by Lang Whitaker

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to my main man Sam, at least in terms of Sam working here at SLAM fulltime. He’ll still be blogging here, will still be writing for the mag, but we’ll definitely miss having him around here from day to day, from 11 until 5. He took care of most of his goodbyes this morning, but I wanted to add a li’l something. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short…

I hired Sam four years ago without ever having met him, though we’d talked on the phone a few times and our mutual acquaintance Noah lobbied me to hire him. So I did, and Sam worked out great. Over the last four years we’ve become friends as well as coworkers, and we’ve had a lot of fun. One of greatest and most bizarre nights of my life happened with Sam right beside me, out in Vegas at the All-Star Game in 2007. We saw things that night, things that changed us forever.

We’ve traveled together from Atlanta to New Orleans to Cleveland to Vegas to Boston. We ate breakfast with Stephen A. Smith. We almost got stranded together at the airport in Cincinnati. We improvised on live radio. We had scary cab drivers. Sam taught me about Jim Jones, Mike Francesa and Willie Randolph.

We drank a lot of coffee, ate a lot of Cosi and Chipotle. We came up with ideas, good and bad.

But most of all, we resized images and taught everyone else around here how to use WordPress over and over again.

And it’s been a pleasure the entire time. Sam, best of luck as you move on and, speaking on behalf of everyone here in the Dome, we’ll miss you.

Now let’s play Madden.

Joel Kimmel, the official illustrator of The Links, is back today with NBA Friday. And today’s subject is Tim Duncan!

“When I made my list of teams at the beginning of the season, I had a few players in mind that I knew I wanted to paint and Duncan was one of them,” Joel explains. “I really don’t like the Spurs and most of my ideas for other players on that team involved painting them in unflattering ways, so I decided that designing a Tim Duncan robot was the way to go. I tried to design the robot to resemble Duncan’s body type and I assembled it all on a page of schematics breaking down scale, materials used and other engineering details (I even gave him some robotic adidas feet, complete with spurs).”

Great stuff, Joel. And next week’s team in the Los Angeles Lakers. As always, if you have suggestions, list them below (and keep them clean!).

Have a great weekend everyone, and catch you next week…