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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 11:38 am  |  37 responses

SLAM 156: On Sale Now!

Welcome to Lob Angeles…

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Within hours of the Clippers trading for Chris Paul, the text I sent to Ben was clear and to the point: Clips cover? The only part that was unnecessary was the question mark. If ever there was a no-brainer SLAM cover, it was CP3 and BG teaming up: Dunks, slick passing, uptempo play. Lob City, right?

As it turned out, we got some time with Blake and Chris in L.A. a few weeks ago, and it coincided with the launch of the CP3.V, so I escaped a freezing NYC and spent a week in 80-degree Hell-Ay. I know, it’s tough work if you can get it.

At the time of our cover shoot for SLAM 156, the season was barely two weeks old, the Clips were just 3-2, and they were still trying to figure out how that whole Lob City thing was supposed to work. “He’s Lob City,” Chris Paul told me, gesturing at Blake. “I’m Layup City.”

Blake talked about the transition they’re trying to make, and how it’s not easy to add a guy on the fly and to have to learn to play alongside him: “I’ve seen [Chris] play on TV and all that, and you know how he plays, but it’s like you’ve got to be on the same wavelengths as far as who’s on the floor, time, score, situation, who he’s got on him, who I’ve got on me, how I set the pick, how they defend it. All of those things have be taken into account, and we’re getting to that point.”

The cover story I wrote is about them getting to that point, this process they’re going through learning how to play together. It was really interesting to hear them talk about the differences in their games and the adjustments they have to make, even with something as seemingly reflexive as an alley-oop—the key to Lob Angeles.

CP3 said the most alley-oops he’d thrown before joining the Clippers was when he played with Tyson Chandler in N’awlins, and Chandler wanted the ball aimed just outside the rim. When Paul arrived in L.A. and talked to Blake, he found out that Blake didn’t want the ball adjacent to the rim. “Instead of throwing right in front of the goal,” CP3 said, “Blake wants it back, really far back.” Paul pointed like a foot outside the rim. (“I try to add some flair to it,” Blake said.)

For the Clippers, it isn’t just about winning games, it’s about rewriting their horrid past. The last time the Clippers had a solo cover of SLAM to themselves was SLAM issue 57, from February of 2002, which was exactly 10 years ago. That issue’s cover line read, “The Los Angeles Clippers may not make it to the top right away, but they will make it. Together.” Instead, Darius Miles was moved to Cleveland a few months later, and Lamar Odom was in Miami by the summer of 2003. In the decade since, the Clips have had one winning season and been to the Playoffs all of one time.

It’s been something of a vicious circle, a swirl down a deep drain, with nothing they’ve done, from changing players to coaches, working. But since GM Neil Olshey showed up and Blake was drafted, the Clips seem to have—and hold your breath here—finally, finally found the road out of cellar and toward what they’ve been looking for forever: Wins.

Of course, the issue as a whole wins, too. Besides the Clips, we’ve got revealing features on Chris Bosh and Kyrie Irving, a perfect Old-School piece on Magic Johnson’s triumphant return at the ’92 All-Star Game and so much more great writing and photography. Check for it in NY this weekend and the rest of the country next week!

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  • Jer Dawg

    Oh yeah! THIS is a COVER! Love it! Multiple copies!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Love it, of course.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Also: please buy this in massive quantities or Adam Figman will never forgive me. (long story)

  • Chou

    Does the Slam cover jinx work on two guys in one cover? Just saying.

  • Chou

    Does the Slam cover jinx work on two guys in one cover? Just saying.

  • Maurice Bobb

    Ummmm…this is DOPE! Would have been more epic if you could have had CP3 throwing Blake a lob somehow

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    I like.

  • KHALID SALAAM

    True.

  • JML-G

    yeaah! loving this one

    tho im still wondering when SLAM will deliver Heatles cover..

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I shoulda waited until after the game last night to write this post. Also, @maurice, that second pic down was an attempt at that idea.

  • Heals

    Wow, didn’t see this happening 4 months ago, good stuff. Gonna please the heads and push mags at the same time…

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I think that second pic down should’ve been the cover. That one is dope. But that said, I really like it. I’m also glad that y’all held off on the Clips cover until you saw whether they were for real or not. So props all around.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Niice.

  • http://caseyvaughn.com AlbertBarr

    Niiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeece…You guys make me ashamed to be a designer with these covers.

  • ab40

    put the fist under the bicep.. look buffed.. be blake griffin

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I like the Clippers. Fun team to watch and they aren’t even really a team yet. Bright future. They could be the best team in the L in a year or two. On that note, f*ck the Clippers. Lakers will beat them in the playoffs if they get the chance.

  • Arthur

    Nice!

  • logues

    i agree with Caboose, the second pic woulda looked really sweet, but this is an awesome cover anyway. perfect timing too, esp after last night’s game. these guys are so fun to watch when paul is setting up everyone for oops and dunks. its amazing how good paul can be when he wants to score, esp in the pick & roll. also, i challenge SLAM to be more creative with their covers! this one woulda been the perfect opportunity. like i said, this is an awesome cover, but i think u guys are more than capable of putting out really creative covers… like more action photos and different backgrounds rather than the plain color everytime. kinda along the lines of the old steve francis, chris webber covers. but i’ve been waiting for a cp3/blake cover, so i cant complain. well done!

  • logues

    o, and aldridge deserves a cover this yr! dude is ballin…. and put my twolves on the cover!!! klove/rubio baby! when’s the last time there’s been 2 whiteboys on the cover of a SLAM mag???

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    yo! nice cover. and there’s a feature of my main man Kyrie. good.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    @logues – SLAM 60 had 2.5 white boys on the cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com big_ticket

    damn been waiting for this since lastmonth……

  • http://anyoldthing Ugh

    Just how many Slam covers have featured the words ‘Superfly’ or ‘Fly’?

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Cosign Caboose on the cov, still dope though.

  • Jono

    I’ve subscribed for a year 2 months ago and have not received anything since Harrison barnes issue, can u guys fix this????

  • Kobester

    Haha, the Slam subscription delivery is still suspect I see…..

  • ENDS

    That Second picture down is Hot. You dont know whos recieving or lobbing…pause

  • ENDS

    Definitly should be a slamup at some time. ^
    ^
    ^
    ^
    plus bring back the little side panels on slamofdamonth detailing what just happend insted of a montionless poster. it made the picture come alive

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @Jono: please call 800.333.6411 to ask about your subscription. No one that works in the NY SLAM office has any power over subscriptions.
    @ENDS: The NBA stopped giving us the rights to use their video clips like that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com aman from arkansas

    Kevin Love should get the next cover.

  • ripslam

    Who is “Magic J”?
    -
    Also, seems like the KD cover just came out, already with a new one? Maybe it’s just me.

  • Niyagirlfresh

    Chris Paul has nice eyes.

  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    That second pic prolly woulda been a lil better…but I can’t wait to see this (spring break b/c they’re not sent to where i live during school)

  • Jono

    @Ben Osbourne

    I live in England, so I’m not too keen in making overseas calls. Is there an e-mail address I could send my queries to?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne
  • Breezy2415

    1-2 PUNCH!!!

  • http://slamonline joel

    sick this is so good the deadly partnership of blake and cp3 welcome to lob angeles one of the best covers i’ve seen slam make can’t wait to get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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