Being a pro athlete is tough work. Lots of acting macho. Lots of pretending you’re superhuman in front of the cameras. ; So when athletes need to chill out and get in touch with their gentler sides, it’s no surprise to see them turn to the companionship of small animals. Sometimes larger-than-life figures need to get down and hang out with our world’s tiniest and most cuddly ;life forms. ; And you know what? Animals and athletes go great together, because of course they do. The truly amazing thing is that they photograph together even better. ; 1. Just check out LeBron James holding a hungry panda. ; 2. Delonte West holding a penguin, and Lamar Odom wishing he was. ; 3. What about Delonte West holding a ;tortoise? ; 4. Here’s…

Being a pro athlete is tough work. Lots of acting macho. Lots of pretending you’re superhuman in front of the cameras. ;

So when athletes need to chill out and get in touch with their gentler sides, it’s no surprise to see them turn to the companionship of small animals. Sometimes larger-than-life figures need to get down and hang out with our world’s tiniest and most cuddly ;life forms. ;

And you know what? Animals and athletes go great together, because of course they do. The truly amazing thing is that they photograph together even better. ;

1. Just check out LeBron James holding a hungry panda.

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2. Delonte West holding a penguin, and Lamar Odom wishing he was.

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3. What about Delonte West holding a ;tortoise?

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4. Here’s Dennis Rodman holding a dog in the middle of a playoff game.



5. Dan Marino and Torrey Smith proudly hold pups. ;

A photo posted by Torrey Smith (@torreysmithwr) on



6. And because one dog isn’t enough for one person, here’s Torrey Smith holding two dogs.



7. Olympian Gus Kenworthy loves dogs like they’re his children.

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8. And here’s Yovani Gallardo with the Brewers’ official pup, Hank, who’s dressed in people clothes because why not?

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9. Dogs are the best, aren’t they? Sydney Leroux holding her dog makes for a wonderful shot.



10. And so does Serena Williams with her dog.



11. Want another? Here’s Megan Rapinoe and her lil dog. ;

A photo posted by Megan Rapinoe (@mrapinoe) on



12. But let’s go back to seeing two dogs. Just two dogs lounging with Mesut Özil.

A photo posted by Mesut Özil (@m10_official) on



13. Care for one more another dog? Vernon Davis has a Frenchie for you. ;

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14. Okay, enough K-9 action. Vernon Davis wants to let the people know: SLOTHS CAN HANG TOO. ;



15. And so can other exotic animals. Justin Verlander holding a baby tiger doesn’t look dangerous at all. Right?

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16. And here’s Visanthe Shiancoe holding his two pet ferrets while they attempt to eat him.

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17. Mario Balotelli’s adorable piglet named “Super” rests comfortably.



18. Darnell Dockett’s monkey appreciates being held, but the little fella has no idea what to do with his hands ;(same). ;

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19. David Ortiz loves America’s pastime and Falcons, but did he show love to that lonely eagle? Who knows. ;

A photo posted by David Ortiz (@davidortiz) on



20. Mamadou Sakho lets a koala chill like in its element. ;

A photo posted by Mamadou Sakho (@mamadousakho3) on



21. Colin Kaepernick’s 17-year-old tortoise is still small enough to hold (at least, he can do it), even though it weighs in at 115 pounds. ;

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22. ;Chad Johnson liked to take his pet lemur out and about in Miami ;during ;the offseason. ;



23. ;Mike Miller and his java macaque named Sonny were inseparable until he decided to give the monkey away to a sanctuary. ;

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24. No professional athlete, however, can match the relationship Mike Tyson has with pigeons. ;Tyson has always loved his birds, because in his words, they “never judged me or made me feel inadequate.

A photo posted by Mike Tyson (@miketyson) on

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25. ;Live on, small animals. We’re better for your existence. ;

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25 Photos Of Big Athletes Holding Small Animals