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Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 at 2:19 pm  |  209 responses

Links: Whoops

SLAM 109 hits newsstands, starring two players sitting at home. Lang Whitaker says thanks a lot, Dirk and Shaq.

by Lang Whitaker

There are times when life hands you lemons and expects you to gracefully turn them into lemonade. And then there are times life gives you an entire truck of lemons and violently shoves them down your throat one by one, elbow-deep, as you try and suppress an urge to wretch. Welcome to life in the SLAM Dome at the moment.

To properly tell this story, we need to rewind back a few days, weeks and months, all the way back to the second week of March. We had just finished shipping SLAM issue 108 to the printer, and we sat down to plan out SLAM issue 109. Because of the way SLAM ships and prints and all that, we have to constantly be thinking a few months ahead. For SLAM 109, for instance, we had our story meeting in early March, before the Playoff match-ups had even been decided. The magazine is hitting newsstands as I write this, which means there was about two months between the time we planned it and the time the world saw it.

This is where it might have been helpful for us to have brought in a fortune teller or soothsayer. We knew SLAM 109 would be dropping just as the second round of the Playoffs was starting, so our cover guy needed to be someone on a team we felt confident would still be around. Also, the cover guy needed to be someone who would sell copies. This is an unfortunate reality of what we do here: Yes, our goal is to make money, which means while we can occasionally take a chance with a cover that may (Gilbert Arenas last summer before he blew up huge, Greg Oden in high school) or may not (Sebastian Telfair) pan out, more often than not we need to put guys on the cover that are, gasp!, popular.

Kobe? He was making his run of 50-point games at the time, but nobody felt sure the Lake Show would make round two. The Pistons? We knew they’d play well, but we weren’t sure how a Rip Hamilton or Chauncey Billups cover would sell. LeBron? Did him a few issues back. The Bulls? Maybe, but how many people around the world really know who Luol Deng or Ben Gordon are? Vince Carter? Did him a few issues back. The Spurs? Maybe, but they’re not the most dynamic athletes out there. Dwyane Wade? He was out with a bad shoulder and nobody knew if he would play again this year or not.

This left the Dallas Mavericks, and specifically Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk was being seriously talked about as the League’s MVP, and they were on pace to win close to 70 games. Plus, aside from a Josh Howard feature, we hadn’t done anything to acknowledge their amazing season.

So, Dirk got penciled in for the cover. We also decided to do a Tony Parker feature, to get the Spurs in the magazine. Plus we’d have our usual blowout coverage of the high school all-star games, our SLAM high school All-American teams, a dope old school feature on Johnny Moore (the Spurs pg in the ’80s who led the NBA in assists one season before contracting desert fever and having his career cut short) and a feature on the WNBA one decade in.

But we felt we still needed a little more star power to help move issues. Shaq, anyone? He’d returned from injury and was beasting people, carrying the Wade-less Heat to an 11-4 record in March. Plus a Q&A with Shaq is almost always worth reading, regardless of how well his team’s doing. And at that point in time you could easily argue that Shaq had returned to his dominant form of a few years ago.

I’ve mentioned this before, but part of what I’m doing in my new gig as executive editor of SLAM has been coming up with concepts for the cover. We’ve done over 100 issues of SLAM and the whole “guy holding a basketball and staring at the camera” just feels done, so I’ve been helping us try to flip it a bit. And trying to figure out a way to make Dirk Nowitzki seem cool was killing me.

For some reason I always seem to have better ideas when I’m not trying to think about a solution to a problem. I’ll be in the shower or watching TV or whatever and all of a sudden an idea will pop into my head. On the night of March 20, Ben, Russ and I went to the Nuggets at Nets game in Jersey. After the game we drove back into Manhattan and Ben dropped me off around Times Square. I was going to take the subway home but it was a nice night, so I decided to walk the 40-something blocks uptown to my crib. And about two blocks after I got out of Ben’s car, a thought hit me: Why didn’t we split the covers between Dirk and Shaq? Shaq always sells well, a photo shoot interview with Shaq would probably be great, and we’d be hedging our bet on Dirk — surely between Shaq and Dirk one of them would advance to the second round.

And with maybe the best player from each Conference on the covers, we could do the covers like a competing thing. I still have no idea why I thought of this — I assume it was because 300 and Grindhouse were dropping — but the vibe of Sin City came to mind: gritty, hyper-stylized, black and white, a dark alley, rain, etc.

So, we sent Jake Appleman on the road to catch up with Dirk and I missed the NCAA Championship game to head to Miami and sit down with The Diesel. (Yes, it was Shaq who wanted to buy my iPod.) Both guys sat for long photo shoots and interviews, and our photographer Nic D’Amico, who shot both Dirk and Shaq, totally nailed the whole Sin City thing.

Jake’s going to have more on Dirk later this week, but I can tell you that Shaq was terrific. we were scheduled to have an hour with him, but that quickly stretched into two and then on into three hours. He was funny, engaging, thoughtful, and I tried to talk to him a lot about his life away from basketball. I’ve got a lot of stuff that didn’t fit into the final story which I’ll run later this week, but here’s a quick excerpt from the mag…

ME: Do you ever stop and wonder why your life has happened to you? I mean, why did you turn out to be 7-3? Why did you turn out to be a great athlete and have a sense of humor and have millions of fans, and meanwhile you’re running down criminals and all this crazy stuff?

SHAQ: My life is how I programmed it to be. As a youngster I used to sit there and watch everybody. When you’re building your character, sometimes you can build it from scratch or sometimes you can cheat. I cheated. I took a little bit from everyone. I took a little bit of Ewing, Robinson, Hakeem, Jordan, the smile of Magic, plus my own juvenile delinquency. And there you have me.

SLAM: Do you ever get to spend time alone?

SHAQ: All the time. I’m a loner. Yeah I have kids and a wife and all that, but when I’m on the road I’m in the room watching TV. I’m always alone.

SLAM: It’s interesting to me that you kind of live a life without consequences. You can pretty much say whatever you want or do whatever you want and get away with it for the most part.

SHAQ: I live a life with minimal-slash-drastical consequences. For instance, Tim Hardaway probably felt that way. You know, he said something and now he’s struggling with that. So, I’m smart. However, I’m not going to let the system influence me on what I say. But you have to be smart about certain situations.

ME: Is there anything you’re afraid of?

SHAQ: No.

ME: At all?

SHAQ: No.

ME: What about something like the well being of people you love?

SHAQ: No.

ME: How do you have that self-assurance?

SHAQ: It’s not that I have self-assurance, it’s just that I’m programmed for everything. And then, I’m a believer that what you put into the universe is what happens, so I don’t put nothing negative into the universe. And then if something does happen, my skills that I’m programmed to do will kick in, if you know what I mean. So I’m not going to run around with bulletproof vests. You know what I’m trying to say.

(The picture above came at the end of the photo shoot. I had been standing around when Nic urged me to move in for a photo with Shaq. We were both just standing there when Nic said we should do something. Before I could even move, Shaq karate-chopped me across the chest, hard, and it nearly sent me flying across the underbelly of American Airlines Arena. Nic managed to snap a frame during the chop, which is the picture on the left. I love that picture — the bemused look on Shaq’s face, the stunned look on mine. When I regained my footing I tried to tackle Shaq, which was about like trying to tackle a cement wall. That’s the pic on the right. And if you want to get a sense of just how enormous Shaq really is, recall that I stand about 6-1. And Shaq’s waist is level with my armpits.)

Anyway, on April 18 we sent SLAM 109 away to the printer. Two days later the Playoffs started, and in the blink of a Steven Jackson and Luol Deng, the Heat and Mavs both looked like they were in trouble. When I arrived at work on Monday I tried to sneak past the office of our publisher, Dennis Page, but he spotted me and yelled for me to come into his office. Using many more profanities than I care to repeat, he asked if there was any way the Heat and the Mavs could get knocked out in the first round, rendering our forthcoming covers useless. No way, I assured him. Right? There was no way the Mavs and the Heat could both lose in the first round. That was why we’d done two covers, after all, to cover our butts in case something like that happened.

Well, it happened. SLAM 109 officially hits newsstands a week from today, with two covers featuring guys who are now sitting around watching the Playoffs on TV like the rest of us.

The thing is, I don’t feel too badly about it. Obviously we gambled and we lost, but all told, we still put together an amazing issue. There’s a ton of interesting stories in there, a lot of cool images (we managed to shoot OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose and Kyle Singler together, which took a herculean effort from our photo department). Finally, despite the fact that they’re not playing anymore, the Shaq and Dirk covers each really look phenomenal.

I can accept that we swung for the fences and ended up hitting something like a long foul ball. At least we swung, right? So, I have no beef with the way everything turned out. We did our thing.

Shaq and Dirk just didn’t do theirs.

Thanks a lot, Stephen Jackson.

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  • Ken

    1st?

  • Rohit

    Regardless of their respective playoff outcomes, I still commend you guys on your excellent work and covers.

  • BigWalt206

    Great covers…horrible timing…at least nobody can say SLAM cursed em’

  • http://www.neworleansnation.blogspot.com Toney Blare

    great covers, anyway. the ipod refusal, not so much.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Look at it this way: A year from now, you’ll only remember how dope these covers look and nothing about how horribly timed they are.
    Wait, never mind. You’ll still remember the timing. Dammit.
    They are lovely, though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Speaking of which: Susan, where the f*ck are my issues?

  • H to the izzo

    That Shaq cover is the best cover in the history of everness

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Ryan’s correctamundo. These covers can only make those guys look better right now. Theyre easily top ten all time. Maybe five.

  • Ken

    Those covers truly are beautiful, and really, who could have predicted in March that the Mavs and Heat would BOTH be out in the first round.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Indeed, Lang did his thing with the concept for this cover, and Nic and Melissa executed it perfectly. As for the two guys, the Dirk thing is so much more frustrating to me. The Heat losing wasn’t THAT big of a shock, and Shaq deserved the cover anyway as a sort of career achievement award. Plus, as Lang says, Shaq’s quotes are so good that a story on him makes sense 12 months a year. Dirk, on the other hand, didn’t give Jake much of an interview and hasn’t done enough to warrant a career achievement award. Quite simply, Dirk’s cover was us betting that he and the Mavs would win it all and we’d look good having him on the cover.

  • white hot eboy

    Lang, Shaq’s hand looks like it it’s trying to bring Employee #8′s head into the photo too. Lord, he is HUGE! Great job on the covers, when I saw Dirk’s I knew it was patterned after Sin City. Love Dirk’s quote on the cover “we’re not the hunted, we’re still hunting”. I think they’re still hunting. Are there any Mavs who handle a rifle that rival Karl Malone’s skills! Dirk should join Shaq in Dade County and they can hunt on-ilne predators together.

  • Silky Slim

    There’s a huge height difference between Shaq and Lang, in the pics. Shaq is “Mr. Roarke” and Lang is “Tattoo!” “Look Shaq….de plane, de plane!” You’re still the man, Lang.

  • Reggie Evans

    It’s not at bad as “Dewey Defeats Truman” … but it’s close … I kid. That magazine cover is nice … for me to poop on! We can always take the fake Whoo! cover, print it out and paste it on top of this issue.

  • Jeronimo

    Man, those Sin City-like covers are the dopest I’ve seen in a long long long time, if not ever. Congrats for a great job. As for Dirk and Shaq – you’re SLAM, you know you jinxed ‘em (hee, hee, hee, just kidding).

  • Dean (not the first guy)

    Great Covers!!!!!, not so great predictions though….
    to keep it safe just run a pic of the winning team the year before with “repeat?” on the cover like every other mag….lol

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    the covers do look great. You could say they illustrate what a monumental failure the Mavs were, because Dirk was at one point in his life deserving of this.

  • Colin

    I think the covers are good. I do not think it will matter that they are sitting at home reading the magazines instead of playing. I still want the magazine so problem solved?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Reggie: Our publisher would very much like you to print out the Whoo! cover and paste it to these covers…at least til the Playoffs are over. Also, I feel at least a little bit good about the fact that my editor’s letter expresses that if ever I wished I had the power to know the future, it’s while working on this particular issue.

  • Paniscus

    Man, Shaq is the coolest ever. The covers are nice too. Love the Sin City aesthetic.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Colin, if everyone’s attitude is as magnanimous as yours, yes, our problems are solved.

  • Chris

    What, no T-MAC feature?!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    slam readers have gone soft.

  • Sparker

    face it, you guys blew it big time. and is shaq plus dirk a radical cover idea in the first place? normally, lang, i’d bitch slap you for insulting ouy intelligence with this honey-encrusted spin job, but i have a rule: i don’t hit midgets

  • Sparker

    better?

  • http://slamonline.com mutoni

    much better, sparker.

  • Dennard

    First! Those covers are out of sight, I am still trying to figure out what happened to the Mavs.

  • 2G40

    The cover is tight! I Will definately get this issue. Who knows, five or ten years from now it might be worth some $$$$.

  • Bryant Reeves

    Still waiting on a Jazz cover. I guess the next one has to be GS though. I think the team covers look better than most of the individual covers – although these latest ones look sweet.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Khalid loves SLAM readers who hate the new cover. Or something.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Those covers are amazing. Too bad about the players on them. Re: Dirk hunting online predators. At least he’s already used to acting like a pre-teen girl.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    P.S. Y’all still should have done Kobe.

  • Cheryl

    Hey, it’s still two perennial all-stars. I hope the covers are regional, cuz my panties will be in a bunch if I get the Dirk cover! ;-)

  • Sparker

    shame u missed your window to do sam mitchell too

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    This is sick. And this has nothing to do with me being the resident Dirk apologist. It’ll be his ode to the MVP that’ll be unveiled this week and Shaq’s sendoff. Or something. Whatever, they look fantastic.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Things happen but nothing can detract from the hotness of these covers.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Bears come up to this cover?

  • H to the izzo

    Just to be clear your not trying to defend Sean Williams are you?If so,good luck you have your work cut out for you.

  • http://insidemacksmind.blogspot.com W. Mack

    Yeah, should’ve done Kobe. Shawn Marion perhaps. Him and that other kid.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I’ll let Ben Collins answer Izzo’s question.

  • tsmith7791

    Does this explain all the Warriors hate in the first round?

  • Sparker

    i was just kidding, sheesh. i think they look great, right down to the limiting of the colour palette, the subtle appearance of the rain through dirk’s jersey, the shooting from below to make them appear superhero-like… when i was a kid, i bought the sporting news, and if it was baseball season, they had a football player on the cover. i still read the whole thing, as i will dutifully read all of the dirk/shaq slam

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I don’t think it was hate for the Warriors as much as it was disappointment as BASKETBALL fans that a 67-win team showed up for a gunfight with an ice-cream scoop. Hell, I love the Warriors.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    You’ll see, Izzo. I wouldn’t call it a defense, but it’s certainly not an attack. I think (hope) I did a fair enough piece on him. Fair enough, at least, that he won’t murder me if he doesn’t get drafted. You’ll figure it out when you pick it up, HOVA.

  • http://insidemacksmind.blogspot.com W. Mack

    “Showed up to a gun fight with an ice cream scoop.”
    Wow…

  • H to the izzo

    Ben I think I recall you at one stage saying that he shouldn’t get drafted because of the whole no-offence thing and then I reffered you to Ben Wallace but you know……I hope he does get drafted because the NBA needs more crazy people(even if he is violent crazy)and who knows maybe Al Skinner will see the error of his ways and buy a new coat

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Ben Wallace didn’t get drafted either, so hey.

  • Co Co

    You should have just went with the Pistons.

  • H to the izzo

    It was more of a belonging in the NBA thing but hey,you got me in fairness—my tail is no longer wagging Thanks Russ!!

  • IllyPhilly6

    Better than the #32Iverson cover? Yes! These “new’ style covers are revolutionary! Awesome job.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Haha. And I don’t think any magazine cover ever will ever be better than Soul on Ice—but I’m a sentimental sort.

  • Bigi

    Tight lookin’ covers!Nice job guys…And I will get my Kobe-cover soon…Right?!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jake Appleman

    From front to back, it’s one hell of an interesting issue.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Sam, this conversation has me thinking: We need a bracket style cover to determine slamonline readers’ pick for greatest SLAM cover ever. I know we did it for 100, but that was too reliant on who was actually motivated enough to mail something. Can we make it happen? You guys seed the favorites and we’ll break it down from there… Don’t let us down.

  • Skillet Forilla

    Just think about how T-Mobile, converse, and all over DWade other endorsers are feeling right now. He shows up EVERY commercial break in the playoffs, but now at least it makes sense that he has time to golf, install new basketball hoops in poor neighboorhoods, do all the falling down and getting up he does, and spend the inordinate amount of time that he does with Sir Charles.

    Everyone getting this wrong, the whole Dallas and Miami stuff, is part of what makes this season and playoffs so special.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    As I stated last week, Skillett, DWade is the NBA’s version of Coach K in the Tourney: His commercials last longer than his team does.

  • http://deleted data187

    i prefer this cover:

  • http://deleted data187

    i guess html comments aren’t allowed.

    link to a better cover:
    http://www.rayko.org/jaxcover.jpg

  • Tom Jackson

    7’3″? I thought Shaq was 7’1″? Can someone clear this up for me, I’ve been a huge Shaq fan for years, this is really bothering me.

  • http://the-second-coming.blogspot.com Kyle S

    nah dude he’s 7’1″. Possibly shrinking.

  • Lorenzo Medici

    Super nice covers anyway, specially Dirk. Shaq maybe less , you have done him a lot before and i am not a big fan of him. Think it this way: its remarkable good timing to spot out the two favorites on the cover just when they bust. Its still the how the covers look and the inside that matters.

  • Cheryl

    Just read that the league told Don Nelson to stop bringing his beer to the interview room. Dang, I kinda liked that about him. It also made me stick around at 1AM(!) to watch the postgame interviews. They sure take the fun out–hey, where’s the fun police when we need them? You guys have a snapshot of Nellie with the Bud Light? Make that ish 110′s back cover!

  • Big L

    Horrible timing; dope covers. Will we see a Run TMC “Remix” cover: GS-Unit? Please no Kobe though.

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    1. “Ready Or Not…”
    2. “Whos Afraid of Allen Iverson?”
    3. “The Real Top 50.”
    4. “Showbiz & KG”
    5. “Soul on Ice”
    6. “100% Real Juice”
    7. “Jordan Forever”
    8. “Purple Reign”
    9. “Victorious B.I.G.
    10. “Iceman 2000″
    11. “The Chosen One”
    12. “The GOAT”
    13. “Roc La Familia”
    14. “The Takeover”
    15. “Winning is Everything”
    16. “Undisputed”
    17. “Season on the Brink”
    18. “Ten for Ten”
    19. “Free Ron Artest”
    20. “Here Comes the Reign”
    21. “96 Draft Remix”
    22. “Bron is the One”
    23. “Mike:The Interview”
    24. This one.
    25. I’m sure I forgot one.

    Those are mostly chrnological, but still my fav 25. “Man that’s a ugly sweater!” Oh wait, it’s just Carolos Boozer with his shirt off…

  • Tom Jackson

    Big L, that’s not going to be possible until the offseason issue, because if I were SLAM, there’s no way I’d bank on them advancing. They might! but SLAM can’t bank on that and have two moot covers in a row.

  • Tom Jackson

    Hey Max, is Shaq really 7’3″?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Settle down, Max. Nah, that’s lovely… perhaps we should plan on this as an offseason distraction. Sam, I await your reply.

  • O’Neezy

    Amazing covers… Everyone would have gotten a raise Dirk & Shaq managed to get out of the first round

  • plaidx2

    Dirk I will admit (though not a fan) he deserves a cover, but Shaq does not deserve a cover. Nash gets a cover – how can he not win with Amare, Marion, Diaw, Bell and Barbosa around him. Why on earth has Jason Kidd not been on the cover in forever? Dude led the league (by far) in triple-doubles this year and is averaging a triple-double into the 2nd round of the playoffs. Is he the best shooter? No – but he runs the whole game. Look at how he’s led the team this year (arguably his 2nd best season yet) – he has the never consistent VC the injured RJ, no Kristic and the useless Jason Collins (ok – he’s a decent defensive player – and that’s generous). Please we are way over due for a Kidd cover. Anyone else agree?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    For whatever it’s worth, there’s a Webber feature in here. That “cover” data187 linked to is dope.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Sure Ryan. Do you want me to send you all of the old covers so you can put that together on your blog?

  • whooo!

    just curious, but has the print times shrunk or expanded since you guys started doing monthly issues? it is pretty crappy w/ the timing, and which is also why i appreciate the online updates a lot, which has made the magazine a lot better as a focus of feature articles about guys, while we remain updated daily thanks to your efforts.

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    When they’re all on one poster they’re pretty easy to read. That thing has been in a desk drawer for months, figured I’d put it to use. A vote would be fun.

    Tom, huh? You’d be better off asking Lang. I have no idea.

  • Tom Jackson

    Okay, Lang… is Shaq really 7’3″?

  • G$

    Be Like Mike!
    Sure Shot!
    What’s My Name?
    Sin City!

    Please.
    Am I really the only adult Slam reader?

    Request: Please include more blinged-out fashion shoots and Marines adds. Cuz really, since the cover is all about whoring out hoops an’ moving product, once ya sell all those copies ya gotta make sure that the kids learn that life ain’t nuthin but bitches and money (and killin’).

    Thank God for Zirin, E Thomas and Agent Zero.

    Silver lining: Josh has plenty of time to shine his rims this summer.

    How ’bout a photo-shoot of Kobe, T-Mac, Shaq, Dirk and Josh all swimming a pool filled with platum and gold bobbles for the next cover?

    Matt Barnes to the bank, bitches.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    G$, new to the world of consumer magazines, it seems.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    And I said “offseason,” Sam. There will be no basketball to distract you, and all your TV shows will be on hiatus. But hey, if you’re too busy, I understand. It’s only your readers you’ll be letting down…

  • http://deleted data187

    thanks ben…glad you like my work…lol
    it would of been better if i had a pix of jax firing his gun in the air…j/k

  • Bobby

    Man Lang, you could of asked for one of his rings, that would have entertained you on the flight just as easily!

  • whooo!

    hey, the truehoop guy already linked put a post on regarding this post, titled: “the magazine industry can be tough.” i don’t think he’s tryin to instigate, but hopefully any publicity is good publicity?

  • William

    LOVE THE COVER…very neat and original.
    very prophetic covers. Shaq did get decimated by the Lawl Deng. and Dirk.. Dirk went out, only not in the right direction.

  • whooo!

    oh, n the truehoop guys doin the nickname game too, choosing tyrus thomas. i guess it’s not like you guys invented such notions, but still…

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    In his sneakers Shaq’s probably close to 7-3. In person he seems like he’s about 8-6.

  • Reggie Evans

    I think you guys should have done Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh …

  • http://www.sammyissocool.piczo.com bs on you

    the covers look nice, but i have a feeling that there is something wrong with them…

  • KB24

    Give kobe a cover slam.he deserves it. Give him one or i wont buy slam magzines no more

  • rob stewart

    I really like the covers, nice work. Don’t worry about the timing, who would have known things would have turned out this way. I would have thought you were crazy if you guys did a Stephen Jackson/Luol Deng split cover! Keep up the good work. These issues will never be forgotten. There has to be something to learn from all of this craziness

  • thomas

    great great looking covers..they negate everything about both of them not advancing to the second round.

  • Eoin

    Lang the cover designs look freakin awesome, it’s a really cool vibe, and I didn’t even like Sin City that much.It’s a pity it happened like it happened, but it’s not like this isn’t gonna sell that well.Ok, casual fans, not gonna buy this probably, but from reading these boards, you can tell Slam has a pretty hardcore base.Chalk this one up to experience, cos if these had dropped during the regular season, it would’ve been fantastic.It’s still one of the best designs ever.I can’t believe there was anybody in the Slam office rooting for the Dubs though!You guys were actively rooting against your own paychecks – now THAT’S commitment to great basketball

  • G$

    I’ve got it!!!!
    How ’bout an Anna Nichole Smith cover?!?
    She’s not around anymore either, and it’ll move product!
    Dolla dolla bill yall.

  • Delaney Rudd

    The Slam jinx continues…. Its a good thing for me that u don’t put any jazz players or ever have any Jazz features in the mag so my Jazz are save for the time being!!!

  • Reggie Evans

    Hiro could have teleported to the future and come back. But you probably wouldn’t have believed him anyway.

  • Zee

    Lang, Lang, Lang, I must apologize, i realize it was not hate that fueled your rants, it was mistaking Dirk for someone who would lead a team in the postseason. Simple misunderstanding, I mean hell there are THOUSANDS of fans in Dallas who think the same thing…or do they? And maybe Shaq chopped you hard cause he noticed the grimy sweat puddles under your arms. Ewwww.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Zee: I was waiting for someone to notice that.

  • http://slamonline.com Justin H 23

    Yea…It Kinda Sucks Bout The Covers….They Prolly Are The Best Covers Ive Ever Seen Though

  • IllyPhilly6

    LOL GROSS!

  • j. ellen

    “And trying to figure out a way to make Dirk Nowitzki seem cool was killing me.”

    Lol!

  • http://hotmail.com 8-Ball

    thats a sweet cover and shaq and dirk are both good players or one of them was,atleast,but forget about them now and concentrate on dwade. nice short shorts,sexy…….would charles barkley still be considered a normal person if he didnt show dwade his old game videos in his mansion? aand doesnt dwade have anything else to do?i mean thanks to him last year the heat were able to win a title,and him being team leader youd atleast think that hed get past first round,and you cant deny that you arent team leader for the heat cuz shaq definately cant be leader hes a center, and in most cases centers cant easily carry teams by themselves.tmobile need new spokespeople, and chuck,stop b*tchin about which one of you is better than the other,its dwyane,he actually won a ring.someone should ask magic and kg if they could do something with tmobile,i think alot more people would like that alot more than watching cbark doing a simple power dunk and wade commenting on his shorts,think about it.

  • KMG

    The Sin City theme is lovely…thanks SLAM

  • the de la menthe

    Man, I can see the SLAM crew, especially Lang, being so traumatized by these events that they do a Spurs cover next.

  • James

    You guys trying to outdo SI?

  • 2G40

    WHO’S THE BEST ATHELETE IN THE WOLD?
    The boy’s over at fox sports, and BDSS say…KOBE.

  • Drolfe

    Has anybody asked who’s getting which issue yet? Subscribers getting a particular cover? Cause i might go ahead and ask it now..

  • Poona

    Lang, I would have taken the whole “what you have in your wallet”. Shaq probably carries a briefcase with him anyway, not a wallet, you could have bought 1/2 of Apple with it.

  • bert

    man beautiful covers, love what you guys did with them. Keep up the good work.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @de la menthe: Actually, the next cover’s even cooler and there’s no way it ends up irrelevant…unless the SLAM curse hits again!

  • IllyPhilly6

    yea are the covers regional??

  • bootlace

    Is that excuse that you had to plan the cover 2 months ago suppose to make this all better. I mean maybe its time you guys rethink your production process…its not like you’re magazine is about rocket science, with proper planning Im sure you wouldnt have to predict too far ahead.

    Anyways I dont even care about that, but what I have noticed is you guys keep saying how you need to have a cover with someone that ‘sells’. Wow..really? I mean is that how SLAM is where its at today – was Larry Johnson the most sellable cover in issue one? I dont think so. For some reason you guys have sold your soul like 50 cent and are content on making crap content for some extra cash. I think there’s plenty of magazines already for those fans that want to see Dirk/Lebron/Wade every month.

    But hey, you guys probably have some marketing research to back this up, if the core audience of SLAM is these mainstream superstar-hypnotized readers then maybe I had SLAM wrong all along.

  • Drolfe

    There’s one on every comment board..

  • http://immortald24.bravehost.com ID24

    Why couldn’t you guys finally give Kobe his own cover?

    thats what you get… you guys didn’t want to take a chance on a kobe single cover because of what happend in denver? you guys are beyond pathetic.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Bootlace — not to speak for the better Ben here, but if we wanted the mainstream superstar we would not, in any way ever, pick Dirk Nowitzki to grace our cover. He is too passive. We would be running Kobe/Arenas split covers instead. If we really wanted that mainstream feel, would we really roll out Conley, Mayo, Beasley and Williams as teasers? These are just stories that you need to know. It has nothing to do with whatever stream it’s on and it never has.

  • g

    nice work on the covers. i dig.

  • FLUXLAND

    Nice opening Lang…i hear ya man! Some sugar with them lemons, sir?
    Covers are DOPE !! Usually, I’m highly critical but no complaints here this time. Kind of a sucker for black and white, I guess.

    Also, is farmer Jones right? Is the NBA doomed?! I consider myself a hardcore NBA/hoop fan but I can’t find anything to catch my interest in the second round. OK maybe GS but when they are playing Utah..well… UGH! I have a feeling, after the playoffs are done, that these are going to be the least watched playoffs ever since all the big names got bounced in the first round.

  • bootlace

    Your right Ben, the stories I’m definitely looking forward to reading, it was just the cover that I had beef with. I think its clear that with SLAM, the cover is not just ‘a cover’ – it represents/symbolizes so much more, and even players themselves take pride in gracing the cover, its like an underground player of the month award. So when Lang came out and said again that SLAM makes covers based on profit margins (few exceptions as he mentioned), then that ‘magic’ of the SLAM cover was all but lost for me. But anyways I can enjoy the mag without the ‘cover’ aspect, guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

  • Mehmet

    SLAM Curse! Even before the magazine came out. The curse is stronger now.

  • LordGefroh

    Did someone actually just lobby for an Ason Kidd cover? You know SLAM wants to sell magazines, right?

  • Ben

    What a genius cover. What a waste using it on Dirk Chokewitzki.

  • Nothin_personal

    Why would you need the cover to decide whether or not to buy the mag? It could help with first-time readers (Ibought a copy solely cause it had Payton on it -little did I know- and I am down since then). I HATE half your covers, I think that 2/3 of the publicized-guys-covers are irrelevant and have no taste at all, but I still buy, cause I know, the good stuff are inside.
    Gotta say I loved the last few covers though, including the last couple about to drop.

  • 1hush D

    First of all Lang, you did not “gamble”……going with Dirk and Shaq was not a gamble. It was indeed you pushing your product. Congratulations! I am buying your product. But, I already have a subscription so I am buying your product without seeing what it is so you could gamble but maybe it is the other guy you want to please.

  • Nothin_personal

    Everybosy is so nice,ppl say they like the “art” in those covers, then Khalid kicks in and all hell brakes loose. I lov the SLAM staff!

  • 1hush D

    I may have to suspend my subscription because SLAM mag told me that the Marines need me – cannot get SLAM at the FOB. I wish you could market your mag and keep it real but I guess you are getting soft with the comfort of your easy American lives where war don’t matter and it is ball and sin city bitches all of the time. Just tell me what military outfit I should sign with and what shoes will get some titties in my face………….”runaway slave watching the north star, shackles on my forearm, runnin with a gun in my palm, I’m AWOL”

  • 1hush D

    Oh, and another thing. Shaq is a Jackass! You may continue your suck fest of the diesel.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Gerwin

    SLAM, Nice covers! Dope layout! Too bad about the fact that Dirk and Shaq are on it, but let it be!
    @Lang, great to see that it’s so much fun to be around the BIG fella. He sounds a bit like the Terminator. “I’m programmed to…..” Good to see that this brings so much fun to work! Keep up the good work!
    Oh yeah, about the SLAM curse. Even though it’s been a long time ago that TMac was on the cover. He is still feeling the effects of the curse. Peace!

  • ktokyo

    Lang, you seriously need to invest in an iron.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    What the hell is an “iron”?

  • http://www.2o2p.com Derik Jones

    The layout of the covers is excellent. The focus of the covers…

    Not so much.

  • German Reignman

    Great covers, like em a lot …..
    Please guys, make sure you ship the Nowitzki version to Germany, O.K.?

    Iron: ktokyo probably means Lang should start pumping iron …

  • bja

    Example 1,000,000 why the web has supplanted print magazines.

  • James

    How the heck is Shaq the best player in the East, as suggested? He shouldnt even have been an All-Star!

  • Nothin_personal
  • Nothin_personal

    Check this, guys. Feel free to use it as your desktop,(or not).
    http://bp2.blogger.com/_uABtSKSB8RA/RkGoQTp-Z_I/AAAAAAAAAAc/Iu6hJzYVgPI/s1600-h/Slam+desktop.jpg

  • http://www.friendster.com/sesa Sesa

    SLAM curse strikes again!

  • K22C

    OldSpice Redzone Lang…. it will do the trick.

    The covers are ballin’, but no matter how hard you try you cannot make Dirk look hard. Dirk is a softy. As for Shaq.You can never go wrong with him.

    Random Thoughts
    -Cuban makes big offseason moves
    -GoldenState ties it up tonight
    -Sam writes really short posts
    -Music must be Lang’s life
    -I hate being in school when it’s nice out
    -You guys need a better Nickname for GoldenStates bad boy Jackson..S-Jax and SteJax aren’t cuttin it
    -I’m Pumped for the Kobe Atricle, Wonder who the poster will be?
    -Paris Hilton is Sex

  • J

    Dirk Nowitzki is Steven Seagal?

  • http://www.basketballrocksalot.piczo.com michael jordan

    i just want to say these covers are sosweet i cant even put it into words i meen good on slam for guessing i was with those 2 teams all the way 2 (well at least miami) dirk can go and hide in the lake they found him in dirk is a wimp and every1 knows it so dont try to back him up

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Great work by Nothin’ Personal.
    To answer a few questions: The covers are an “A/B split,” meaning every cover should be at every newsstand. Can’t consider Shaq a “regional” cover so we wanted him nationwide.
    Subscribers will get the Dirk cover (again, on our erroneous thinking that he’d be more likely to still be playing through the Finals).
    As for the obsessing over who’s on the cover, it seems like Slamonline readers love the mag enough to cop it for what’s inside, but the reality is (for us, and pretty much EVERY other newsstand publication) that who is on the cover has the biggest influence over “most” potential buyers, many of whom in (in our case at least) are still not regular users of the website. Glad people like the design.

  • Redrum

    I am a subscriber in England… Can I have the Shaq issue please? It just looks sooo much cooler…

  • Cheryl

    Man, so that means I gotta buy a newstand issue to get the Shaq cover. That’s 2for1 guys– appreciate the love!

  • niQ

    maybe next year you should do a cover of someone not in the playoffs during that time..LOL

  • dez

    Ahaha, Dirk AND Shaq? SLAM, you sure do suck at life.
    The next one better be BDiddy/Whooo in some sort of “Giant-Slaying” outfit

  • Melissa Brennan

    Nic D and I thank everyone for the nice comments on the visuals. THANKS!!!

  • Atomic Sushi

    why the hell doesnt slam do a yao ming or tmac cover? they’ve been killing man. especially yao. its been a long time.stepup slam!

  • Reggie Evans

    Lang should have bought a new Ipod, loaded it with his songs, and then sold it to Shaq for 10K US.

  • bootlace

    Yaos been killin… alot of ants on his way to the deck after those countless rejections hes eaten.

  • G~baby

    look at the matchups tho…shaq or yao…SHAQ anyday…hes all around better…bigger stronger a finisher…he cant be stopped…sure yao will beat him at the line but shaq daddy cant be stopped

  • Karan

    too bad for the untimeley covers…
    but the covers are really really cool… slam, you’ve outdone yourself in creativity again… of course, you’ve also outdone yourselves in the curse

  • Ron

    Dare I say that Karma bit you in the Ass. You didn’t give Shaq what he wanted (The IPod), so in his terms, he programmed the universe not to grant your wishes. Shaq is He-Man Master of the Universe.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    No doubt, Ron — I’m sure Shaq wanted Lang’s iPod much more than he wanted to get out of the first round.

  • lg

    You guys shouldn’t feel so bad, I was in the bookstore last night and all the NFL Draft/Football magazines had Brady Quinn on the cover.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    As I wrote in that earlier post, I didn’t want to sell the iPod to Shaq because I had just been given a new laptop and hadn’t been able to back up everything on my iPod. Yes I could’ve taken the money and copped a new one and bought a ton of music for it, but I have a lot of stuff (prob 300 or so songs) on my iPod that was given to me by my office mates at XXL that’ll never be available in stores or on iTunes, and I didn’t want to permanently lose all that music. No regrets there.
    As for the sweat, it was Miami. You guys didn’t watch Miami Vice?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    In fairness, Lang, you sweat like that in New York in December, too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    I am swamped down here and just got a chance to look at the covers, I felt like the story Kanye told on his College Dropout album cause just like Jay-Z did I took a Lacoste bucket hat, pulled it over my eyes and went “woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” That’s good work.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    I guess not just like Jay-Z did but I can’t afford Gucci, Lacoste was a gift… nahmean

  • AIDONIA

    I’m from Jamaica and I hate dirk he is the worst MVP candidate in the history of basketball Dirk definately doesn’t deserve no cover after such crappy performance in the playoffs, Steve Nash should be MV3 now that’s a true baller this man is amazing. What kin of choice was that for a cover: two superstars went to the finals then choked in the finals and you guys chose to put them on the cover of slam magazine. please put this trash talk because Dirk needs to that even the paople in Jamaica thinks he sucks.

    P.S.
    tell steve nash that he needs to come to jamaica to do a basketball camp in the summer.

  • AIDONIA

    tell nash to go to belairschool.com and get the school number then get the number for coach mike stevenson, if you are wondering why belair school, it is the number one basketball high school in jamaica it when undefeatde in this year,s season.

  • AIDONIA

    Lang put ma entry in trash talk man

  • AIDONIA

    Look out for Samardo Samuels he tha best high school baller next year and he from jamaica plus Justin day and Neveij Walters you will hear about them and they will be in punks very soon

  • Phil

    That’s what SLAM gets for cycling through the same damn cover athletes.CHANGE IT UP, SLAM!It’s getting old!

  • Théo

    The covers of this issue look amazing!

    Which is great since the Suns cover looked just like and old Master P album cover…

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Lang – There are far too many comments on here for me to read and figure out whether anyone has called you out yet. Either that or I am lazy. In any event, nice pit stains in the picture on the right.

  • k.o.

    Soooo…will the covers have that word bubble circa the old school Batman show that reads ‘we’re still hunting’. It’s on the Dirk pic, but not the Shaq one…i’m just saying

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    That’s a quote from Dirk. Which is why it’s not on the Shaq one.

  • j. ellen

    I actually think the whoops makes the Dirk cover more interesting. The Mavericks bore me but this cover is funny. ‘We’re the huntes’ and ‘out for justice’ and whatever – it’s funny, and kinda makes the cover a great souvenir

  • 1hush D

    Lang, what is that stuff on your upper lip? Did shaq put that there?

  • joey feir

    DAMN! THE BEST SLAM COVER LAYOUT EVER! ER, IS FRANK MILLER A COLUMNIST OF SLAM NOW??? HAHA!

  • Will Lee

    great article also, Lang.

  • DaHataCreata

    Why isnt SLAM like a normal mag that creates their stories in sync with whats happening in real time. I don’t want a ‘June’ issue with ‘April’ content. Other than that I love SLAM, but that really irks me.

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    You forgot the caption from that pic of Shaq on the right: “Birdcage 2: Miami Heat”.

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    Oh wait. But would that mean Lang is the Robin Williams character..? He does have the appropriate ‘tache…

  • CBeezy

    DaHataCreata has a point there.

  • cameron

    i like how in the magazine it said that you guys were going to put people on the cover that you knew would still be in the playoff but i dont see anyone on these covers that are still in the playoffs

  • cameron

    great covers though hmmmmm melo and ai would really look good in that rain hint hint knudge knudge maybe next year when they win the championship you guys are still the best magazine ever

  • Elias Williams

    I think that this SLAM CURSE has continued.Shaq and dirk are out of the first round.But you know who needs a cover, Baron Davis he was going off on the mavericks.

  • J-roc

    I’m getting my’s from sneaker villa

  • Mr. 416

    Has a Toronto Raptor ever been on a cover ? except for “Wince” Carter…..

  • Zero

    Golden State Warriors seriously need a title.

  • Zero

    Golden State Warriors seriously need a cover.

  • P-MAC

    the covers are ok, looks more like a comic book background but i’m not complaining it is akward to have a cover with shaq and dirk when their gone fishin but idk what else could you guys have done ??? let me guess a Detroit pistons cover maybe chancey or a Golden state warriors cover with B-davis would have been perfect but its all good i mean who knew dirk and shaq would be eliminated so early???????????

  • Connor

    WHERE THE FCK IS TMAC? I MEEN HONESTLY WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THAT HE GOT ON THE COVER…HE BUSTS HIS ASS ALL YEAR AND U DONT GIVE HIM NO COVER???!!! B.S.??!!!

  • Lazy Lew

    all i got to say is a 300-themed cover, with the helment & shield & cape & everything. possible candidates:
    1. baron davis as leonidas w/ the warriors as his troops
    2. rasheed(SHEED!) wallace as leonidas w/ the pistons as his troops, or even
    3. jerry sloan as leonidas w/ the jazz as his troops

  • RT

    The cover is tight I cant wait to get my hands on it. Yall keep on doin yall thang, I dont care whos on the cover I cop it regardless.

  • http://wwwslamonline.com suns fan

    what the fu*ck r u doin putin shaq on the cover

  • http://Slam MoJo

    When is Baron Davis Gonna get a cover?Or atleast a slamup of that dunk he did on AK-47.

  • http://slam MoJo

    But on the on the other hand nice job!

  • http://SLAM KeV kEv#15

    Why did they put Dirk and Shaq should of put that tight dunk what Baron Davis done all over AK-47.

  • http://slam MoJo

    oops muh bad i typed (on the) twice and Kev…didnt i just say that.lol.

  • http://yahoo wade03

    nice covers

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com Mush

    “how many people around the world really know who Luol Deng or Ben Gordon are?” I will have you know that Deng and Gordon are known all accross the world!!!!!!

  • sp

    sick cover but im sick of reginal covers

  • g~baby

    the shaq cover was off the chain he has been tearing in up for years and deserves more recognition….when they lost dwade he basically took over the team and with dwade ppl called it dwades team but now its supermans team

  • Goat

    Who is the dude in the red Raptors jersey #31 in the prison dudes photo collage in the new issue??? It’s Charlie V’s old #, but this white boy has hair!

    I’m stumped.

  • Tha Truth outta Minnesota

    I think its about time that the spurs get a cover!!!!
    Game 6 is tongight (spurs vs suns) and the spurs are gonna win, SHOW THE SPURS SOME LOVE AND GIVE THEM A COVER!!!!!

    and everyone stop hating

  • HD24

    the cover was alright
    it should have been kobe on the cover
    #1 playa in the NBA
    i mean com’n
    he scored 40 and higher points 5 games straight
    or maybe u guys have been taking sips of the hatarade too

  • willis

    whos in the slamups this issue?

  • tike

    by far top 3 worse slam covers!!….nice job idiots

  • john

    i got the magazine on saturday, it’s fine, but the best thing it has is a kobe bryant poster, i think it’s time for kobe to get the next slam magazine with his new number and tones of posters.

  • tike

    SHUT UP!

  • http://ecentecentdesigns.com E-Low

    Where can I find the New Era AllStar Cap Design Template and entry form??? Somebody… Anybody.

  • JH8

    Tell Dirk To Retire and Let DEVEAN GEORGE play power forward (even though DG is a SF) do a feature on belair high ja.

  • Chris

    I’ve always said the Duncan and the rest of the spurs get no respect from anyone.All they do is win games and championships. I once saw a issue with Smush Parker on the cover. SMUSH PARKER?!!! What has he done? How does he deserve a cover and not Duncan, or Manu, or the much better Parker, Tony? Forgive me if there has been a spur on the cover before. I’ve just never seen it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/nowitzki Yves

    Dirk got MVP, despite the fact that he didn’t move on, but he still deserved it

  • patrick Langenbach

    The Dirk cover rules!!

  • http://aol darren

    3 words guys
    baron
    davis,
    damn!!!

  • will

    WHERE THE F*CK IS THE NEW ERA TEMPLATE?????

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  • michael

    the cover is nice but the mavs are sitting at home right now while the cavs play the spurs for the chapionship

  • http://nba.com Muazam

    What no articleon warriors they deserve credit

  • ab

    al i have to ay bout dirk is BALLIN!!!

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