Vogue‘s April 2008 Shape issue featured two of the world’s most enviable bodies on the cover: Brazilian beauty Gisele Bündchen and NBA superstar LeBron James. The basketball player was only the third male—and the first African-American male—to appear on the front of the storied fashion mag, but the Annie Leibovitz-helmed photo was widely assailed for its alleged racially offensive imagery. Critics decried the animalistic pose that James struck, which seemed to invoke the savagery of King Kong and perpetuate stereotypes of black male aggression. Some observers saw nothing but James’ sporting spirit, but nevertheless, what was intended as a step forward for the glossy was decidedly less than a success.
Next Du Juan, 2005