by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

These days magazines can’t just be magazines anymore. Seriously, who in their right mind wants to just read words or look at pictures when you can go on the internet and see the pictures MOVE? Sure, we could post a cool photo of Blake Griffin dunking. But wouldn’t you rather just watch an animated GIF of a soccer ball hitting a kid in the head over and over?

gangsta

When I went to DC a couple of weeks back for the John Wall cover photo shoot, I brought the SLAM Flip cam along with me. I spent some time editing the footage to try and make it a little exciting, although that’s easier said than done. The truth is, photo shoots aren’t very interesting. There’s an NBA player there, and there are cameras and lots of expensive cameras and rented lights. But you’re capturing frozen moments, and in between all those moments there’s a lot of sitting around. So most SLAM photo shoots — because there’s a inevitably a basketball and a basket involved — eventually devolve into some sort of trick shot competition. The John Wall shoot was no different.

Other notes from the shoot:

– We did the shoot on a Monday night at the Wizards’ practice facility, which is in the Verizon Center. The Wizards had an off day, so they’d practiced that morning and had the afternoon off. Wall had home to take a nap (he lives near the Verizon Center) then gone to the dentist, then swung by our shoot. The date of the shoot was actually November 1, meaning the following day was Super Tuesday, with the election going down. The balance of power was about to shift in DC, and I swear you could feel the unease in the air. When we finished the shoot, it was a nice night, so I walked from the Verizon Center back over to Union Station to take the train back to NYC, and the streets were deserted. It wasn’t even late — maybe 7 o’clock. I imagined that all the politicos were bunkered down, making their final pushes for votes.

– Our main man Atiba Jefferson did the shoot for us. You’ll see him in the vid several times.

– About an hour into the shoot, Atiba and Wall were down on the court, when Gilbert Arenas strolled in. He’d come by to get some shots up, not knowing we were having a photo shoot on the court. Gil came down and hung out with us and talked to John for a bit, then started working out on the other end of the court while we finished up the shoot.

– The plan was to shoot John in front of the blue backdrop for the cover, but when we were wandering around the empty arena before the shoot, Atiba had the idea to walk out into the arena and take some shots with John seated in the stands, because the seats kind of looked cool. The arena was actually set up for hockey –  you can see the ice in the some of the video. And we ended up using one of the shots from the stands as the cover photo.

• We had a blooper last month in SLAM brought to our attention this week by a reader. Each month Josh Childress writes our Tech Corner column. Just before we go to press, I get Josh on the phone, we iron out everything, and then I edit it and we send it out to be printed. For some reason, when we got copies of the new issue of SLAM, the magazine had printed in it last month’s column from Josh. We didn’t ask to run Josh’s column from September twice, it just happened.

In the meantime, while we try to figure out what exactly happened there, here’s what Josh wrote for this month. (Free! Bonus content!)

What’s up, everyone? We’re two weeks into the season, and the Suns are 3-4 right now, but I feel like we’re getting better every day. There haven’t been any games where we were blown out, and in most of the losses we really had a chance to win them. We just have to improve at finishing games, and I think that’s something that will improve with time.

I broke the index finger on my right hand on the second-to-last game of the preseason. I had jammed it before, and I went up to dunk and got fouled and it hit on the rim, and it broke. It’s really right at the joint at the tip of my finger. I’ve been playing with a splint on every game this season. It doesn’t really hurt that much to play with this break in my finger, but it’s been tough getting used to playing with the splint on. I have about three more weeks of wearing the splint to go, and I can’t wait to get it off.

I like Phoenix a lot. The fans are great, the weather is great, the city is great. I moved into my house a few months ago, and I’ve been having a lot of work done to it. A lot of stuff is finally going to be done next week—painting, furniture, all that stuff. The biggest project, and the thing I was most excited about, was the A/V stuff. I’m having a system called Savant put in. It’s basically a system where you can control everything about your house from your phone. So when I come home I can control the lights, the climate, turn the jacuzzi on, all that stuff. I have cameras all over the premises that I can view on my phone or iPad, even if I’m not in town. Throughout the house, instead of having a universal remote, they give you iPod touches with the system, so each room has a proprietary iPod remote. And then I have the Master controls on my phone and my iPad. Controlling it is not that complex; it’s really user-friendly, and the hard work is really getting it all set up, which the company comes in and does for you. All I have to do is install the software on my phone. It’ll be done next week and I’m really looking forward to it. Catch you guys next month…