Athletes Are Sexy, Why Make Them Wear Bikinis?

10/04/2012 08:37 EDT | Updated 12/03/2012 05:12 EST
Maria Sharapova, of Russia, hits a ball into the crowd after defeating Nadia Petrova, of Russia, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the fourth round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Here we go again.

The Bikini Basketball League -- or The Bikini Basketball Association (the fledgling organization seems unsure of what it actually wants to call itself) -- is currently recruiting "Sexy Athletic Ladies From Around The World" to fill the rosters of its seven teams for the imminent tip-off of its inaugural season. Swift expansion and world domination surely to follow.

Be still my beating heart. I can picture the promotional shots even now, some 30 days before the league even unveils its official website: fab photos of BBL players -- beautiful young women ("hotties," in the vernacular of pop culture), holding strategically placed (and probably pink) basketballs and, heaven help us, doubtlessly making duck lips (is there any logical reason why duck lips have not been outlawed outright?)

This is not an original notion. Take a sport. Add women. Remove clothing. Presto! Take the Lingerie Football League and The Bikini Hockey League (yes, Virginia, there really is a LFL and a BHL). And the inevitable Bustier Bowling League. The Thong Golf Association, etc. Nonetheless, women in bikinis, playing basketball must surely be considered a huge step forward for the sporting landscape, and a giant leap for mankind.

Naturally, there is a faction of the population -- herein known as the Wet Blanket Killjoys (hey, not a bad band name) -- that considers the whole concept to be juvenile, insulting (to both women and men), horribly sexist, and unfathomably stupid. But these people obviously haven't had time to fully digest the party line, as typically spun by these assorted attire-challenged associations.

The leagues like to suggest (with a straight face, no less) that they are not in any way sexist, chauvinistic, or caught in some kind of Hefner-esque time warp. But, rather, they are fighting for feminism, and battling for equal rights -- that is, for a woman's right to compete. In any given sport. For pay. Just like a man.

Only in their underpants.

Laudable, the Wet Blanket Killjoys say, if not so laughable. Beyond exposure -- of which, there's plenty spilling forth -- historically speaking, the players in these assorted endeavors have received very little in the way of reward. Generally, it's the old "Clothing (And Pay) Optional."

You know, I certainly don't want to be a Wet Blanket Killjoy (not as a front-man, not as a guitarist, not even as a drummer). And I'm certainly not suggesting stripping the sexy out of sport. Athletics are inherently sexy. Athletes are inherently sexy. Young men and women. Buff bodies. Finely tuned. And primed for peak performance.

Nor am I suggesting that we go messing with human nature. Men (gasp!) like to look at women. And that is obviously a two-way street: women (gasp!) like to look at men. Years ago a female colleague wanted to bet that she could identify every player on the Toronto Blue Jays just by looking at their... backsides. I refused to take the bet. I don't like giving away money.

Still, I never heard my colleague suggest that the Jays should perform in their jockstraps, or take the infield in their tighty-whiteys, or come up to bat in Speedos. Perhaps because that would be too much like the International Olympic Committee trying to idiotically force female boxers to compete in skirts. Or perhaps because that would be an insult to both the players and to the sport they're playing.

You want to see sexy playing basketball? Tune in to the National Basketball Association or the WNBA. And leave bikini basketball to the buffoons.