allen iverson

by Tzvi Twersky | photo by Gary Land

“In this world,” Benjamin Franklin wrote, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

With all due respect to the First American and resident of Philadelphia, that’s just not true. This issue, SLAM Presents IVERSON, was certain to come to fruition, too.

After all, SLAM and Iverson have an inimitable relationship that helped propel both the magazine and the man to new heights.

A brief history: When he was still at Georgetown, an upstart magazine called SLAM put him on his first national magazine cover. His rookie year, even while the Philadelphia 76ers found wins hard to come by, SLAM once again put him on the cover. During the lockout-shortened 1999 season, SLAM had him rock an afro and dollops of dangling ice. Over the course of the ensuing 10-plus years, he appeared on 13 more covers.

During a run from 1994 until now, no matter what was going on in his very public personal life, Allen Iverson made time for SLAM and SLAM made time for Allen Iverson.

“Anything SLAM needs from me would be done,” Iverson said a few years ago. “I’ll never forget what SLAM did for me. SLAM gave me a whole new fanbase, made me more popular than what I was doing out there on the basketball court. Kids still talk about it. Kids still have the magazine. You’ve always been loyal to me.”

As a result of that bond forged through a Hall of Fame career filled with Everest highs and Dead Sea lows, as a result of the raw photo shoots and exclusive interviews and unparalleled access, Allen Iverson and SLAM became, in a very real way, synonymous.

With the Philadelphia 76ers retiring his No. 3 jersey this coming Saturday night, March 1, it only made sense to dive into our wealth of Allen Iverson connections and material. It only made sense to come out with a special issue dedicated to Allen Iverson.

Things being the way they are, it would have been hard to come out with this issue alone, so SLAM partnered with Reebok Classic on this project. It only made sense, if you take a step back, to collaborate with the company that always stood by Iverson’s side.

“SLAM has been a phenomenal partner for Reebok and AI throughout the years,” says Todd Krinsky, Reebok’s VP of Global Classics and Basketball.  “Allen lives at the intersection of basketball, music  and culture and clearly this is SLAM’s territory as well. We have had some great photo shoots and their AI covers are legendary. It was a no-brainer to partner with them on this project.”

SLAM being SLAM, and Iverson being Iverson, you know that SLAM Presents IVERSON is both artistic and comprehensive. In part, this collector’s issue is comprised of essays about the 11-time All-Star, interviews with him, quotes from a rang of NBA stars about him, as well as a slew of rare and never before seen photos of him. All of this carefully curated content serves to cover the entirety of his game-changing, culture-shifting career.

Reebok being Reebok, we incorporated some flavor, which we otherwise would not have been able to. As a direct result of working with them, we were able to include a section on Iverson’s complete sneaker history. That means we have beauty shots and descriptions of every Reebok silhouette Iverson ever wore, starting with the Question Mid and ending with the Answer XIII.

Additionally, this 100 percent Iverson issue includes a first glimpse at the five Question Mids that Reebok Classic is releasing in 2014. Kept under tight wraps until now, the first of the five colorways, a limited-edition look called the Banner Ceremony, makes its official debut in these pages.

While the much-coveted Banner Ceremony will be released by Reebok Classic shortly, the much-deserved banner ceremony will definitely take place this coming Saturday night.

“You and I will never know how much that day will mean to me,” Iverson texted SLAM, while this issue was being put together. “It will probably bring me to tears. I’m so excited with anticipation, I could never begin to thank all of that the people that I want to thank on that day.”

Once again, maybe for the final time, Iverson will be the main attraction at a Sixers’ game. You can be sure SLAM will be on hand to take in the moment.

And you can be certain that issues of SLAM Presents IVERSON will be available all over newsstands to help you celebrate his momentous career, too. 

allen iverson slam special issue