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ESPN Magazine 'Body' Issue Features 27 Nude Sports Stars

The mag's celebration of athletic perfection arrives in stores two weeks before the 2012 games begin in London.

ESPN

ESPN's fourth annual "Body" issue is not due out until July 13, but to tease its gallery of nude photos (artistic, of course) of 27 world-class athletes, here’s a look at 7’1” New York Knicks basketball star Tyson Chandler.

The Knicks center, 29, is protected only by a basketball (OK, stop imagining Joe Manganiello's Magic Mike moment) as he appears stark naked on one of the six front covers of ESPN's "Body" issue. Chandler says the issue is a chance for him to let “the average person take a good look at athletes' bodies and why we are able to do the things we do.” 

"I think a lot of people are curious about it," he said. “I wanted people to look at my body and see why I'm able to do the things I do on the court. Also, it's a very artistic shoot, and seeing that in past issues made me want to do it.”

In the mag, Chandler describes his body: 'I'm tall with broad shoulders. And my waist is small." Adding: "I'm into fashion, so I like the way clothes lay on me."

Hey, Chandler, just for the record: Fashion insiders call that the way clothes "hang" on you, not "lay" on you.

The athletes are all stars in varied areas of sports, from tennis to track, from gymnastics to sailing, from horse racing to fencing, from surfing to decathlons, from football to hockey. 

Noted for her big wave surfing ability, Maria Gabeira is another cover model who embraced the nudity concept. "I feel sexy when I am surfing in my bikini, which is rare because I am usually in a wet suit on a big wave, so when I get the chance to, it feels great,' says the five-time Billabong XXl Award winner.

With a special slant on the 2012 London Olympics, ESPN bills the "Body" issue -- that comes out two weeks before the Games begin in London -- as a way "to unapologetically stand in awe of the athletes who've pushed their physiques to profound frontiers," says this year's editor in chief, Chad Millman.

The issue will also shine a spotlight on U.S. Olympians, including decathlete Ashton Eaton, 24, who set a new decathlon world record at the U.S. Track and Field Trials on June 23, and Carmelita Jeter, who won the 100-meter qualifying even in Oregon on that same day in Oregon.

Here’s the full line up of all 27 nude athletes. See if your favorite (or favorites) are listed:

Carlos Bocanegra (soccer), Daniela Hantuchova (WTA), Rob Gronkowski (NFL), Abby Wambach (soccer), Tyson Chandler (NBA), Candace Parker (WNBA), Maurice Jones-Drew (NFL), Jose Bautista (MLB),  Brad Richards (NHL), Maya Gabiera (surfing), Ronda Rousey (MMA), Mike Smith (jockey), Tim Morehouse (fencing), Walter Dix (track), Danell Leyva (gymnastics), Suzann Pettersen (LPGA), Ashton Eaton (decathlon), Carmelita Jeter (track), Anna Tunnicliffe (sailing), Oksana Masters (paralympic rowing). 

The issue also includes members of the USA Women's Volleyball Team: Destinee Hooker, Stacy Sykora, Alisha Glass, Cynthia Barboza, Megan Hodge, Nellie Spicer, Heather Bown. And you thought these women looked hot in bikinis...

See more "Body" issue covers here and vote for your favorite. 

What do you think?

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