In what may come as a surprise to many readers of Sports Illustrated, the cover boy for the magazine's 2015 MLB preview issue will be topless.

Sort of.

Giancarlo Stanton, the 25-year-old Miami Marlins slugger who signed a $325 million extension during the offseason, appears on the cover in body paint meant to resemble his uniform. And it looks extremely accurate:


The Sports Illustrated artists included all the minor elements, like Stanton's sleeve and the buttons on his jersey. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the process:

You've got to hand it to the designers for nailing all the details here because normally the models wearing body paint don't, er, have as much clothing.



Stanton is quite comfortable without his shirt, as he appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" in 2013.


Things are looking good for Stanton, who was in contention for last season's NL MVP award until he was beaned by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers in September. Despite missing the final 17 games of the season, Stanton still led the league with 37 home runs.

Stanton reported to training camp this week feeling 100 percent healthy and told reporters that he doesn't expect the injury to affect his play.

Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutcheon has a reputation as one of the more stylish individuals in Major League Baseball. That might lead some to think that he has a well-developed stylistic palate and a natural inclination to certain looks and designers. The reality, though, is much more every-man: everything McCutcheon wears gets approval from his wife before he leaves the house. McCutcheon dishes on that and more in an exclusive interview.

It was a simple concept: Use a player to market a brand. When Nike created the original Air Jordan sneakers in 1985, it started a revolution for player-product gear.

Kanye West has his own branded sneakers now (Adidas), but the Jordan Brand still reigns supreme. Last weekend, Air Jordan had a chance to celebrate its 30-year anniversary in Michael Jordan's birth city. Across the street from Madison Square Garden on Seventh Avenue, the Jordan Brand unveiled its "NBA All-Star Week Consumer Experience" at Pearl Pavilion.

The experience effectively acted as a portable Air Jordan museum. Long time Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss Jr.'s photos donned the walls. Iooss, whom Jordan specifically requested to shoot photos during his career, came into the experience and wrote captions on the photos.

In terms of artifacts, the museum hosted every Air Jordan sneaker and a "Hall of Greatness," featuring the game-worn shoes from Jordan's defining moments. Many of the sneakers, jerseys and accessories came from the Michael Jordan Building in Beaverton, Ore. Memorabilia from Jordan's partnership with Warner Bros. (e.g. Space Jam gear) was also provided.

For fans, the interactive experience includes a 360-degree slam dunk camera around an undersized hoops. Fans can throw down and watch their dunk from all angles. Fans could also test new Air Jordan models and go through drills to emulate the footwork of Jordan Brand players. Visitors can take their picture under the text "I'm Not Michael I am Jordan."

Perhaps the crown jewel of the event was the LED half-court simulator walled with 876 screens. Fans had the opportunity to choose one of three shots: Jordan's game-winning shot for North Carolina over Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA championship game, Jordan's 1998 game-winning jumper in Game 6 of the NBA Finals (a Jordan employee works as a mock defender and falls back like Byron Russell) and a free shot, symbolizing "The Next Shot" in 2015.

Of course, along with the attractions, the experience boasted a shop with the newest Jordan products. The latest Jordans, including products launched over All-Star Weekend, were present.

Iooss, Carmelo Anthony and Jordan's friends and colleagues Tinker Hatfield and Howard "H" White were among those to stop by the experience.

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He makes limited public appearances and hasn't fought in 33 years, but a new endorsement deal with Under Armour attests to the sustained legacy of the world's most famous boxer, Muhammad Ali.

Under Armour and Ali on Wednesday announced a partnership in which the Baltimore-based company will produce lifestyle and training apparel inspired by the cultural icon.

Both Ali and Under Armour posted a 15-second promotional video to their Twitter accounts:



Ali is a heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist whose personality transcended boxing. He was an outsize personality who was never afraid to voice his opinion and famously refused to serve in the Vietnam War. In 1984 Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome and while he lives a mostly private life, he is still idolized by many. He's got 477,000 followers and Twitter and is considered one of the most recognizable athletes ever.

"He's an iconic hero from the past and a true innovator," said Glenn Silbert, vice president of men's, outdoors and team sports for Under Armour. "We wondered what Ali would have been like if he had a brand like ours when he was getting started and how great it could have been. That has been the mentality of our design team throughout this process."

According to ESPN, the partnership is officially between Under Armour and Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which bought Ali's estate and licensing rights in 2013. ABG owns the trademarks to a slew of phrases related to Ali, including, "Float Like A Butterfly Sting Like A Bee," "The Greatest Of All Time" and "Rumble In The Jungle."

Under Armour will launch Ali's apparel line in March and training line in November.

"Under Armour is irreverent, disruptive, they pivot quickly and they're explosive," said Nick Woodhouse, president and chief marketing officer of ABG. "Those words also speak to Ali and how he changed the game."

Under Armour has been selective in how many athletes it signs for endorsement deals with Tom Brady and Stephen Curry being among the notable choices. It also has taken an innovative approach toward the women's market with campaigns featuring Misty Copeland of the American Ballet Theatre and supermodel Gisele.

Craig Sager announced his likely return to the broadcasting game in the only way he could -- with a loud, ridiculous suit only he could pull off.

As part of the TNT broadcast of last weekend's NBA All-Star Game, Sager said that he is almost ready to end a hiatus from sideline reporting that began last April, when he started treatments to battle leukemia. Sager set March 1 as his hopeful date of return to broadcasting, with hopes of participating full-time from that point.

"I think I’m on my road back, and I’m looking forward to being back there healthy in March, April, looking forward to the playoffs," Sager told Inside the NBA.

Of course, the message could have easily been missed by anyone too distracted by the crazy outfit he wore for the segment:

Sager also conducted an interview with Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who made sure Sager knew his presence was a welcome sight.

"Let me start off my saying: We miss you," Anthony told Sager. "The game hasn’t been the same, the sideline hasn’t been the same without seeing you out there. You’re in my family’s prayers, you’re in my prayers, so we hope to see you back out here soon."

Sager has received an outpouring support from across the NBA, highlighting well-wishes and gifts from coaches including San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Miami's Erik Spoelstra. He also singled out Nets center Kevin Garnett as “the first one to send flowers.”

Hannah Davis says the controversy surrounding her cover shot for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is silly. "There are far more scandalous pictures in the magazine if you open it up," Davis said. "It's a girl in a bikini, and I think it's empowering."

Scandalous. Empowering. Whatever the case, it generates conversation, such as the one we had on The Rundown, a collaboration between TYT Sports and ThePostGame.

What's your favorite SI Swimsuit Issue cover? Leave a comment below, and check back for more segments of The Rundown.

The NBA All-Star Game is about showcasing more than just basketball talent. It has become a fashion show for special-edition sneakers. Many of the top players will wear a custom edition of their signature shoe at the All-Star Game. This includes LeBron James (Nike), John Wall (Adidas), Carmelo Anthony (Jordan Brand) and Stephen Curry (Under Armour).

In the latest segment of "The Rundown," a collaboration between TYT Sports and ThePostGame, we size up the fashion statements:

Which shoe is your favorite? Leave your comments below, and check back for more videos from The Rundown.

An old Chicago Blackhawks jersey passed down from its former owner enjoyed some time in the spotlight during a recent "Antiques Roadshow" broadcast.

According to its owner, the jersey was once worn by Virgil Johnson, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks when the club won the 1938 Stanley Cup championship. Johnson had told his family that the jersey was worn during that Stanley Cup series.

According to Antiques Roadshow, that story holds up. And not only is it a rare find -- the jersey is all-wool -- it's one of very few to have survived from that time period.

"We're used to seeing baseball jerseys from this era," the appraiser tells the owner, who is the wife of Johnson's grandson. "I've never seen a hockey jersey from this era."

The appraiser goes on to estimate that the jersey could fetch anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 at auction. But it only takes a couple crazy Blackhawks fans to jack that price well beyond its projected market value.

Despite being game-worn and more than 75 years old, the jersey is termed "museum-quality," having just a few minor scuffs and evidence of use. But to a hockey fan, "authentic game-worn" trumps "pristine" any time.

The New England Patriots on Sunday earned themselves Super Bowl rings while team owner Robert Kraft scored a new pair of cufflinks.

Kraft, who has overseen the Patriots during each of their four Super Bowl championships over the past 15 years, was spotted wearing what appeared to be Super Bowl ring cufflinks at Sunday's game.


This fashion choice predictably set Twitter aflame with commentary. Perhaps, some wondered, Kraft was keeping his rings close to the rest so a certain Russian politician wouldn't rob him?


Or perhaps he just wanted everyone to know that he is "a boss." Kraft is, after all, worth a cool $4 billion.


The theories behind Kraft's cufflinks came fast and furious:






This isn't the first time Kraft has worn his wealth on his sleeves. He's been known to wear ostentatious cufflinks, and his accessories have even impressed the most flamboyant pro athlete of all, Floyd Mayweather.

Unlike the DeflateGate flap that has dominated much of the conversation during Super Bowl week, the Miss America pageant doesn't have an issue of contestants cutting corners. At least that's what Miss Arizona, Alexa Rogers, told us at the Elevee Suits And Sneakers Fashion Show at the W Hotel in Scottsdale.

"The only thing we cheat with is painting on a little bit of abs," Rogers says. "Contouring is a lifesaver, so if we're 'cheating,' I guess that's the only way we're doing it. But other than that, it's completely fair."

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