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Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 1:00 am  |  119 responses

Links: SLAM 118: On Sale Now!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Dwight Howard!

by Lang Whitaker

The other day in the office, Khalid and I were talking about the All-NBA team. We were specifically talking about the center position, and about how even though Garnett and Duncan each really play center, neither of them is listed as a center in the box scores, so maybe they shouldn’t be allow to make the team as centers.

“Besides,” I said, “Dwight’s actually a center and he’s pretty ridiculous.”

How ridiculous? Look at his stats — he averages more defensive rebounds per game than Garnett does total rebounds. Dwight’s playing on the highest level he’s ever played, and as the NBA commercial notes, he’s still just 22.

Dwight’s still improving, but at the same time, he’s arrived. And it was time for SLAM to get up with him.

Dwight’s first SLAM cover was when he was in high school, and then again his second year in the “come-up issue.” But since then, nothing. So we wanted to flip it, and flip it real good.

As for the concept, well, you guys saw the dunk contest. We wanted to play off of that, and we wanted to create a cover that showed just how physically dominant Dwight is right now. Also, we wanted to reflect how since All-Star Weekend, Dwight was in another level of celebrity. So let’s make him fly, OK?

Once we got Dwight on board with the idea, we had to figure out how to make it happen. Since Dwight’s in Orlando, we called Universal Studios and got in touch with some special effects experts, and the next thing you know we had rented a photo studio in Orlando and had Dwight hanging from the roof by a bunch of wires. (And then we came up with the idea to have Dwight wrap around to the back of the cover, which our regular back cover advertiser adidas embraced as well.)

I wrote the story in the magazine, which isn’t really a story like you’re used to seeing — go buy a copy and you’ll see what I mean. And in the story I wanted to communicate what a force Dwight is becoming on and off the floor. When I met him, he was 18 years old and was getting ready to go to his senior prom. Today, Dwight has a new lucrative six-year extension with adidas which includes signature product and footwear. Dwight signed a multi-year agreement with vitaminwater (which included immediate benefits from stock options after Glaceau was purchased by the Coca-Cola Company). Dwight agreed to a partnership with Midway Games to be featured as their cover athlete for “NBA Ballers-The Chosen One” and will also be included in upcoming projects. In addition, Dwight signed a multi-year deal with Spalding, is a spokesman for Papa Johns Pizza and will soon announce a partnership with a major entertainment company.

Obviously, Dwight’s come a long way. When I was interviewing him for the story, I asked him if winning the dunk contest had taken him to another level as far as people really understanding who he is and wants to be.

“I think it did,” Dwight said. “People got to see some of my personality. I think a lot of people didn’t really think that I had a personality — they thought I was just a regular big dude, always serious. I wanted people to see that I love to have fun myself, to entertain and be entertained.”

Hopefully this cover helps. Also, there’s a lot of good stuff in this issue, from an essay by everyone’s favorite blogger Rod Benson to a Q&A with some guy named Larry Bird. It hits newsstands this weekend/early next week. Go out and get it!

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  • tealish

    I didn’t dig Dwight’s dunk, especially the Superman one which was way overhyped.. with that said, the extended cover does look awesome.

  • Ryan

    I agree. The Superman dunk was overhyped. Gerald Green should have taken the contest again. But still the fact he got his nickname from it made it memorable, its cool he knows how to have a little fun, and the cover looks amazing for 118.

  • http://goazcatsblog.com Justin Adler

    Wow. This is a really sick cover. Nice work and I can’t wait to read the article. I’m just curious did you touch on Dwight’s kid on the way at all?

  • Dane

    whooo, this cover looks like one of the best SLAM has produced! and ive seen em since 97′.
    dwight howard is the next gen type playa, raw power. love the new cover SLAM, good looking.

  • Captain America

    A bit misleading comparison, KG total rebounds are defensive ones. KG doesn’t get many offensive rebounds per game.

  • crack

    epic cover, probably the best you guys have done

    but the superman dunk wasen’t even a dunk!!

    if air up there(mr720) dunked like howard dunked the superman he could have gotten 1080 instead of 720

  • Hubert

    so did adidas double-pay for this issue? thankfully you guys DID NOT apply the red cape and S tanktop he wore during the contest

  • thesubwayconnection

    FREAKING AWESOME. That is all.

  • namik

    Great cover y’all. It was the best layup in the history of the SDC so I guess that deserves a cover. Seriously though, its about time D12 got another cover. Why is Shawn Marion in so many issues. Wasn’t he in the Kobe issue? Articles about him are always the same because dude is the same. Same issues, same gripe and now his team sucks.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Me Like…

  • Hubert

    wait ’til next season namik

  • peteb80

    Fantastic cover, but I guess it means the Magic won’t see the second round of the play-offs this year.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    simply a ground breaking cover/back cover.
    and for people complaining about the superman non-dunk, yeah technically it’s not a dunk, but the sheer showmanship/entertainment value/wow factor is one of the all time best. the best dunk was his behind the backboard dunk, but everyone WILL remember the superman throw down from years to come.

  • niQ

    thats a great cover! good job! can’t wait to receive the copy!

  • http://www.tasa201.wordpress.com Tariq

    For the second straight year, a superhero cover right before the playoffs. I like this budding tradition.

  • mikey

    Cover looks…..fly :P
    Although I think the last issue was pretty thin, I miss the SLAM magazine that had features on about 8 NBA players and was double the size (and half the price) that it is now.

  • Andy

    Ok, technically, it wasn’t a dunk. But, can you seriously call it a lay-up? That seems to be an extremely harsh description. It’s not like he flipped it in. He threw it down.

    Oh, and best cover ever. That is all.

  • reggie35

    I only recieved 117 a couple of days ago and already 118 is out,I suppose it’ll be nearly a month before it arrives;-(

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

    Also, he makes babies.

  • FLUXLAND

    Odd to see the tough guy face when he is always smiling. Or is that just for the SLAM covers?

    Congrats to Beckham… 1 goal 1 assist $250M. Thats Koncak money right there. Unreal.

  • FLUD

    Man… No pleasing some folks. Great cover. Can’t wait to get it.

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    great cover. not so great is getting a magazine 2 months after it was relevant in Aus. last cover was Bron 3 weeks ago. so were missing the next one. Also, how come this says 118 on the links but the picture annotation on the slam homepage is 119? i dont even know what 117 is. just venting.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Love the cover. I’m looking forward to seeing mine in the mail.

  • riggs

    i just got my mike beasley slam a few weeks ago :(

    btw dope cover, the way is body is positioned looks awkward though.

  • http://slamonline.com DRPend

    It’s decent. You guys are getting better every cover. But what will be the cover come playoff time? choices choices. play wit it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Eboy

    No cape?

  • http://slamonline.com/online/2007/12/orlandos-rise-to-the-top-of-the-east-its-like-magic/ Dan

    SICK!

  • http://www.gerentjits.com Gerwin

    Silence……
    Dope cover people! I agree with Eboy; where’s the cape?

  • MSkittle

    Awesome cover! It’s about time you guys did a Dwight cover again!

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I love the wraparound cover, definitely makes Dwight seem “larger than life”. Looking forward to reading your piece, Lang. You’ve got me curious now. As for the “Come Fly With Me”? That makes me smile every single time I hear it. Thanks, MJ.

  • Candyman

    Man, that’s nice. What slam should do is do a Mike Miller cover or at least something on him! Even Wade said Mike “Girl Hair” Miller was underrated. This guy gets NO RESPECT and it’s only because of his haircut. (and the fact he plays for a bad team with Kwame Brown)

  • http://www.myspace.com/bangonthetableproductions Alpha-bet

    Nice idea with this..cover looks cold..

  • andacagar

    When talking pure centers he is the best. No knock on him but there arent many good centers out there beside him, Yao, Chandler and Camby. Lets see if the young bucks like Oden and Bynum can step it up.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Wow. That was crazy. Now I’m gonna be compulsively scouring Toronto’s 7-11s and convenience stores everyday for the next 2 weeks.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Glad people like it. Mikey, the size of this one is solid…LOTS of good features, NBA and otherwise. Regarding the price, the LEAST SLAM ever cost was $3.95, in 1994, so today’s 4.99 i hardly “double.” Thanks Lang and go Dwight!

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Eboy

    Is it me or is Dwight giving off more of a Neo/Matrix vibe than a Superman one? Maybe he needed a long black trench and sunglasses. Also extremely cool how the wraparound ties right into the adidas ad for Dwight’s shoes. That’s efficiency at at it’s best.

  • DennLive

    Where’s the desktop background quality pics…I loved that from when slamonline first started…you need to bring that back. I’d love to get this pic of Dwight as a background…Make it happen….Please….

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Good idea…

  • BallaHolic

    OVERHYPED…just like that freaking annoying Soulja Boy song…

  • Jess

    sick cover..can’t wait till I get mine..

  • tony b

    Yes wallpapers without the lettering. Please?

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    Sick cover. One thing that still gets me though…HE DIDNT DUNK THE BALL! What Dwight did was still absolutely ridiculous and left me in awe, but I’ve been a little confused from the get go why the fact that he didn’t actually complete the dunk never really mattered. That said…Dwight, you’re the man; SLAM, you’re the mag.

  • http://www.rubensborges.wordpress.com Rubens

    (for comic book geeks) so what now? shaq’s the superman from earth-2 and dwight’is the one from earth-1… btw… great cover

  • k.o.

    i’m feeling the idea, but dwight looks kinda stiff – seems sorta obvious he wasn’t really moving. still the story sounds dope, lookin forward to finding this one in the mailbox

  • Big L

    Thank you for giving Dwight another cover. I’m glad he finally caught up with Telfair.

  • RV

    great cover

  • ciolkstar

    Enough with the Superman Dunk / not a dunk argument. Its a contest about showmanship and athleticism. Dwight smashed the scales on both. The flex at the peak of that jump is one of the sickest things I have ever seen though.

  • ciolkstar

    Not being a hater but I think some of yall are over reacting to how dope the cover is. Its nice but a little too much on the CGI tip, D12 does look stiff, and where’s the smile. Oh I forgot, “no smiling on SLAM covers” (unless your AI and Melo)

  • http://www.kb24.com Kobe24Bryant

    sick
    4 shrrrrr

  • DeMarco

    As the writer for Dwight’s last cover story, I must humbly say that this one looks 3X sicker. Helluva job, folks!

  • http://www.basketballboards.net dma

    sick!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I believe Lang is working on updating desktop patterns, including one of these. And for those wondering, Dwight was indeed flying, or at least hanging from a ceiling. The issue has a couple behind-the-scenes pics that will give you a better idea what an operation this was.

  • $HARP $HOOTER

    cant wait to get it in the mail….

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    No disrespect to Dwight,but I’m looking forward to the Larry Bird interview more.Great concept.Now,I must till I get the Beasely issue first.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    And that was one helluva lay up.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    people, if you are gonna keep on insisting it wasn’t a dunk (and it wasn’t), don’t call it a lay up – call it a LAY DOWN. it was going downward when i watched it, unless you have some special angle to see the ball going up.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    albie:I couldn’t care less about a dunk contest,I was looking for a reaction,thank you.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i absolutely believe this photoshoot was an operation. i mean, wire-hanging this gigantic 747?
    also a fun fact: the picture in the background (if i’m not mistaken) is the night scene in Hong Kong, the origin of all the wire-hanging kung fun movies.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    AJ, i was talking to the other people. i know full well you were messing around.

  • Dizzy

    Wonder if people are gonna find somethng racist about this cover…anyway can’t wait to get this issue…nice cover

  • Garett

    Regarding the price of SLAM, you shouldn’t really be complaining. It’s probably almost cheaper now than originally, considering inflation within the the past 14 years. Except if you live in Canada, and still have to pay the “Canadian” price of 5.99, even though our dollar is equal now to the US.

  • http://www.blogsketball.com Chris O’Leary

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the dopest SLAM cover ever. Dwight almost looks too big for the cover. Papa John’s is some good pizza. I like the little pepper that comes with it.

  • Alex

    Rodddd Benson mah boy!

  • Bendreizehn

    Dope Cover!!! Nice work guys!!!

  • http://its-mitch.blogspot.com Paps

    This is the first time I’ve seen Dwight not be smiling. Is it me or does it not look like him? I know is him but it’s a an odd angle and the scowl face throws me off.

  • http://www.slamonline.com andrew

    new issue???i have not recieved the gordon cover yet

  • Ian

    that cover is crazy

    major props 2 slam

  • chris

    How dare you reference that title! Im speaking of that Jordan movie from back in the day which is now on all those collectors edition 3 dvd sets. I loved the dunk and everything but come on SLAM, i thought you were better then that!

  • BxBaller

    That cover is awesome, can’t wait till I get my copy in the mail. Great job Slam.

  • Bryant Reeves

    This is so racist. Playing off the image of the flying black man. You should be ashamed.

  • Young Chris #3

    Big Country is funny.

  • http://www.workforstudents.com Adrian Zapata

    sweet cover, although i agree it wasnt a dunk. But it is a REALLY awesome cover.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    awesome cover (nice title too, was my favorite MJ video back then)

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    And Bird and Benson? Nice!

  • Crook

    WOW, the only thing missing is the cape. His superman dunk wasn’t a dunk but the showmanship made up for it. Larry Legend is in the new ish so I might not wait until it comes in the mail. Celtics #17

  • Eddy

    The superman dunk was technically a dunk …

    The definition of a dunk is a shot thrown downward through the basket, with one or two hands. (which is why D-Howard did)

    Nowhere does it say the hands needs to touch the rim, though that’s what people recognize a dunk as.

  • http://feza_53HOTMAIL.COM tom fary

    when is amare gonna be on a cover his stats are amazing lately.

  • http://feza_53HOTMAIL.COM tom fary

    when is amare gonna be on a cover his stats are amazing lately.

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like this sh*t. But the more I look at it, the more it captures my attention. This is one of the most creative covers you guys have ever made and I must but the hateration to rest. THANK YOU FOR PUTTING SOMEONE NEW ON THE COVER FOR A CHANGE. just venting. play wit it.

  • TMT

    Nice Jordan reference….

  • mustard

    loving the hong kong skyline in the background

  • tony b

    So SLAM enjoys hanging black men from ceilings on their front cover huh? tsk tsk….

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Like Kenny would say, “it’s sick, SICK. It’s got the flu!!!”
    One of the best covers you guys have ever had, cudos. Up there with the MJ black/white facial cover, the Nowitzki / Shaq “sin city” covers (thanx for the jinxes Slammers, appreciated) and lightyears ahead of Gary Payton squatting and ummm, barking?

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    still havent got 117 in aus.

  • memyselfand9

    great cover.

  • Drowzee#096

    I dont get wot is racist about it. Someone shed sum light on dis please

  • http://its-mitch.blogspot.com Paps

    Drowzee#096 The racist part is a joke.

  • jconn

    im jus excited for the DJ Augustin covergae-thanks!

  • FLUXLAND

    Paps.. that’s what I said about him not smiling…it doesn’t look right.It’s a SLAM thing.. they have to have these THUG LIFE faces on in order to make the cover. The Superman pose in nothing new either.. KG had a similar Adidas ad a few years back. KG was reaching for the ball though.

  • AK47

    Friiiiiday??????????????

  • Thomas

    I think there has been some plagerism from the Michael Jordan era.

  • Kieran

    nice cover guys! my all nba team…
    Chris Paul
    Kobe Bryant
    Lebron James
    Amare Stoudamire
    Dwight Howard
    dont think there can be much argument bout that!

  • Orlando

    ok I am not going to read all the comments, but I read the two first one, maybe someone replied, but to say that his dunks were overhyped and that Green should have one, that is just nonsense, the tap of the glass dunk is in the top 5 dunks of all time. Do you know how long he has to stay up there to complete that MJ could not have done that, maybe Nique and Carter, but that’s it…

  • Alex

    Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA right now

  • we dem hornets

    i love dwight howard..but the dude is on roids

  • jconn

    DJ Augustin=most slept on point guard, watch out!

  • LordGef

    Dwight is the man, but what got me excited about this cover is in the upper-left corner, where it says “Rasheed Wallace.”

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    then theres rafer alston…..TMAC poster! YEH!!! (and p2)

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    Marion was in the Bron Bron issue…. ironic that Slam did a story on him as a sun just before the trade…. ah memories.

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    hope the Sheed stuff is good…. 100

  • data187

    the sin city covers were the best ones ever…but this one is a close second.

  • Andrew

    PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THE SUPERMMAN DUNK AS A “DUNK”.

  • kruges

    unbelievable cover….its way 2 long since an inventive cover like this…also to ‘ryan’ who said gerald shoulda won…dude did basically the same dunk twice in a row and came up with nothing original compared to dwight..
    nyways great work here slam

  • Galo

    “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, recognize Johnny Blaze ain’t a damn thing changed.”

  • Drowzee#096

    ‘Paps says:
    Drowzee#096 The racist part is a joke.’

    oh okay my bad.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com andrew

    can’t wait for this issue

  • Lakers4life

    when does it come out for the subscribers?

  • Taylor

    where are the answers for the crossword puzzle????

  • Luke

    WHERE ARE THE CROSSWORD ANSWERS??

  • simoun

    hey!!! nice work to put the hong kong background. my hood!!!! but im filipino.

  • PISSED OFF

    IF I DONT GET THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS IM GONNA SWI TCH TO HOOP

  • PISSED OFF

    IF I DONT GET THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS IM GONNA SWI TCH TO HOOP

  • PISSED OFF

    WRONG BUTTON HIT IT TWICE

  • not the only one pissed off

    You can’t publish in the magazine that i used to love, that you’ll be putting the answers up on the site and not do it….especially when your making up words (i know u are, cos i’ve been stuck for days)…..basically I TOO WILL SWITCH TO HOOP IF I DONT SEE SOME ANSWERS

  • Forreal

    Forreal yo. That crossword has been driving me crazy. I NEED THOSE ANSWERS

  • http://bndestem.nl Alfred

    Is there anyway that we can get a wallpaper of the greatest cover of Slam of all time ? In the old days you guys had all these great pictures on your website. Please make one exception with this picture. Greetings from the Netherlands, home of Elson

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