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ESPN celebrates body issue; Rob Gronkowski meets Hollywood

July 11, 2012|By Matt Donnelly
  • New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski poses with his ESPN Body cover at Tuesday's downtown Los Angeles celebration of the issue, ahead of the Espy Awards.
New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski poses with his ESPN Body cover at Tuesday's… (Michael Kovak )

The Espy Awards, from the ESPN network, are upon us: the show that celebrates the best among our athletes across professional leagues. And it's not afraid to show a little skin. 

Funny -- neither is the Ministry. Naturally we attended ESPN magazine's celebration of their "Body" issue, an annual pictorial showing off the most capable, winning and sculpted flesh in the business. 

Downtown L.A.'s opulent Belasco Theater, last used for the BAFTA reception welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, packed every enclave with jersey-wearing stars, and handlers and admirers, on the eve of the trophy telecast.

While established franchise players schmoozed, 23-year-old New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski stole momentum from his colleagues, the most popular guy in the room by a mile. He's also the most popular of several ESPN Body covers circulating, notably for what it does and does not reveal. 

We'd say it's important for an athlete to vibe with Hollywood, and Gronkowski had a fail safe with him -- several lookalikes in the form of his brothers and extended family. The boys sang, danced, drank and greeted tons of admirers. 

Other notables in attendance: Lindsey Vonn, Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers, Joe "Bones" Jones and Willa Ford.

The Espys air Wednesday, hosted by comedian Rob Riggle, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. 

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