Must-See: 23 Hot athletes featured in Body Issue 2017

The ninth annual Body Issue celebrates and showcases the athletic form. Its release will include photos, interviews and videos with some of the biggest names in sports.

Joining Elliott, Edelman and Baez is two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, San Jose Sharks teammates Brent Burnsand Joe Thornton, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and his wife, Julie Ertz, of the U.S. women’s soccer team, 2016 WNBA most valuable player Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

Also featured are Brianna Decker, Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Alex Rigsby of the U.S. women’s hockey team.

Other athletes include pro softball player A.J. Andrews, New Zealand All Blacks center Malakai Fekitoa, Olympic freestyle skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, Olympic bronze-medal-winning figure skater Ashley Wagner, MMA fighter Michelle Waterson, adaptive snowboarder/mountaineer and retired Marine Corps sergeant Kirstie Ennis, and four-time Olympic track and field medalist Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica, who is the first breast cancer survivor to appear in the issue.

Additional video content will appear all this week on SportsCenter. Photos, personal interviews and videos of all the Body Issue athletes will debut on ESPN.com on July 5, followed by the release of the magazine two days later.

Javier Baez on the art of the tag

World Series winner? Check. NLCS MVP? Check. World Baseball Classic silver medalist? Check, check, check. After quite a year (when’s the last time you won a title 108 years in the making?), Javier Baez decided to top it all off by posing for ESPN’s ninth edition of the Body Issue. Reporter Marly Rivera talked to the 24-year-old Baez about his unique physical gifts, the art of tagging and how he’s inspired by his Puerto Rican roots. Here’s Baez, in his own words:

“Almost no one knowsthis, but I’m a lefty.Being able to useboth hands helps mewith my tagging.”


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Photographs by Dylan Coulter Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

Julian Edelman on one-handed catches and his ‘very ugly feet’

He made the play of Super Bowl LI, a bobble-stopping grab of a tipped Tom Brady pass that propelled New England to an overtime victory. How does Julian Edelman top that? Try leaping through the air fully nude at his Body Issue photo shoot a few weeks later. Reporter Morty Ain caught up with the Patriots wide receiver to discuss all things body, including how he developed the focus — and grip strength — necessary to make that miracle play.

“I’d go in my dad’s roomcrying and be like, ‘Pops,when am I going to grow? I’m sick of being short.'”






Photographs by Peggy Sirota Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

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Ezekiel Elliott on crop tops and developing toughness

Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott was a hard guy to miss last year. When he wasn’t showing off his running skills — he rushed for a gaudy 1,631 yards and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season — he was showing off his abs in one of his famous — uh, infamous? — crop tops. So perhaps it’s no surprise that he chose to take some time during his offseason to show us even more by posing for the Body Issue. Reporter Morty Ain caught up with the 21-year-old Elliott (not an easy task) to talk about staying in shape, hurdling opponents and, yes, that midriff-baring style.

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Read full interview.

“Every time I steponto the field, I tryto out-physical myopponent. I wantthem to tap out bythe end of the game.”






Photographs by Kwaku Alston Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

Malakai Fekitoa on repping the All Blacks and beating the odds

If you watched Malakai Fekitoa help New Zealand to its 2015 Rugby World Cup title, or if you’ve seen his impressive play as a starter for the All Blacks, then it’s probably difficult for you to imagine there was a time when the Tongan star wasn’t sure he’d be able to walk again. For the 2017 edition of the Body Issue, Fekitoa talked to ESPN The Magazine‘s Morty Ain about his traumatic childhood injury, the pride of becoming an All Black and, yes, even his spearfishing skills.

Read full interview

“It could have been easyto just be lazy and say,‘I can’t play becauseof my leg.’ But insteadI did the opposite.”






Photographs by Benedict Evans Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

Gus Kenworthy on the toll of freeskiing — and learning to fall

“I think my mental edgecomes from me beingin the closet for somuch of my life.”

The last time Gus Kenworthy appeared in ESPN The Magazine was in 2015, when he announced to the world he was gay. Now Kenworthy is baring all again — this time literally — for the ninth annual Body Issue. Following his fearless photo shoot, the X Games icon spoke with Alyssa Roenigk about his newfound confidence, the toll freeskiing takes on his body and, yes, what it was like to land jumps in his birthday suit. Here’s Kenworthy, in his own words.

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Photographs by Benjamin Lowy Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

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Burns and Thornton share the secrets to beard maintenance

The Sharks’ bearded duo of Brent Burns and Joe Thornton joined elite company last season. Burns became the eighth defenseman in NHL history to tally multiple seasons with at least 25 goals, while Jumbo Joe, a 19-year veteran center, is just the 13th player to have 1,000 career assists. But their aspirations didn’t stop there! Following the Sharks’ season, Burns and Thornton — now a free agent — joined a different set of elite company by posing for the Body Issue … together. At the shoot, the (possibly-way-too-close) teammates overshared with reporter David Fleming about being in “hockey shape,” beard maintenance and their fear of needles.

“Joe is the mostcomfortable naked.Me? I just got back from10 days at Disney eatingfunnel cakes and icecream with my kids.”






Photographs by Ramona Rosales Behind the scenes by Eric Lutzens

Read full interview.


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