Turning up the (Miami) Heat! Dwyane Wade stripped down to pose naked for the cover of ESPN‘s 2016 Body Issue, which also features nude shots of other athletes, including Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne and surfer Courtney Conlogue.
The issue doesn’t hit newsstands until July 6, but ESPN shared the cover photo on Twitter on Tuesday, June 21. In it, Wade poses mid-lunge, his torso twisted toward the camera to show off his bulging biceps and chiseled chest. His only accessories are a basketball and his wedding ring. (The NBA star, 34, married Gabrielle Union in 2014.)
According to ESPN, Wade turned down the Body Issue for seven years before agreeing to pose in 2016. And he battled a lot of insecurities to get to this point.
“To me, doing the Body Issue is bigger than looking at an athlete’s body,” the Miami Heat player told the mag. “It’s more about the story we are telling of overcoming my fear of doing this. I had a fear of being naked in front of others and a fear of being judged. So to me, overcoming that is the biggest thing.”
Wade said he was insecure throughout his youth because of his “outie” belly button. He didn’t truly feel comfortable in his skin until around age 30. “It’s like everything else with life — you change, you grow,” he said. “People might think it’s simple, but for me it was hard to even feel comfortable walking around naked when it’s just me and my wife.”
Union, for her part, has no complaints about her husband’s physique. After Wade tweeted the cover on Tuesday, she made her admiration known.
Why dontcha circle back to the house… meet ya in 10 ??? https://t.co/G998hi6D8O
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) June 21, 2016
Union has good reason to be proud — as does Wade. He even has his own underwear line, Naked. And he goes to a lot of effort to keep himself fit and strong.
“I work hard on my body, man. I’m 34 now; it doesn’t come as easy as it did when I was 21, 22,” he explained, noting that he loves to eat and “can put on a few pounds” pretty quickly. “I have to work at it now, where it used to be something that just came natural.”
He has dealt with his fair share of injuries, of course — “as an athlete, every part of your body deals with some kind of trauma” — but this season, he felt like he was 28 again. “I’ve got some good years left,” he told the mag.
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