LeBron becomes one of only three men to grace cover of Vogue
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James is striking a pose.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar will appear on the April cover of Vogue, joining actors Richard Gere and George Clooney as the only men to do so in the influential fashion magazine's 116-year history.
Wearing a tank top, shorts and sneakers from his own Nike clothing line, James appears on the cover dribbling a basketball and screaming as if in game mode while throwing one arm around supermodel Gisele Bundchen with Tom Brady nowhere to be found.
The pairing of the All-Star forward and the runway icon was shot in January by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio.
"It's pretty good," James said Thursday night before the Cavs' game in Washington. "Me being a big guy and a big supporter of fashion, to be on the cover with Gisele, on the cover of the biggest fashion magazine ever -- it's pretty good."
Vogue is featuring athletes and models in an annual issue devoted to size and shape. The 6-foot-9 James and 5-foot-11 Bundchen, who dates Patriots star quarterback Brady, were a natural pairing.
"Nobody says more about fashion size and shape than Gisele and LeBron," Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said. "LeBron is an amazing star and athlete that has crossed over into a cultural phenomena."
Bundchen wasn't intimated by James' frame.
"He doesn't really make you feel small, even though he is big," she says in the magazine. "I think my leg is like the size of his shoe."
The James-Bundchen duo is one of several athlete-model pairings featured in the issue. Others include swimmer Michael Phelps with Caroline Trentini, snowboarder Shaun White with Daria Werbowy; and speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno with Doutzen Kroes.
Being on the cover of a sports magazine is nothing new to James, who first appeared on Sports Illustrated's front as a 17-year-old high school junior in 2002 next to the presumptuous title of "The Chosen One." He is currently one of 11 athletes appearing on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's 10th anniversary issue.
However, as his popularity and visibility broaden, James has recently been featured on the covers of Fortune, Men's Health and Black Enterprise.
With the Vogue cover, James following in the footsteps of Gere, who appeared with Cindy Crawford in 1992, and Clooney, who also appeared with Bundchen in 2000.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press