“ESPN: The Magazine” puts female athletes front and center for its Body Issue

Being athletic never came naturally for me, but I have always appreciated women who excel in sports — specially their physique. The latest issue of ESPN: The Magazine understands this appreciation, and decided to share some seriously hot photos of scantily clad (or nor clad at all) athletes with us.

ESPN’s Body Issue hits stands Oct. 19, but four of the six cover options have already made rounds on the web. My personal favorite is the Serena Williams cover — a nude photo of the tennis star in a very strategic pose — to avoid the whole tape-over-nipple scenario, I’m sure.

This is ESPN‘s first Body Issue, and, rather than take the thong-on-a-beach approach à la Sports Illustrated, the magazine’s editorial staff had one rule: “Please no swimsuits,” NBA star Stephon Marbury told USA Today.

Instead of ladies in swimwear, ESPN opted for actual athletes, male and female, in nude and semi-nude photographs — tastefully done, of course. One of the women to grace the cover is mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, showing of her seriously stunning abs.

The magazine hasn’t released a full lineup of the issue yet, but we know Australian pro surfer Claire Bevilacqua made it inside, and the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gary Belsky said the athletes have been quite happy with how the photos turned out.

“They’re fine. They love their bodies. They trust us,” Belsky told USA Today. “If you look at our covers over the last year and a half, we had Candace Parker pregnant and Michael Crabtree on crutches … They trust us a lot, athletes. They trust the way we represent them.”

The magazine expects to field some complaints from more conservative readers about the issue, and it’s pretty impressive they made it work despite being owned by The Walt Disney Company, who Belsky said they were careful not to offend.

“It’s going to be kick-ass regardless,” he said. Considering what I’ve seen so far, I believe him.

More you may like