Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 1:35 am  |  41 responses

Links: Magic Tricks

Also, Kobe Bryant in “The Crucible”!!

by Lang Whitaker

The funny thing is, over the last few days, ever since the Hawks knocked out the Bucks, I’ve found myself suspecting that the Hawks might do OK against the Magic. I knew what was what. The Hawks beat Orlando the last time they played, in Atlanta, on a last-second dunk from Josh Smith. But every other time they played, the Magic drilled the Hawks, winning by an average of something like 25 points.

But these Hawks are a confusing bunch. Just when you think they’re done, they roar back and bash Milwaukee two games in a row.

So the obvious thing to do in this Orlando/Atlanta series was pick Orlando, right? That’s why I was thinking the Hawks might at least throw a wrench into things. I didn’t want to jinx anything, so I only told two people that I was feeling this way. (Granted, one of those people was the terrific radio host Bob Haynie in Baltimore while I was on his show, so I guess some people might have heard that.)

And then the Hawks came out tonight and just got their butts handed to them. Orlando was awesome, running their pick and rolls, making the extra passes, rotating on defense, finding Dwight, etc. I’ve been watching them a lot the last three years, and this was as good as I’ve ever seen Orlando play. At the same time, it was as bad as I’ve seen these Hawks play. As a Hawks fan, good god was it painful to watch. Everything that could have gone wrong for Atlanta did. As I said earlier, the Hawks are the masters of doing what you don’t expect. I definitely didn’t expect that.

Frankly, it was embarrassing. The Hawks lost by 40. Forty! And we’re supposed to be a contender. Ugh.

Now watch the Hawks come back and win Game 2.

• Speaking of Milwaukee, as I was earlier, did you guys see this video? Some fans in Milwaukee were in a bar watching Game 7 of the Hawks/Bucks series, and two actual bucks crashed through the glass doors of the bar.

What’s even more incredible to me is that once the deer were in the bar, they were wrestled to the floor by patrons. People in Milwaukee are gangsta.

• About that Kobe photo shoot. We here at SLAM are constantly trying to come up with ways to present athletes in different ways. But this recent Kobe photo shoot was really, really, really, really over the top. To that point that it became a talking point in a negative way. I’d never heard of the LA Times Magazine before this shoot, and as a magazine editor myself, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the way you’d like people to first hear about your publication. TNT did an entire segment with fake photoshopped images from that shoot.

And then this interview with the stylist they hired is even funnier, because the stylist says he was trying to invoke Tupac. Wait, was there someone named Tupac in “The Crucible”?

“I wanted to give a modern approach. I was thinking of [rapper] Tupac [Shakur] where I put a band underneath in the hat to make it look hip-hop, but … it translates in a surreal look where it creates a strong image. It was something that hasn’t been done before. It’s mixing the inspiration of Tupac and a gentleman with a white hat … a mix of a hip-hop and a conservative look.”

First of all, nothing in this photo shoot is hip-hop whatsoever. And a conservative look? By making Kobe look as though he was one of the settlers at Jamestown? Or as if he were a droog from “A Clockwork Orange”?

You know what? Honestly, it’s just a bad photo shoot. Hey, it happens. As a magazine staff, you’re just not supposed to let it happen when you have access to one of the most famous athletes of all time. I understand you want to make a splash, to do something that brings attention to your publication. But by attention I don’t mean peals of laughter and scorn and ridicule. And tonight after the Lakers game they asked Kobe about the shoot, and he said, “It wasn’t what it was supposed to be.” Which doesn’t strike me as a ringing endorsement for his future collaboration with that magazine.

I also understand some athletes or celebrities want to do things outside the box occasionally, things that make them look different and could make the public reconsider the way they view that athlete. (Credit, or discredit, to Bomani Jones for finding that cover.) But if anything, looking at this shoot made me thankful that we have a such a good team here at SLAM. I remember when I first started at SLAM, trying to brainstorm a photo shoot concept. I threw out some crazy idea, and our creative director at the time explained to me that these guys have fans who want to see them. As a result, you should make them look like them, maybe with some sort of minimal twist to make it relevant or interesting. But at the end of the day, Kobe should look like Kobe.

And I think we’re pretty good at that.

• Also, Lakers > Jazz.

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  • Jer Boi

    that photo shoot was crazy. Don’t know how Kobe agreed to it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    fire woodson

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

    it was all t-mac’s fault.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    That Security cam footage of the bucks was amazing. #fearthegoddamndeer indeed.

  • G I I

    yeah… dunno how the heck kobe went along with those shots. yikes.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    The one with Kobe wearing that hat ensemble is straight up disturbing.

  • David

    The best Kobe cover shot is the one with the black/purple uni

  • jer

    LOL albie1kenobi

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

    Can’t top the snake cover. That, along with the Lebron “logo” cover, is probably the best one you guys’ve ever done.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Man, Mike Woodson didn’t even know what to say tonight. He was just sitting in the timeouts looking at all the players like “Really?” Too bad for the Hawks, I hope they come back and make this a series. And Milwaukee is definitely gangsta if deer can just run through a door into a bar, and then the people inside the bar tackle the deer. Ridiculous.

  • andrew


  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Pause, slo-mo, rewind, slo-mo, pause. They’re just two big greyhounds!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Sorry bout the Hawks, love the deer video, and amen to your comments about us and SLAM. We seem to never have these type of photo problems. If Kobe wants to do a career retrospective that makes him look cool, showing all the shoots he’s done with us would be his best bet by far. Someone should do an issue that shows all his old articles. Don’t you think?…

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Hot Topics

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    damn right SLAM. Show those newbs at LA times what’s what.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I meant us and Kobe, but yeah, point is the same. Glad Melvin Ely agrees.

  • Torrance

    What I really like about Slam, is that everybody’s always so extremely modest about their accomplishments. Really, you guys should pat your backs more often.

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    lang, the link on that cover bomani jones discovered is broken

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    the link to the bomani cover is broken

  • Torrance

    Great, I’m messing up grammar while I’m being ironical. I better shut up now.

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

    @Ben Osborne: Haha you guys DID have that “angry snarl” Gary Payton cover. Nowhere near as horrific as this LA Times mess, but in all good humor that was pretty hilarious in retrospect.

  • mj23

    Lang, your Hawks will be swept. I can guarantee you the Magic will be in the Finals. Cleveland and Boston will go 7, and the winner of that series will have nothing left against the Magic, so Magic move on to the Finals. It will either be a Spurs/Magic or Lakers/Magic finals.


    hey, a-holes: tupac WAS a gentleman in a white hat!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker
  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    settler at Jamestown haha

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    I thought The Crucible was Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials. At least, thats what i read for English this year. I dont recall tupac being in it.

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

    The one in the hat reminds me of an effeminate version of Boy George.

  • Fat Lever

    Michael NZ, when you were saying “Pause, slo-mo, rewind, slo-mo, pause”, I thought you were referring to the Kobe cover, not the deers, because there aren’t enough pauses in the world to make up for that. You know, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • The D Train

    @Ben: That Kobe-issue is a great idea. You guys have been around long enough to maybe do something like that for a small number of players. Like 12 issues, each one focusing on just one dude. Old Slamadamonth’s, old articles, old photos. I bet people would totally scoop those up.

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

    @D Train: except for the kobe-haters.
    anyway, is there anywhere on the web where we can hear that interview of kobe saying “it wasn’t what it was supposed to be” and the Inside the NBA crew clowning him? unfortunately NBA.com doesn’t have that clip.

  • Bruno

    great Kobe slam covers

  • The D Train

    albie…Kobe-haters wouldn’t buy a strictly-Kobe issue, but I bet you could sell them one on Lebron. Or KG. Or Nash. Or Wade. Also of note, Kobe does have the top-selling jersey in the league, so it’s not like you wouldn’t sell a few Kobe issues. (as for me, I’d pick up all of them, simply because I love re-reading old sports interviews and articles. With hindsight being 20-20, they are often pretty entertaining)

  • The D Train

    Also, I think it’d be a great way for Slam to increase their readership. Some kids that don’t have the exposure to Slam (I know, it’s crazy to think they might be out there) would still cop issues based on their love of the particular feature. Imagine as a kid who has never heard of Slam, walking into the local grocery or book store, scanning the rack and seeing an entire mag dedicated to your favorite player, complete with old write-ups and photos. Maybe I’m a out-of-touch old codger at 33, but I would have been creaming in my T&C shorts for something like that when I was but a wee lad.

  • jay

    yeah that photshoot was terrible! you guys always do great photoshoots with KB! hands down! love the american flag than the los angles script a few years back!!! holla at em!

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    since I am in the mood of whining about missing stuff, where is our LA vs Jazz second round preview?
    we are already at game #3 and still nothing?
    come on!

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    In the postgame interview mr bean said the pics were photoshoppd, and he had a horribly obvious grin, then he ran away. As my boy press said right after that happened, he had to say something like that cuz he couldnt claim the pics. And he sure didnt. He almost startd singing that ol shaggy song

  • ENDS

    Bring Back the little Side Panels showing me how the slam went down on Slam of da month

  • Diesel

    You all won’t be laughing so hard when we’re all wearing skin tight white spandex, blush, and socks with holes cut in them on our wrists in like 2 years. Kobe is just fashion forward.

  • Jackie Moon

    @Diesel – well played! Kobe goes “Zoolander”!

  • Squirrel7

    So let me guess, the 2 player specials that were mentioned in the post about the latest cover (Jordan) are Lebron & Kobe specials, with all their old articles, as Ben seems to be not so subtlely hinting at?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    @Diesel. I think I would laugh even harder if I woke up one day and everyone was dressed like that.