Ezekiel Elliott, Isaiah Thomas Among Stars in ESPN 'Body Issue' 2017 Photos

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2017

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) carries a football during an organized team activity at its NFL football training facility in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots wideout Julian Edelman, Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki highlight this year's ESPN The Magazine Body Issue.

Other athletes include Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, USWNT soccer player Julie Ertz, San Jose Sharks teammates Brent Burns and Joe Thornton, Los Angeles Sparks star and WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike and members of the U.S. women's national hockey team, among others.

ESPN shared the full list of athletes:

And tweeted this of Thomas:

Thomas, 5'9", averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists during the 2016-17 season, leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Thomas said he believes his size is an advantage, per Morty Ain of ESPN.com:

"Being the smallest guy on the court has actually been to my advantage. When I tell people that, they always look at me like I'm crazy. But Gary Payton, years ago, told me that 'the guy that's lowest to the ground usually always wins.'

"I've talked to the guys like Muggsy Bogues and Nate Robinson and Damon Stoudamire. I've built relationships with those guys. And the main thing they tell me is, 'Just be yourself. Whatever you bring to the table, do it at a high level.'"

Thomas isn't the only athlete in the Body Issue with a motivational story.

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Snowboarder and mountaineer Kirstie Ennis, for instance, is a retired sergeant in the Marine Corps. Per Carly Stern of the Daily Mail, Ennis "was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2012 after her helicopter crashed." She needed a leg amputation and later required a second surgery on the same leg.

Olympian Novlene Williams-Mills comes to mind as well. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had a double mastectomy. She told Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail:

"'The mastectomy was scary because this is what makes me a lady. What am I going to look like? It was very difficult. I want to have kids one day, and you see all those mothers out there nursing and I'm not going to be able to do that.

"There were days I didn't know if I could make it. I was in so much pain. I cried because they tell me that tears are a language that God understands. I hoped my husband still loved me the same. We met when I was like this and now he's seeing a whole different person. But I didn't have to worry about him. He was my nurse, my rock."

Now, she'll be become the first breast cancer survivor to appear in the Body Issue.