All that Christmas in July talk was clearly referring to the release of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue.
Although it is often controversial in nature, the annual issue, which features popular athletes posing in their birthday suits, has only seemed to soar in popularity over recent years. Featuring stars such as Michael Phelps, Marshawn Lynch, Larry Fitzgerald, Venus Williams, Prince Fielder, Serge Ibaka and others, this year should be no different.
The magazine's editor-in-chief, Chad Millman, talked about the progression of the special issue, as well as its purpose, via ESPN.com:
We somehow manage to raise the bar each year. This year's collection of exceptional athletes and stunning photography showcases an array of sports and body types. It inhabits our mission to pay tribute to these athletes' bodies and all they are capable of.
Let's take a closer look at what this year's publication has to offer.
Release Date: Friday, July 11, 2014
List of Athletes
|Ginger Huber||Cliff Diving|
|Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z||Motocross and Skateboarding|
The magazine is worth the price of purchase simply for the interview with Marshawn Lynch.
Typically a tamed beast when he's around the media or having to do anything that involves him talking instead of truck-sticking linebackers, Lynch is an absolute goldmine whenever he actually does open up.
He's once again on top of his interview game with ESPN's Morty Ain:
I got to show some love for the fat backs. Don't matter if we don't get love, as long as I give mine.
Even though I get butt-a-- naked, I'm still gonna let my body do the talking for me. I'm cool with my body, I love my body. I wouldn't trade it for no other body.
Beast Mode then turned his focus towards the most decorated Olympian of all-time: "Michael Phelps wouldn't have been on the Wheaties box if I stuck with swimming. I've been swimming since I was a little kid. I still swim. I'm the best. I am Olympic caliber right now, hell yeah."
Even in the pool, Marshawn is 'bout that action.
Of course, while no one is going to top the Seattle Seahawks running back in entertainment value, there are plenty of other intriguing athletes and storylines.
Paralympian Amy Purdy opening up about the battle for her life has to be near the very top of that list. ESPN The Magazine's Instagram captured a behind-the-scenes picture of her photo shoot:
Lynch and Purdy are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Interviews with athletes such as Ibaka, Fitzgerald, Travis Pastrana and Bernard Hopkins figure to be captivating, while it's always interesting—for obvious reasons—to see all of the photos.
The Mag provided a preview of the latter, giving us a look at tennis stars Tomas Berdych and Venus Williams:
Thanks to a wide range of young and old athletes with different body types coming from various sports, this looks to be one of the most compelling Body Issues of the six-year history.
While some don't like the magazine, it is unequivocally one-of-a-kind.