Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at 10:40 am  |  25 responses

Kings of the Game: On Sale Now

SLAM and XXL connect on a special issue about hoops, hip-hop and Reebok’s influence.

intro by Ben Osborne x Tzvi Twersky / photos by Tom Medvedich x Atiba Jefferson

SLAM is a basketball magazine first, but from day one, almost 20 years ago, sneakers and fashion were an integral part of what we did. The intersection of hoops and style is what makes basketball more than just a game, and it’s what has allowed us to thrive for so long. Because basketball is more than a game, young people want a magazine in which they can see their favorite players and their favorite shoes in the same place; something they can carry around or use to decorate their bedrooms as they see fit. And because of all that, footwear companies have long seen SLAM as the best place to advertise their new products. The bonds between SLAM, the sport of basketball and the gear players wear on and off the court is, to use a couple of modern marketing terms, both authentic and organic.

The next step from covering shoes in SLAM was a mag dedicated to them—KICKS, which is more than 15 years old now in its own right—and, in the last couple of years, custom publications dedicated to specific brands. And I love it. There is no question (*winks*) that Reebok has an amazing basketball story. The brand was on the feet of stars in the ’80s, dunkers and The Diesel in the early ’90s and Allen Iverson for an entire career. Through all that, Reebok’s cache stretched from the court to fashion to hip-hop (peep the other side of this unique “flip book” for an encyclopedic recap of that marriage). And today Reebok is back with classic styles and modern technology. It’s enough to warrant an entire magazine. Actually…two magazines—in one nifty format!

Because so much of Reebok’s history has been style as much as performance, you have long seen their Classic styles on stars of hip-hop, too. So, we teamed up with our good friends and office mates from XXL to make a “flip book”—half SLAM, half XXL, all dope.

In the two years since Reebok brought Swizz Beatz on board, ideas have been blossoming on the Reebok Classics campus in Canton, MA. Rick Ross, the big bawse, was brought on board. Tyga, YMCMB’s last king of Rack City, has joined the movement. Classic snapbacks and Basquiat t-shirts have popped up in music videos. Ex-O-Fits and Workouts have become constants on stages at concerts across the country. In essence, Reebok, whose roots in hip-hop date back to classic names such as Soulja Slim and the Hot Boy$ and Jay-Z and G-Unit, is most definitely back.

In this special case, that moment of creation took the form of a mid-winter photo shoot that saw Ross, Swizz and Tyga, two rappers and a producer from three very different parts of the country in three very different stages of their careers with three very different tastes in fashion and footwear, come together on one set. As the cameras clicked and flashed, the three artists talked art, money, music and clothes. They preened for the photographer. They sat down for interviews with writers and danced and handled a basketball for the video cameras (check the trailer below for a taste, and stay tuned for next week’s launch of a microsite that will boast all sorts of exclusive video content). Most of all, everyone had a good time.

The shoot was a momentous moment—and this magazine, which also includes plenty of other big names in basketball and music, is a momentous result.

Look for it on newsstands in NYC this weekend, and everywhere you buy SLAM and XXL next week.





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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Let’s go!

  • trueballer4life

    iverson will never get old, he got that young boy swag!!.. nba you blackballed 1 of best players to play ball..

  • tolduso

    Iverson – when keeping it real goes horribly wrong…

  • Ugh

    Rick Ross is definitely someone I would take fashion advice from. He’s as sharp a dresser as he is a good rapper.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Put a shirt on Ross. Stop the madness.

  • spit hot fiyah

    never forget: father time is undefeated

  • http://twitter.com/Schneezy Schneezy

    This is Fresh.

  • nhm

    same thoughts here. it doesn’t look like he aged at all. photoshop maybE?

  • Max

    Rick Ross chillin on the beach without a shirt on..

  • robb


  • Xena

    LOL. No. No photoshop. Reebok released a recent video of Iverson where he discussed his days at Georgetown and he in fact did look like he hadn`t aged a bit. Mind you this was a close-up shot.


    For someone who is ALLEGEDLY battling alcohol and other various (financial) issues, he looks pretty da** good for 37. You can`t hide that type of stress. By this time in a person`s life, that stress is actually surfacing, it is becoming visible in your appearance.



  • Redd

    Man Reebok is wack.

  • KoloradoKobe

    Rick Ross is a former corrections officer who stole his name from Freeway Rick Ross, the king of LA cocaine. And Tyga…well, I’m just gonna leave his wack self alone.
    Ain’t no way AI should be hanging with these fakes.

  • smith, blocked, smith, stopped

    sir, is it about are the articles on the history of pump about pump basketball shoes or every pump shoe ? (such as the pump fury i’m wearing right now)

  • Xena

    “Rick Ross is a former corrections officer who stole his name from Freeway Rick Ross, the king of LA cocaine.” So true. It was crazy when I learned of this. I was watching a documentary on VH1 about the connection between Hip-Hop/Rap and the Drug War of 1980s when the real Rick Ross started talking and I immediately thought of the rapper that calls himself Rick Ross. Later on in the film, they made the connection and revealed that a corrections officer took his name and used it to start his rap career. It`s a strange world.

    Yeah but Iverson, Ross, and Tyga are not best friends as far as I know. The only hanging out they do together is when it`s related to Reebok since they all under contracts. This is business but they`re probably enjoying themselves.

  • str8 from samoa

    AI always got the good poses

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    The all white Questions in the last pic are too fresh

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I believe Ross is a fake too BUT let’s not be naive to the fact that corrections officers are just as criminal as those that they watch over. There have been many cases where corrections officers have been prosecuted for sneaking narcotics into the prisons.

  • The Philosopher

    “Heard the fat man ran into a wall…”
    (Curtis Jackson)

  • Anton


  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Both, but definitely more about the basketball shoes.

  • Meeks54

    This ish is lame

  • Ron

    AI still got a chain?

  • Trawww

    I like this campaign that Reebok is doing.

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