The first images of the 2013 ESPN the Magazine Body Issue have been revealed, and as one might expect, the world has come together in shock and awe. From household names to sporting legends, there has been no shortage of topics to discuss.
The question is, which athletes will see the most significant boost in popularity from their appearance in the magazine?
Certain athletes have already solidified their status as superstars of the sporting world, thus benefiting from this appearance in a less significant manner than others. In that same breath, there are countless participants who did wonders for their public image with this appearance.
Here's who they are.
Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Position: Starting Pitcher
Experience: 2nd Season
2013 Season Statistics
19 GS, 130.0 IP, 7-2, 2.35 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .196 BAA
Matt Harvey has been absolutely sensational since striking out 11 batters in his MLB debut midway through the 2012 season. From his paralyzing breaking balls to his surprisingly powerful fastball, we've seen it all.
Now, we've really seen it all.
Harvey may be an All-Star, but due to the team he plays for, he hardly has the name value of a Justin Verlander or Cliff Lee. Instead, Harvey is part of a generation of rising stars that have not yet crossed into the realm of household names.
Harvey's participation in the Body Issue will inevitably boost his star power as an athlete. Perhaps most importantly, it will improve the attention brought to the MLB, as an athlete's willingness to participate in such an event is generally received in a warm manner.
For a player that deserves to be in the Cy Young award conversation, it's only fair to see his star status improved.
Miesha Tate, UFC Fighter
Career Record: 13-4-0
Weight Class: Bantamweight
When it comes to the women of the UFC, Ronda Rousey is the unquestioned queen. She dominated Strikeforce, currently owns the UFC Women's Bantamweight and is rapidly developing into the most popular female fighter on the planet.
It just so happens that her rise to international fame began with an appearance in ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue.
In 2013, Rousey's next opponent, Miesha Tate, decided to follow in her footsteps and grace the pages of the artistic edition. Known as one of the better pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, Tate certainly has the ability to back up what is certain to be new-found fame.
How better to preface a fight against Rousey than this?
Both women embody the toughness of Mixed Martial Arts, all the while displaying the grace that the world's top athletes have shown in appearing in the Body Issue. With UFC 168 less than six months away and Dana White known for his brilliant promotion, the time couldn't be better.
Tate is about to become one of the UFC's new superstar faces.
John Wall, Washington Wizards
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 3rd Season
2012-13 Season Averages
49 GP, 20.91 PER, 18.5 PPG, 7.6 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG
John Wall has withered away into obscurity as a member of the Washington Wizards, seeing his elite level of play overshadowed by injuries and his team's inefficiency. Just as the Wizards begin to prepare for a turnaround season in 2013-14, however, Wall makes the first splash.
As a featured athlete in the Body Issue, Wall returns to his status as a household name.
Wall was once the most popular college basketball player in the world, infecting the world with hi dance moves and tantalizing athleticism. Even as he outperformed his draft class as a rookie, however, Wall was overshadowed.
After missing what was supposed to be his rookie season due to a knee injury, Blake Griffin won the 2011 Rookie of the Year award as he wowed fans with his unparalleled dunking ability.
If not for Griffin's injury in 2010, Wall would have been the runaway winner for the award and thus continued his path to superstardom. Instead, the former Kentucky star has been as under-appreciated as any player in basketball.
The Body Issue may remind the average fan of who he is and thus garner the attention he deserves for the 2013-14 season.
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