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Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue ain't what it used to be

The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is not what it used to be. That’s obvious.

For years, the release of SI’s second post-Super Bowl edition was one of the marquee events on the sports calendar’s first quarter, right up there with the first Thursday of March Madness and Opening Day of the baseball season.

But, as video killed the radio star, the Internet killed the swimsuit model. There are no 13-year-old middle school boys waiting for hours by the mailbox on the second Wednesday in February anymore. And the window between the mailman’s arrival and the time dad gets home from work is shut forever.

There is simply no skill required in viewing scantily clad women anymore. No fear of bent glossy pages. Google reigns supreme.

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Of course ,there’s no reason to go back in time, but it is worth telling “kids these days” the hell that Uncle Matt and other boys of my generation had to go through to catch a glimpse of America’s No. 1 sports magazine’s No. 1 issue of the year.

The annual issue hits the streets this week and SI is painfully trying to create cash via controversy by saying that models Robyn Lawley and Ashley Graham are “plus-size.” This obviously grabs the attention of both the male and female demo as both want to (no pun) weigh in on contrived labels. It’s a clever ploy by the cash-strapped SI, a magazine that laid off its entire roster of staff photographers last month (because Sports Illustrated, makes sense without the ‘Illustrated,’ right?).

One smart move the mag made for its 2015 issue was getting in some photos of UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, who has appeal across the board. And of course, SI is always hoping for its next Kate Upton.

IMO, the best SI swimsuit covers of all-time (aka, the iconic images that put me through puberty):

  1. Tyra Banks 1997 (Before she made Wendy Williams look like a sane person by comparison, Tyra was the “it” girl for all red-blooded American males)
  2. Daniela Pestova 1995 (Brought the nipple to the National stage nearly a decade before Janet Jackson)
  3. Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson, Rachel Hunter 1994 (the undisputed queens of the SI swimsuit issue, this trio laid the foundation. It’s obvious now that this whole deal was a Pacquiao – Mayweather scenario in terms of career timing, but nonetheless, it worked).

Don’t Love the hypocrisy

So, Kevin Love apparently doesn’t like Cleveland enough to stay. It’s been rumored for a while now that Love is unhappy and given that the Cavs aren’t exactly blowing the doors off of teams like they had been expected to do entering the 2014-15 season, he may flee this summer.

Love’s teammate LeBron James tweeted out Saturday night, “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be a part of something special! Just my thoughts.”

Love had told ESPN earlier in the year that he wanted to “fit out” and just be himself and not try so hard to “fit in.”

Of course if there’s one person who should be the authority on trying to “fit in” in order to stay put, long-term, in Northeast Ohio, it is LeBron.

 
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