The Justice League of America is the DC Universe’s version of an all-star team. It contains the best of the best, the most recognizable and most impressive superheroes that DC has conceived. Most of the names are familiar to everyone, not just comic book fans – it contains the most recognizable superheroes, the best of the best. Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter… they all work together as a super team.
The Justice League is a lot like a professional sports team, in a way. All the members of the League are incredible in their own way, regardless of what their powers are. They have honed and developed their skills over the years – or learned how to harness their superhuman abilities – and are very good individually. Together, however, they’re even better, as their skills complement one another and they become a truly unstoppable force.
Since it’s been around for quite some time, let’s stop to think – if everyone’s old favorites on the Justice League, such as Batman and Superman, retired, who might be recruited to take their place? While professional athletes may not have superhuman powers, many of them are genetically gifted to begin with. They spend countless hours training to take their natural abilities to the next level. If they were to assemble a new Justice League from the athletes out there, here’s ten individuals who might make the cut.
10 Superman – Wayne Gretzky
Superman is quite possible the original super hero, the one all subsequent superheroes are compared to. Born on Krypton, Superman/Clark Kent gets his superhuman powers before he is taken to earth to be raised by a human family. He’s a fairly well-rounded hero whose powers include things such as flight, incredible strength, speed, super-intelligence, x-ray or telescopic vision, and many more. So who would take his place? Though the physical depiction of Superman suggests it should be an ultra-sculpted athlete, Superman’s notorious moral compass and versatile powers leads to a less obvious comparison – the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. A shy and unassuming Canadian youth who rocketed into fame and stunned countless observers with his incredible skill. His passing and ability to analyze other players on the ice almost suggest some kind of superhuman vision. He holds countless superhuman records in the NHL and has gone down in history as The Great One.
9 Batman – Derek Jeter
Batman doesn’t have any particular super powers, as he’s just a very rich and charitable citizen who dons his costume and helps fight crime in Gotham City. The billionaire Bruce Wayne is also not too shabby with the ladies. For Batman’s athletic counterpart, we need look no further than former New York Yankee Derek Jeter. Over the course of his career, Jeter reached celebrity status and those star Yankee paychecks were pretty astronomical. He’s also been seen in the company of an endless string of gorgeous women, many of them Hollywood actresses or models. He’s also fairly charitable, having established his Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. However, despite his star status, Jeter hasn’t really been a tabloid staple – he keeps his private life fairly private.
8 Wonder Woman - Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Wonder Woman is a warrior princess who comes from the Amazons, who are notorious female warriors. She is an intimidating fighter who has incredible skills in combat, and has a trusty arsenal of weapons that include indestructible bracelets, the Lasso of Truth, and an invisible airplane. Who could possible fill those boots? Jackie Joyner-Kersee. While Joyner-Kersee may not be a household name, she’s an incredible athlete who Sports Illustrated named the “Greatest Female Athlete” of the 20th Century. She competed in the heptathlon and long jump – while it’s not quite the same as a battle, it takes an almost superhuman amount of skill to master not one but seven separate events.
7 The Flash – Usain Bolt
Barry Allen, better known as The Flash, is known for his superhuman speed and reflexes. What athlete could possible compare to The Fastest Man Alive? Someone who is pretty fast himself, Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter became famous during the Olympics when he won countless medals and even won the designation as the first man to win a whopping six Olympic gold medals in the sport of sprinting. Plus, the Flash is known for the lightning bolt incorporated into his costume, and Usain Bolt is nicknamed Lightning Bolt – it’s a match made in heaven.
6 Green Lantern – Roger Federer
Green Lantern, also known as Hal Jordan, fights evil with the help of a ring that gives him superhuman powers. He works for the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar law enforcement agency. Suffice to say, he’s perhaps most known for being a good guy who isn’t afraid to challenge evil. What athlete would be able to hold the notorious lantern? None other than Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer. Federer has absolutely dominated in his sport, winning countless titles over the course of his career with no sign of slowing down. Unlike many athletes who spend foolishly and present less than positive images to the tabloids, Federer has remained known for his grace and dignity. Like Lantern vs. evil, Federer’s had his fair share of foes – Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, to name a few, and he frequently manages to come out on top and still be a good sport.
5 5. Aquaman - Michael Phelps
Aquaman is known for, as one might guess, his aquatic skills. First of all, his physiology is remarkable due to his time in the water, and he has superhuman levels of endurance, agility, strength, and more. He is also completely at home in the water, possessing a marine telepathy that allows him to affect sea life. He also has incredible speed in the water. When one thinks of athletes defined by their mastery of the water, the first one that comes to mind is Michael Phelps. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time and has won countless medals for his swimming. While he may have been raised on land, many have commented that certain aspects of his physiology enhance his swimming abilities, such as his long wingspan, double jointed ankles, and disproportionately long torso.
4 Green Arrow – Tom Brady
Oliver Queen, or Green Arrow, is a billionaire businessman who is notorious in the town of Star City. His power comes from his ability with projectiles, and his trick arrows contain several different functions for different situations, such as explosive-tips, grappling hooks, tear gas and even kryptonite. What athlete combines billionaire celebrity status with an arrow of an arm? New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady is a magazine regular, featured as much for his fashion sense and good looks as for his athletic ability. While he may not use arrows in the literal sense, his arm may as well be delivering arrows as he shoots the football perfectly to whoever he’s aiming for. Though he’s growing older, he shows no signs of approaching retirement as his passes remain as razor sharp as ever.
3 Ice – Tara Lipinski
Ice, or Tora Olafsdotter, has mastery over the element she is named after and her superpower is the ability to create and manipulate ice. She is also known for her somewhat naïve and wholesome nature, traits that are amplified in comparison to her friend Fire. For someone who learnt to manipulate ice at a masterful level at a very young age, one need only turn to Tara Lipinski. Lipinski’s fresh-faced charm endeared her to the world when she began competing at a very young age. After winning a World Champion title before the age of 15, and winning the ladies’ singles Olympic gold at the age of 15, it quickly became obvious that she had some fairly superhuman abilities on the ice.
2 Cyborg – Calvin Johnson
Victor Stone, better known as Cyborg, is known for his incredible strength, durability, intelligence, and skill in combat. His body is essentially a well-oiled machine. Who might take the place of this half-man, half-machine? Someone who has earned his own robotic nickname – Calvin Johnson, affectionately referred to as Megatron. Johnson signed one of the largest sports contracts ever in 2012, inking a $113 million extension with the Detroit Lions. While unlike Cyborg, Johnson may be all man, his size, hands, speed, strength, and ability all mix into a lethal combination that makes him seem almost indestructible on the field.
1 Martian Manhunter – Michael Jordan
Martian Manhunter, born on Mars and brought to earth in an accident, has an endless list of super skills. His abilities include super speed, super strength, flight, telepathy, shape-shifting, and invulnerability. When looking at athletes that are all-round threats, Michael Jordan comes to mind. Jordan was consistently amazing throughout his career. He won two Olympic gold medals, six NBA titles, five MVP awards, and countless other accolades. His leap was almost superhuman, his agility was off the charts, and he darted around the court like nobody’s business. Many also argue that, had he not chosen to go with basketball, he could have achieved professional athlete status in a variety of other sports, from baseball to track. When considering a superhero with a seemingly never ending list of skills, Jordan seems a good comparison.