Nneka Ogwumike graces 2017 ESPN Body Issue

Photo Credit: ESPN/Eric Lutzens

This year’s WNBA representative for the ESPN Body Issue is the Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike.

Fresh off a season that saw Ogwumike claim her first WNBA championship with the Sparks, It was only fitting that ESPN decided that Ogwumike, one of the faces of the W, would be a worthwhile candidate to bare all for its annual clothes-less, jersey-less magazine.

Previous WNBA representatives for ESPN’s Body Issue include Candace Parker, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne—who did so last year.

Photo Credit: ESPN/Eric Lutzens

It turns out that doing the issue was something that has been on the elder Ogwumike’s brains for a while.

It’s always been something I wanted to do.

–Nneka Ogwumike

I think it’s mostly because of the elite collection of athletes that they pick. It attributes to your success individually because they don’t just pick anybody.

ESPN once reached out to Nneka’s sister, Chiney, about it, but they passed on it at the time.

I thought it shows a different side of me. A little bit more of the authentic side.

–Nneka Ogwumike

It also shows the confident part of me that a lot of people would not expect. I always thought the body issue did a great job of exemplifying a bit of a more artistic and graceful side of what athletes do.

Photo Credit: ESPN

She has a point. It is very easy to get distracted by the sex appeal of a nude athlete without thinking about the time and effort put over the years to the point where a major magazine would feel them to be viable candidates to display their fitness–on the court, in the weight room, and for a magazine cover that combines fitness with sex appeal.

The NBA’s Isaiah Thomas is also among the athletes featured in this year’s issue—alongside Caroline Wozniacki, Ezekiel Elliott, and Javier Baez among others.

The issue hit online on July 5 and is scheduled to be on stands today.

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