While this year's Body Issue from ESPN the Magazine probably won't generate the buzz created from last year's inclusion of Hope Solo, there are certainly some intriguing names to get excited about this year.
In the star department, there is Jose Bautista, Maurice Jones-Drew, Abby Wambach, Brad Richards and Carmelita Jeter. Oh, and let's not forget Tyson Chandler's, um, interesting cover shot.
But those aren't the most intriguing athletes in this year's edition. Well, at least not for me. I can't speak for the ladies, after all. Below you'll find the athletes I'm curious to see in the issue.
I could probably just write, "she's a tall, gorgeous tennis player" and that would be enough for the fellas.
So that's all I'll write.
I kid, I kid. Hantuchova is currently the 33rd-ranked player on the WTA tour that was ranked as high as fifth in the world in 2003. And did I mention she's a tall, gorgeous tennis player?
Here's the deal—Rousey is the world's most dangerous female MMA fighter, and while she is fully capable of snapping your arm with her famous armbar, she's also pretty darn easy on the eyes.
If you like your ladies a little dangerous—or in Rousey's case, extremely dangerous if you ever find yourself in an octagon with her—you won't want to miss this issue.
Gronk is a pretty funny guy. He's the sort of fellow you imagine would fit right in with your boys, sloshing back brews and playing Madden while he tells dirty jokes.
So I'm hoping ESPN doesn't take his inclusion into the issue too seriously and instead has some fun with it. You can't tell me you wouldn't laugh if they had Gronkowski reenact the "We're going streaking!" scene from Old School, or something of that nature.
And if he Tebowed for the shot, I think I'd lose it. There's potential here given Gronk's personality—don't get too high-minded and artistic on us, ESPN.
The last time Parker was included in the Body Issue, she made the cover and was pregnant. Now she returns after working her body back into shape after pregnancy, a big reason why she chose to do this issue.
She said as much to ESPN's Morty Ain during an interview for the edition:
I thought it would be fun and a great opportunity—especially since last time I was on the cover, I was pregnant. It's nice to see the body transform. I hope I can send a message that if you work hard, you can come back just as good as before.
That message is a strong one for women as well, as Parker noted:
This is cliché, but I think it's truly special to have a child and to continue to do all things men can do. My coach used to joke, "Can you imagine Magic Johnson being out with a baby? Or LeBron missing a season to have a child and then coming back as strong?" I feel it makes women strong that we are able to play sports but also create and bring life into the world.
Parker is a naturally beautiful woman, and it's an interesting story to add that she's trained to get back in peak, physical condition. It's something us guys take for granted, but for female athletes who also want to be mothers, it's a struggle to return to form and take such a leave of absence.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets dominate like the Williams sisters at Wimbledon.