By Sam Rubenstein

Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Deep breaths.

So I was watching the latest episode of The Wire, the one that’s going to air this Sunday night. This is a subtle little thing that won’t be giving anything away, so feel free to read on. NO SPOILER ALERT.

There is a scene where Michael is reading to his little brother Bug, the kid he’s protecting from an abusive father (I think they have the same mom but different dads). They are thumbing through a basketball magazine, and Michael says to him “Elton Brand. Now what you know about him? Nothing! Cause he’s quiet.” And if you want to read into the scene, you could say that Michael is talking about himself as being an Elton Brand figure. He’s the quiet unassuming kid that does his homework, is the man of the house, and is an all around stand-up guy in general, even if he’s just 12 years old or whatever he is. A few weeks ago Khalid said he was his favorite kid on the show. Unlike Omar (the one that writes for us, not Omar Little) who says he’s more of a Randy guy cause he relates to snitches.

If you want to hear the really interesting story of my detective work, here it goes: I took that screenshot with my camera of the magazine in question. Michael is turning pages in the magazine and flips from that photo to one of Elton Brand. I should have taken a photo of the Elton Brand shot, but rewinding and fastfowarding On-Demand programming is tricky. So I have a photo of the page before Elton’s. I came in to work today all fired up to figure out if this was really a SLAM image. I had a hunch this would be in SLAMups, the all-poster magazine, but that picture wasn’t good enough to get confirmation. I went to our storage room and found the magazine SLAM presents SWOOSH, our all NIKE player photo issue. (So I was close) The page with Elton Brand was familiar and I remember someone on the next page in a yellowish green uniform. Rashad Lewis was there. I turned back one page and there was Derek Fisher on the right and Jason Kidd on the left – the image you see on this page. McNulty is out of the game, so if Bunk needs a new partner, my detective skills are obviously on point. (Our intern Konate called me Officer Prezbo a few weeks ago though. Damn kids and their “jokes.”)

As for SLAM appearing in an episode and being used as a reference point for dialogue, this is a great accomplishment. The Pulitzer? The National Book Award? Oprah’s Book Club? The Nobel Prize for Literature? F all that. SLAM was on The Wire. Respect us.

Admittedly one of the reasons the show is so authentic is because they don’t cave to trends and force product placement in the episodes. This was understated, but I’d hate to see the show taking a commercial turn. I noticed two seperate Three Six Mafia songs being played over the course of the episode (one of them was Herc’s ringtone), and magazines DON DIVA and RIDES have been on the show, but the characters reading them don’t really talk about what they are reading. For example, there is a scene where Marlo is at his “office” flipping through DON DIVA. No disrespect to all the real life gangsters and killers that are found in the pages of that magazine, but being read by Marlo Stansfield might be the highest honor a piece of literature can recieve. He’s obviously read every book you’d expect from a leader with his degree of genius from the 48 Laws of Power to The Art of War to Jack Welch’s biography, and so on. Either that or he’s just a cold hearted genius prodigy who learned through life. Yes, I’m talking about a fictional character here, but whoever came up with this character got it right. And he might be fictional to you but he’s real to me. You see, all of this stuff I do in life, whether it’s working, sleeping, hanging out with friends or my girlfriend… it’s all just killing time until the next epsiode of The Wire. My favorite moments in life right now are:

1. Watching The Wire
2. The buzz you get at the end of the episode
3. The anticipation you feel when you’re about to watch an episode.
4. everything else in my life.
5. Knowing that it’s going to be a long time until I get to watch the next episode.

Furthermore, if there was a three on three game with one team being LeBron, Wade, and Melo and the other one being Marlo, Chris, and Snoop, I’m putting my money on the Wire side of the game. Chris and Snoop are easily my favorite killers in the history of TV. They’re like Jason and Freddy, or Frankenstein and Dracula, but scarier and not campy whatsoever.

I won’t give anything away about the show to those who aren’t watching this season for some reason, though there is NO reason not to watch. If Clay Davis wrote his memoirs, I would buy it and read it 20 times. On a show full of drug dealers and all this kingpin talk and corrupt cops playing office politcs, Clay is the ultimate hustler. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! Seriously, if you don’t watch this show, I can’t be friends with you. This season has replaced THE GODFATHER as the new iconic american gangster epic. Yeah I said it! Scarface, Goodfellas, New Jack City, Sopranos, your reign is over.

SLAM on The Wire. This is a great day.