Needed or not, ESPN The Magazine's "Music Issue" has arrived.
With a few weeks to fill between the Super Bowl and the time when most casual fans begin really paying attention to college hoops, ESPN The Magazine rounded up a few photogenic athletes to create their own playlists and recreate classic album covers.
If you've ever wondered what U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan would look dressed up like pop star Katy Perry, how Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman might do as a Thriller-era Michael Jackson or what the seminal cover of Nirvana's "Nevermind" might have looked like if it had featured a grown Ryan Lochte, then you are in luck.
Here is how ESPN described the genesis of "The Music Issue."
"Jay-Z and LeBron are providing a new blueprint for ruling both musicians and athletes; sports keeps turning up the volume of its hip-hop soundtrack; Josh Freeman, Alex Morgan and more artists and athletes give us playlists that are totally off the wall."
While it may be subtle, music has been an integral part of sports for many years. Every time Mariano Rivera enters the game in the ninth inning, Yankees fans rock out to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Every time Ray Lewis did his famous squirrel dance, he did so with Nelly's hit "Hot in Herre" blaring through M&T Bank Stadium. Whether it's LeBron James' warm-up music or Nationals Park playing "Take On Me" by A-ha every time former Nat Michael Morse stepped up to plate late in a home game, music has been embedded into sports culture.
Check out a behind-the-scenes look at Morgan's cover shoot above and more on some of the other images below: