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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 12:30 pm  |  95 responses

SLAM 144: On Sale Now!

John Wall has arrived.

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Whenever a new issue of SLAM is dropping, we do a post here on SLAMonline that we call the “On Sale Now…” post, meaning the issue is on sale now. Duh. Today is my turn to write one of these posts, because I wrote the cover story for SLAM 144. This issue is actually going to be available a few days from now, but we wanted to drop it before the holidays.

We’re actually going to debut the cover live this afternoon on NBA.com on The Jump, the show that airs live on NBA.com at 1 PM and then re-airs a few hours later on NBA TV. (I’m in Atlanta sitting in today on “The Jump” and then doing my regular spot on “The Beat.”) Once the video goes online, we’ll link it up here.

Anyway, about this cover. You may have noticed that one of the best rookies thus far this season has been John Wall down in DC. He’s leading the entire League in steals, he’s fourth in assists (well, he was earlier today), and he’s generally playing about as awesomely as we at SLAM suspected that he would.

SLAM 144: John Wall portrait. We shot John down in DC earlier in the month, and I went down for the shoot and to interview John. He talks fast, and it wasn’t until a couple of days later when I was listening to the interview that I was struck by how much John’s voice reminded me of another NBA player: lower than you’d expect, a little bit of a Southern accent. A few days later I asked my main man Michael Lee at the Washington Post, and he agreed. It wasn’t just me—Wall sounds a little bit like Allen Iverson.

It’s not just the voice, or the fearlessness or the creativity, or John becoming the new face of Reebok. More than anything, Wall reminds me of AI because of his speed. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone as fast with the ball as John Wall. Earlier this season, at the end of the first half in the Wizards loss to Cleveland, Wall was trying to score before the clock ran down. Wall took an inbounds pass and went end to end with two dribbles, taking just over 2 seconds. Before the Draft, Wall was tested by ESPN’s Sports Science program, and they found Wall was able to react to a light trigger in 253 milliseconds, which is faster than a cheetah at top speed takes a single stride. Josh Smith called him “a blur,” Lou Williams called him “a rocket.”

For all of Wall’s physical gifts, he still has room to improve, and he knows it. Teams early this season have regularly been going under picks against him, daring him to take midrange jumpers. John has mostly been passing up the shots, instead sharing the ball and perhaps even overpassing. But the Wiz and Wall have been working diligently to remedy this, mostly by having Wall do drills led by Wiz assistant coach Sam Cassell. And if there was ever a guy who dominated in the midrange game, it was Sam Cassell — I once wrote that when Cassell was done playing, instead of retiring his number, teams should retire a spot on the court about 16 feet from the basket on the free throw line extended.

Wall seems to be embracing the coaching and working hard to improve. “I got goals,” Wall said. “Hopefully win Rookie of the Year, that’s everybody’s goal. I want to keep developing, improve my jump shot and prove I can make it so people will stop going under screens. Keep learning as much as I can, prepare every day, get better every day. Watch film. Listen to Coach Saunders, Sam Cassell, listen to all the coaches I can. See how teams are going to guard me so I’ll know how
other teams will try and guard me. But the main focus is really the team goal. I really want to see what we can do as a team.”

He’s going to improve. But for now, he’s all speed. And that’s pretty dope to watch.

There’s a lot of great stuff in this issue, from a great old school piece on Manute Bol to…oh, right, I’m here to talk about the cover.

So here’s John Wall’s first NBA SLAM cover. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing plenty more as the years roll on…

SLAM 144: John Wall cover

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  • king.david

    there/will/never/be/another/iverson

  • ripslam

    When the hell is Rajon Rondo getting a cover. It’s ridiculous. Wall has two covers already and Rondo none?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Yes sir! Thanks Lang! @ripslam: this is wall’s first solo cover. As for Rajon, well, you won’t be waiting long.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Anthony Davis…

  • Fast Don’t Lie

    Dope, but I kinda hoped for one of those ‘double covers’ where Blake Griffin would get the other one.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    where’s blake?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Joakim Noah! What? I’d buy it!

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?

    blake is currently removing his nuts from timofey mozgov’s face.

  • Matt Barnes

    Hey, U up there. Thats cuz Rondo’s a lil b!tch! Lmao

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    @Fast Don’t Lie – Griffin already had a SLAM cover: http://www.slamonline.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/fake131two.jpg

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Best I can remember, Slam has put two other guys on the cover sitting on rows of chairs/bleachers. Those guys are Vince Carter and Greg Oden.
    I can’t believe we just jinxed John Wall like that.

  • SchW

    he ugly:) (on the fake slam cover)

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Like with shoes, big men struggle to sell mags. That said, I’m sure Blake will get his someday. Also, Blake is slamadamonth in this issue.

  • benno

    john wall looks like hes going gray

    other than that it looks sick

  • http://bulls.com airs

    @anton hahah did you make that?? good work.

  • Jer dawg

    Blake Slamof the month in this issue?!? Gotta see which this is! Slam had better show Clippers love next issue, too. Eric Gordon over Tim Duncan or whomever is in his effing way or anything Nov. 20, ’10 Clippers vs. Knicks. Nobody has dunked on Knicks harder than Blake Griffin. They aren’t winning, but LA is going to get reputation for busting @$$ and winning later!! Out!

  • slimshady

    nice cover slam like always, but rondo really needs one. i want to see him on ish 145

  • slimshady

    nice cover SLAM, but rondo is more than deserving.. averaging dimes a dozen, my man gotta be on ish 145

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    great cover, not a fan of the line “the new Iverson”. Doesn’t really work for me

  • http://codyanderson.blogspot.com donnycersado

    Haha, new Allen Iverson, ya hear that Wall, look forward to playing overseas in 10 years cause you’re broke as a joke…

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    WHEN you do a blake griffin cover, you should remix kenyons rimwrecker. PROFESSOR GRIFF: RIMWRECKER

  • DIEGO FRANCO

    I SUSCRIBED TO AN ANNUAL PROMO OF MAGAZINES, A YEAR AGO AND I DIDNT RECEIVED YET, FIRST IT WAS ON SEPTEMBER AND YOU TOLD ME THAT I WAS GOING TO RECEIVE MY FIRST ISSUE IN MARCH, SO I ASK TO RECEIVE MY MONEY BACK, INSTEAD I RECEIVED A CHECK THAT I COULDNT COLLECT IT IN ARGENTINA, SO WITH THE SAME MONEY SOMEONE OF YOUR STAFF TOLD ME THAT I WOULD RECEIVE THE FIRST ISSUE OF A TOTAL O A 10 MAGAZINES, IN 4 WEEKS MAX, THAT WAS THE 13 OF SEPTEMBER THEN WHEN THE 4 WEEKS WENT BY, I ASKED ABOUT WHAT HAPPEN AND NOW YOU ARE TELLING ME AGAIN THAT I GOT TO WAIT UNTIL MARCH TO RECEIVE MY FIRST ISSUE. I BEEN SENDING MAILS BUT I DIDNT RECEIVE A CONCRETE ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEMç?

    HOW A SERIUS COMPANY COULD TAKE 5 MONTHS TO PROCESS AN ORDER???? I BEEN WAINTG MORE THAN ENOUGH PLEASE GIVE ME AN ANSWER

    MY SUSCRIPTION MAIL IS DIEGO_AI3@HOTMAIL.COM

    THANKS

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    @airs – nah, Lang posted it last season in Links.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Shoulda been BLAKE!

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    I do like how Ben keeps it real with his 1:38 comment. However, I think the Griff will be an exception. Dude is mad exciting to watch, and in my opinion, even moreso than Wall which is hard for a big man to do.

  • http://www.google.com/news BETCATS

    DJ Augustin?! Ben i didnt even get to ask you this time!

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

    “The new Iverson takes the NBA by storm”. I don’t like that. Don’t like it at all. I hate forced comparisons. Why does everyone have to compared to someone? Not to mention the fact that ‘The Wiz Kid’ was something Jason Kidd sorta kinda went by early on in his career. Dig the overall look of the cover though.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    “Rookie Wall”

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Uncle05Sam Earl

    Talk all you guys want about Wall, Griffin will be winning R.O.Y.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com just Bcuz

    i like wall but blake? WHEEEEW i cant stop watching his highlights. the explosion and bounce is str8 stupid for a guy that size. blake griffin the TROOF

  • tuxo

    can I have a double slam cover with michael beasley- kevin love- darko milicic and the miami rockstar? it would be fun!!

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Sure, john wall is fast. But every damn year, ppl fall over a guy as ‘fastest weve ever seen’. Rondo,, rose, paul, barbosa, parker. Did all these guys stop playing. I still say parker is fastest, the smallest guy who OWNS the paint. Tony can get in the paint and make something happen against anyone, hes been doing itfor a while now. Wall doesnt have gamespeed fully developed yet. But hes just a rook, lets see how he develops.

  • http://www.wizardsextreme.com Washington Wizards

    Wall is the truth, he and Arenas are SICK on the court together

  • Rocket_Man

    Still haven’t got the Poohdini cover down here in Australia! Slam needs to do more for its loyal aussie subscribers.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    He has the potential to be as good as AI, By his third year dude will be arguably the best PG in the league…. we haven’t seen this quickness since AI.

  • Gerardo

    the new iverson, i don´t think so, ive is the one, only wall crosses kobe same iverson did with Jordan

  • tuxo

    why I can’t post in slam board?

  • kk

    nothing against wall but what about rondo???

  • ethan

    come on! where is rondo?! u put a rookie on the cover instead of the FACE of the best franchise in the NBA. Are you serious?

  • ethan

    everything else is good though haha

  • Chris

    Isn’t this guy the ANTI-Iverson?!?
    Decided not to get tatoos to keep his image clean, says the right things etc etc?
    Stupid line on the cover, sorry.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    The new Iverson? I don’t see him ever leading the league in points per.

  • http://sdfjlkf.com Jukai

    Wow, that Iverson line… sometimes SLAM’s wh*reness for readers irks me.

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

    The more I see that line the more I dislike it.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    And it’s not just the numbers but even the character. John Wall seems so tame and reserved compared to Iverson.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    “John has mostly been passing up the shots, instead sharing the ball and perhaps even overpassing.” Yeah, that sounds a lot like Iverson.

  • DRose is UnbelieveBull

    @Zabba, good point :P . But big men struggling to sell magazines? On youtube, the clip where amare stoudemire gives a NOD to blake after his amazing dunks got more than 1 million views in 2 days. I think Blake is already a very recognizable athlete since he’s on Sportcenter every night. Rondo getting a cover? That’s going to be tough, because CP3 and Dwill deserve a cover just as much as him, and if they all got one, we’d have PG’s on the cover for this whole season of Slam.

  • http://slam FLIGHT 9

    ONLY PROBLEM WITH WALL IS SIGNING WITH REEBOOKKKKKK…THATS ALL!

  • Morgan

    “Wall took an inbounds pass and went end to end with two dribbles” – Physically impossible without carrying or travelling. Maybe just inside his own half to the hoop..maybe, but never end-to-end. Don’t lie like that to beef up your arguement.

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  • Vinsanity

    HOW IS WALL ANYTHING LIKE IVERSON?!?! AND HOW DOES WALL GET A COVER BEFORE BLAKE GRIFFIN?!?!?!?!

  • Heals

    Hate to be a ninny, but too soon, or at least have another with BGriff. Ben I have no prob waiting a little longer for Rondo, and as always it still looks good (gotta love the orange on blue)!

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  • Tiki

    like.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I want to see a Russell Westbrook cover with no KD on it too. The real fastest point guard in the NBA. BOOK IT!!

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  • fruizm

    agree on the Iverson line….there will never be another AI, and also, let john wall create his own image!

  • jane

    Where’s BLAKE GRIFFIN? He had a monster month and deserved to be on the cover. Absolutely the most electrifying NBA player right now. I’m a Lakers’ season ticket holder, but am going to tonight’s Clippers game just because of this guy.

  • jane

    and after a cover with Blake Griffin, I would definitely like to see Russell Westbrook on it as well.

  • Brent

    should have either been a Rondo cover or a blake griffan/john wall shared cover.

  • Mattyp32

    Monta cover……

  • http://dpkst2@mail.rmu.edu daviddpk

    Blake???

  • http://dpkst2@mail.rmu.edu daviddpk

    I don’t have a problem with John Wall being on this cover, however I do have a problem with the statement the new AI. This is an insult to AI after all he has done for the NBA and especially SLAM magazine landing the cover of SLAM for each of his teams minus Memphis. Wall is a rookie and there are some similarities but to say he is the new Iverson is wrong. It could have said Iverson clone? or the perhaps another Iverson? these would be different.
    ANyway I would hope to see a cover with Blake Griffin, Rajon Rondo, RW and DWill who is the best point guard in the game in the near future.

  • D. HOGG

    rondo doesnt sell mags. he just wins games. go throughout the covers of slam and do a ring to cover ratio of all the players. start with iverson and go from there.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @D. HOGG: Kobe and MJ have the most covers. 11 rings between them.

  • http://dpkst2@mail.rmu.edu daviddpk

    Shaq, Wade, Duncan, and Mr. Big Shot have a few covers themselves. That’s a lot of rings right there.

  • dsleepy

    no disrespect to AI, but i hope wall is only the new AI as in the face of reebok. don’t get me wrong AI could hoop, but the wiz need a leader and point guard, not a gunner. and as explosive as both of their offensive games are/were, wall looks more like a legit on-ball defender, not just a passing lane thief.

  • http://dpkst2@mail.rmu.edu daviddpk

    @dsleepy: Wizards don’t need Wall to be a “gunner” they already have that in Arenas on and off the court.

  • http://www.twitter.com/HurstySYD Hursty

    Don’t like the cover photo or the tagline. Both seem… lazy.
    Will still buy the issue though.

  • hitman

    sooo is it out now or not?

  • http://celticknightk3@aol.com Celtic Knight

    Cosign ripslam Rondo and Blake are just not getting the love from Slam. Rondo should have gotten a solo cover two issues ago especially how he has been playing so far and he nearly led the Celtics to win another championship last year. Come on man slam have to do so much better than this.

  • CODBO274

    The new Iverson? WTF? If A.I. would’ve staid in Denver and would’ve won a ring there he could’ve been considered a top 10 of all-time! Besides Blake has a brighter future in the NBA than this kid! I would compare Wall to Derrick Rose, I think that’s a fair comparison. Give Durantula a cover, I don’t think he has gotten one yet! Or Shaq, I will never get tired of the Greatest Center of All-Time!

  • jessica

    well, it looks like Wall is injured…and overhyped

  • jarrett

    this cover is premature; john wall is the false profit Blake Griffin shoulda got the love! (even tho wall is really good)

  • Jesus Shuttlesworth

    Not a fan of the Iverson comparison. You gotta give these kids time to prove themselves before you label them to be “new” versions of legends past. Example: Grant Hill in the late 90′s being compared to MJ.. how did that one turn out?

    And a Griffin cover would have been great but I think all that he’s done recently has happened after press time for this issue. I hope to see him gracing the cover after a Rondo issue.

  • mvpitzki

    Where’s the love for the Mavs? they have taken down the spurs, thunder, atlanta, hornets,denver, the overated heat and get no mention. This team looks like a force and the only time theyre in the magazine is when stories of other players are ran with pics of the mavs in the background. The mavs will be even scarier when Roddy B returns. Chandler is playing like an allstar(best two-way center in the west the last couple of weeks)and Butler, Marion and Terry have been filling the boxscore. JKidd is running the show while Dirk is playing like an MVP.

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  • http://Slam Jasmine

    A Rise Of A New Era John Wall Seems Like A Kevin Durant In A Few Years.Follow Me @FutureNBAHoops

  • Sharron P.

    What up, Slam? I was checking out your cover with John Wall on it. And, I couldn’t help but notice the title…”The New Iverson Takes The NBA By Storm”! Y’all can’t be serious! This kid has a long way to go before he does half of what AI did for and in the NBA! He’s already sat out games for an injury (sprained foot or knee)! Everyone knows AI was the ironman of the NBA. You cannot mention Wall in the same sentence with Iverson! He hasn’t earned that honor.

    signed,
    A true AI fan!

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    Went to the bookstore to pick this up and they were sold out. Guess that’s good for SLAM, but frustrating for me!

  • http://Slam Jasmine

    John Wall Seems Like One The Next Big Things But For Next Month SLam Plzz!!! Give Rajon Rondo A Cover!!! Follow Me @FutureNBAHoops

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  • markymark

    wall = AI’s shoe. and that’s nothing but paul pierce (the truth)

  • http://slamonline.com mcvinta

    am sure blake is next..

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  • Reece

    Can we have a Bogut article in a coming SLAM? I understand it’s hard to sell a cover of him, but a feature would be sweet.
    And I wish Aussies could get the mag quicker, don’t know whether that’s an issue at SLAM but it’s really irking me.

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  • Joe Pan

    “The New Iverson?” You wish.

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  • http://douglasgoodw1025.imagekind.com/ Performance

    Appears it is pretty active right here. A few of these comments look like garbage. You might want to get rid of them.

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