No, Maria Sharapova is not on the list. But then again, neither are several of the female athletes who have taken it all in the past for Playboy. Sure, Ashley Harkleroad is probably not a top athlete, but she does appear to be pretty comfortable posing in the buff while posing at the tennis net. And I'm pretty shocked to not see Amanda Beard on the list. And while she's never posed nude, Danica Patrick does like to pose in bikinis, so I don't see it as a real stretch.
That said, I can't see where as I would have a problem with seeing Anna Rawson in the nude, nor Biba Golic.
But I can't help but wonder at what took ESPN so damn long to come to this conclusion about nudity and sports. Sports Illustrated's biggest issue of the year, every year, is the swimsuit issue, and aside from the occasional athlete or athlete wife or cheerleader who appears every year, it has absolutely nothing to do with sports and everything to do with sex. The issue even has nudity -- the women often wear nothing but body paint and are often posing without a top or a bottom or wearing nothing but an iPod and sand. And my numbers really shot up when I started going with my Sex Sells feature.
Frankly, however, I don't know if naked female (and male) athletes can save ESPN the Magazine. It's an awful publication that makes USA Today's articles appear long thought pieces ruminating on mankind. Maxim's articles are lengthy and involved when compared to the ESPN magazine. It's just a bad product. But hey, even I might be willing to buy it just this once.