12 athletes who changed their look during the sports shutdownon July 31, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Some professional athletes have become even more fit while staying home this spring and summer. What nerve.

The NBA returned on Thursday, the MLB last week — and, as sports slowly come back, our eyes are on these players’ new, post-lockdown looks:

Carmelo Anthony

The Portland Trail Blazers player is now dubbed “Skinny Melo” after arriving in Orlando looking noticeably slimmer. He had been starting at power forward for Portland, but with the return of big men Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, he’s preparing to return to small forward.

“For me, I had that in the back of my mind, once Coach told me the position, that I’d be switching back to the 3,” Anthony said. “I kind of challenged myself to get down to that weight where I feel comfortable with playing the 3, comfortable running around and utilizing things I can do within our system from playing the 3.

Marc Gasol

The veteran Raptors center focused on his fitness during the break in an effort to play to his full potential now that a nagging hamstring injury has finally healed.

“It was a frustrating season for me personally because I could never get a rhythm and help the team the way that I should be helping the team,” Gasol said earlier this month. “As soon as … we got informed the [Toronto training] facility was closing down, I got together with my team on a phone call and got going on a plan to resolve these ongoing issues.”

James Harden

Harden was already a scoring machine ahead of the NBA lockdown, and now the Houston Rockets star looks fitter than ever.

The 2018 NBA MVP told The Athletic in May: “I’ve been doing a lot of cardio. I’ve got treadmills in my houses, weights and all that good stuff. It really hasn’t affected me like it’s affected a lot of other players.”

Nikola Jokic

The first picture of the Denver Nuggets center since the break was shocking. Are we sure that is Nikola Jokic?!

“He sent me a picture. No shirt on. He’s got abs. I’ve never seen him have abs before,” Nuggets president Tim Connelly said recently. Are the Nuggets ready to make a run for the title in the bubble?

Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans rookie clearly put in work in the downtime. And we are ready to see the show.

Zion has been diligent about taking care of himself,” David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, told ESPN. “He’s in a good space physically and mentally.”

The MLB opened its season last week, and a handful of players have been showing off their new physiques as well:

Luke Voit

The New York Yankees first baseman said goodbye to 13 pounds thanks to cardio workouts and the healthy cooking of his wife, Tori.

Now that the regular season has begun, Yankees fans could celebrate that on Wednesday, Voit has been on their team for two years.

Aroldis Chapman

Like his teammate, Chapman — a closer for the Yankees — increased his fitness level during the shutdown.

“I definitely wanted to take advantage of that, actually wanted to cut some pounds during quarantine and being at home and training at home,” the 32-year-old said during a Zoom call with reporters in early July. “I was able to do that, I was able to cut some pounds, 10 pounds, and I feel really good right now. I find myself at a great weight for an athlete.”

If you followed his Instagram at all the past few months, it comes as no surprise how shredded he has become.

Bryce Harper

The Philadelphia Phillies star has always been muscular, but his ridiculous squat workout is putting the rest of the NL on notice.

The former MVP is jacked!

And to round out these new looks, we’ve also appreciated the new hairdos in soccer. Most important, USWNT star Megan Rapinoe revived her iconic pink locks:

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It’s been so long I just HAD to grid this pic ????ACTUALLY, it has been nearly a year to the day since my last full bleach and tone + PINK. Rapinkoe is back and ready to roll!!! As always, the crew 901 especially my girl @riawna (@nikkilee901 too :)) fixed me all up and put a bounce back in my step. I’ve been very cautious about stepping out of Quarantine, I’m still not really out tbh, but the salon was fr safe AF! Temperature check at door ? Symptoms check at door ? Hand sanitizer three times before I got to the seat ? MASKS ON EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVERY SECOND! ? I didn’t see one mouth the whole time! ? #wearadamnmask And sanitizing wipes for phone ? upon entry. ? Stay safe, wear a mask, socially distance, and let’s all get through this TOGETHER?????

While others were looking long — or buzzed:

May we never find the need to take the buzzers into our own hands again.

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