After turning down opportunities to appear in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue -- which showcases athletes sans clothing -- seven consecutive years, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will grace the cover of the issue this year.
In an interview with ESPN, Wade reveals his past struggles with body image issues. As a child, he said that he did not take off his shirt to go into the pool because his belly button was an outie. Even in high school, he said that he didn't want people to see his "rougher" feet in swimming class. Wade even convinced his doctor to write him a note saying that he couldn't swim.
"I was just never comfortable until about four years ago, when I started feeling comfortable with my body overall," Wade told ESPN. "As you go through life, you get more comfortable with yourself. It's like everything else with life -- you change, you grow."
In the interview, Wade said that he felt like his body "was betraying me" from 2012 to 2014 -- the latter stages of the Big Three Era. But after working on his body, the Heat's franchise player said that he felt like he was 28 this season. And in a statement likely to pique the interest of Heat fans, the 34-year-old Wade said that he feels like he has a few good years left.
The consummate businessman, Wade even managed to plug his underwear line, Naked, in his interview with ESPN. "In my underwear line, Naked, we have this thing called the "Naked Truth" -- and my naked truth, I always say, is me being my authentic self," Wade said. "'That became a part of me doing this shoot. I'm like, 'You know what, nothing is clearer than this, being my authentic self.'"
Pat Riley questioned Wade's conditioning during the beginning of the 2009-10 season, and said last year that Wade has to "change the narrative about his body." But he's worked hard since his dreary 2014 Finals run, playing in 74 games during the 2015-16 season -- his most since 2010-11. Bravo on Wade for overcoming his past struggles and becoming comfortable in his own skin.
Now let's just see about his impending free agency...