What might the kid in the pool on the iconic cover of Nirvana’s album Nevermind look like all grown up? How about 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte?
Or maybe it’s just ESPN having some fun mashing up celebrity athletes and famous album covers, like motocross racer James Stewart aping Rick James’ Street Songs in thigh-high red boots, or soccer star Alex Morgan doing Katy Perry’s One of the Boys, lounging on a pink blanket while nibbling a pair of sunglasses.
But yes, that’s definitely Lochte in ESPN The Magazine‘s forthcoming Nevermind riff, sporting a glazed underwater gaze as a dollar bill is dangled before him on a fishhook. No, he’s not baring all, centerfold-style: Unlike the buck-naked Nirvana babe, Lochte dons a pair of Speedos, and if you look closely, you’ll notice the distinctive Olympic ring tattoo on his right bicep.
ESPN got 14 athletes in all to stage album shots for the heck of it, then asked them each to give their current playlist picks. Most settled for an even 10, but Lochte shot the moon with 15. It’s an eclectic list, from Jay Z & Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild” and Li’l Wayne’s “The Sky’s the Limit” to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” — but nope, not a single Nirvana tune.
“Nirvana is not on my normal playlist, but I definitely knew the cover,” Lochte told ESPN. “I honestly think I nailed the shot. If you look at the baby, he’s definitely happy in the water, and that’s what I am. And look, he’s chasing after a dollar bill. So he’s always on the grind. That’s me.”