, the most-recent villain in The Dark Knight franchise:
LeBron James went with black, full face mask that is psuedo nod to Bane. I guess. http://t.co/dJnotVxvrQ
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) February 28, 2014
Then of course there were some comparisons that had nothing to do with comic book villains:
When they finally reveal the bad guy on True Detective, he’ll probably be wearing LeBron’s mask. http://t.co/U4H1JiXtH9
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) February 28, 2014
Down but not out
Tim Thomas came very close to blooper territory against the Washington Capitals Thursday night, but the Florida Panthers netminder turned in one of the week's best highlights instead. When Caps defenseman Mike Green was released from the penalty box in time to grab the puck for an uncontested breakaway, Thomas started to back into his net but lost his footing. He fell onto his rear end, exposing nearly all of the goal, but somehow made an incredible glove save on Green.