Most people aren't born with an exquisite sense for style and fashion, which explains why Jamz, Hawaiian shirts and jorts have stubbornly refused to go away. Unfortunately, it takes years of self-loathing and style fails to ensure that the average person walks out the door with a presentable appearance.
For athletes—who occupy a space in the same universe that Hollywood actors and other celebrities call home—the limelight can be especially harsh when things go wrong in the style department. So, there's no better incentive for a fashion makeover than seeing yourself on the New York Post's back page.
Whether an athlete bursts onto the scene via a draft, a breakout performance, or for marrying a Kardashian, they will probably have some style learning curve. Money, prestige, a hot boy- or girlfriend; these celebrity fringe benefits are scarily efficient when it comes to bringing the newly anointed up to speed.
Let's take a virtual tour of athlete "before and after" pictures.
Timberwolves big man Kevin Love has been rocking a beard throughout most of his NBA career. Probably because he looks like the tallest kid in junior high without one!
Definitely a good move on Love's part to grow that out, because in 2007, he may have been the least intimidating athlete on the planet.
U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo used to keep it much more casual, even on the red carpet, just two years ago. Then came Dancing With The Stars, an Olympic gold medal and the release of her memoirs.
Solo's style has definitely followed the trajectory of her rising fame. Today, she's a red-carpet regular who keeps it anything but casual.
Yankees star Derek Jeter has long been considered one of the more stylish professional athletes. He's dated his share of stunning actresses, so he can pull it together when he needs to.
That being said, The Jeet has only really got his flawless self together in recent years. The late '90s and early 2000s were a mishmash of Miami Vice suits, bad sunglasses and oddly shaped haircuts.
Lakers point guard Steve Nash has been known to transform his look almost every year, in one way or another. His hair has been an ever-changing art project, with some looks being much more successful than others.
Maybe it was the move to Los Angeles in 2012, but Nash seems to have found a look that really suits him. So…at least something is working for the Lakers this year.
It looks like Nationals superstar Bryce Harper wasn't going to just rest on his laurels this past offseason, content with his rookie accomplishments. Instead, he focused on bulking up for the 2013 season and showed up to spring training looking like this.
Either that, or some guy ate Bryce Harper and is now masquerading as a much larger version of him. Supposedly he only gained 20 pounds, but it looks like he gained 20 pounds in his face.
Much like her teammate Hope Solo, U.S. women's soccer star Alex Morgan has been rocking a substantially more glamorous look since her star began rising in 2011.
Probably because she's got a lot more events to dress up for. Morgan's been a fixture on the red carpet in the last year and has become a magnet for endorsement deals.
You forgot Andrew Bynum used to look like that—didn't you?
Back in his early days with the Lakers, Bynum kept his look pretty simple. He had other things on his mind at the time—like playing basketball and stuff.
But after Bynum failed to show up in the 2012 playoffs, he was shipped off to the 76ers during the offseason and hasn't played ever since. That's given him a lot of time to come up with increasingly weirdo haircuts. And boy, has he ever succeeded.
There may be no athlete ever who has overhauled his entire look more drastically, and more often, than soccer stud David Beckham. He seems to completely transform himself every two years or so.
Although some looks have been more successful than others, there isn't really much that doesn't work for Beckham. The perks of being one of the most gorgeous human beings on earth.
Early in his career, Giants quarterback Eli Manning took an awful lot of flack for what seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm for the game. But the questions surrounding him were as much about his look, and the way he carried himself, than anything he did on the field.
Two Super Bowls later, and Manning has finally traded in his sloppy oversized wardrobe and shaggy mop-top for a tailed suit and a sleek new 'do. He finally looks like a quarterback, and a leader, which may have been the problem all along.
Outfielder Jayson Werth has really transformed his look in a relatively short period of time. Just two years ago he was playing for the Phillies, was getting haircuts on the regular, and rocking what can only be described as a soul strip.
It's not a goatee. It's not a soul patch. It's the troglodytic offspring of the two.
Since landing with the Nationals in 2011, Werth has slowly transformed into a young Grizzly Adams. But instead of a bear and a shotgun, he's got a bat and a ball. That is going to be a nightmare in that thick DC heat come July and August.
Going into the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice was a relative unknown in the sport. And she had the attention-grabbing, unsophisticated style that most of us girls have at age 19.
After she won three gold medals at the Beijing games, her style began to evolve almost instantly. Today, Rice is a globally recognized celebrity and a ridiculously sexy standout at every event she graces with her presence.
It's been quite a while since Johnny Damon donned a Red Sox uniform and attracted the catcalls of the women in the stands at Fenway. His once-trademark long locks and various degrees of beardedness were very popular with the same crowd of ladies whose favorite actor is, was, and always will be Patrick Swayze.
But then Damon traded in his red sox for pinstripes, and nothing was ever the same. Personally, the caveman look doesn't do much for me. Neither does the clean-shaven faux-hawk look. Perhaps he'll strike a happy medium by middle age?
Always known to indulge in whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, NBA superstar Charles Barkley began increasing in mass the moment he retired from the game. And you may recall that he wasn't the sveltest man in the league when he was playing.
Things changed in a big way for Sir Charles in 2012. Maybe he decided on his own that things had gone too far and he missed the sight of his feet. Or maybe Weight Watchers recognized the marketing opportunity and ponied up enough cash to get Barkley off binging.
Whatever. It doesn't matter. It totally worked.
Retired MLB slugger Sammy Sosa has always been kind of a strange-looking fellow.
Then his neck started to expand.
And then his head started to expand.
Then later his skin started to to turn white.
And then it turned really white.
And then it settled on kind of a gray color.
Overall, a makeover he really could have done without.
Loudmouthed Jets head coach Rex Ryan's makeover is pretty straightforward. He lost weight. An awful lot of weight. From the looks of it, all in all, he may have even lost an entire Rex Ryan worth of it.
What's kind of awesome about the transformation is that Ryan's face looks exactly the same. It's like that big cocky head of his refused to cede even an ounce of its formidable size.
Basically he looks like a Photoshop project. Ever mess around with the 'bloat' and 'liquefy' tools? If you haven't, you'll just have to take my word for it.
Tennis sensation Serena Williams has always been known for her adventurous sense of style. Although, early in her career, Williams' style was definitely a little too adventurous.
She definitely took a 'less is more' approach to almost everything she wore on and off the court. Those looks ranged from overly sexy to downright scandalous.
Today's Williams has definitely toned it down in terms of showing skin. Which is working, because she looks as sexy as ever.
The physical transformation of Giants pitcher Brian Wilson has been one of the most buzzed-about makeovers in recent years. Most people seem to agree that it's been a change for the better.
After all, anything is a step up from a faux-hawk. But you have to wonder what caused Wilson to flip the switch so dramatically.
I used to think it may have been the result of a blow to the head. But eventually, I realized it had more to do with a love of attention.
Hard-living PGA golfer John Daly has a long and storied history of eating, drinking and smoking. As evidenced by the beach-ball sized gut he used to have to swing around—obviously no small task.
Then a few years ago, Daly made some serious changes and dropped 100 pounds. Now instead of dropping all his money on booze and buckets of hot wings, he drops it on funny pants.
Talk about someone who certainly didn't need a makeover! MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano can turn heads wearing just about anything.
Her gorgeous face and ample assets don't require a lot of window dressing. So let's just say the girl can do no wrong and leave it at that!
It's easy to forget that Patriots super-stud quarterback Tom Brady wasn't always so super, or so studly. But there was a time, long ago, when he was just a sixth-round draft pick charged with holding the clipboard for Drew Bledsoe.
That must feel like another life for Brady, who happened to have the chiseled features of a male model hiding just below a few pounds of excess baby fat. Which served as a magnet to attract another model—Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's good to be Tom Brady.
**It's also good to follow me on Twitter. Just a thought... Follow @blamberr