Monday, July 31st, 2006 at 8:23 am  |  20 responses

SLAM #15

Yo! Bum Rush the Show

Originally published in SLAM 15

The 6th Man: “What’s up cool? I haven’t seen you since high school, if you know what I”m sayin’.”

This is how Kobe Bryant greeted me when I ran into him in Florida a couple of months ago. As I reminded him then, he woulda called me “Sir” just a year earlier. (And no, I didn’t know Kobe in high school. I’m old enough to be his…uh…older brother.)

Kobe’s growing up. And, slowly but surely, so are the rest of the rookies. Just in time, too. Gone forever are the days when a 22-year-old man finished up his four years of eligibility and headed into the league, physically and mentally ready for a grueling schedule. This rookie class is filled with juniors, sophomores, freshmen and high school seniors who, for the most part, lack the complete package of skills you need to survive in the “L”. That’s okay, though-last year’s rookies are still learning how to play, too.

On the other hand, folks can argue that on NBA rosters, they can learn from the best, and thereby get better faster. Need help with your jump shot? Ask Glen Rice after practice. You wanna learn how to play man-to-man D? Well, son, Mike Fratello’s right over there.

Whatever. All I know is this: The ’96 rookie class is brimming with enough talent to keep the league running smoove for years to come. Steph. Answer. Marcus. Future. Ray. ‘Toine. Kobe.


In any case, we’ve let the SLAM braintrust take some educated guesses as to how the season’s gonna play out for the NBA’s newcomers (pg. 72). Most likely to average 20 ppg. Most likely to piss off Jordan. Most likely to ride the pine. Stuff like that. If you wanna make your own list, just send it in a.s.a.p., and we’ll print the best of ‘em in the coming issues. And feel free to make up your own Most likely to’s…

Most likely to get dunked on by Lamar Odom (pg. 101) next season.

Now that’s what I wanna know.


Tony Gervino

P.S. Yes, it’s true, the SLAM dome has been wired for e-mail. Feel free to drop any of us a line. Comments, questions, complaints, whatever. My address is tonyg@harris-pub.com. Anna’s is annag@harris-pub.com, and you can get in touch with Russ at russb@harris-pub.com. Scoop doesn’t have e-mail, but he says you can call him at home. Preferably real early in the morning. His number is…just kiddin’ Scoop. Again, peace.

Issue 15 Rookies

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  • http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/ Atma Brother #1

    One of the greatest Slam covers/ posters of all time and one of the greatest draft classes of all time!

    Slammin’ from 1996 to 1984

    Make sure to vote- Which draft class was better 1996 or 1984?

  • Marvin

    How I wish Allen was there. You need to get this group of ballers together for a 10 year anniversay picture. In theit old and new uniforms.

  • jj

    Marvin is oh so right! You absolutely MUST make the anniversary cover… shame you already wrote the article and only put Iverson… nothing against him, but the whole class would have been much much better …

  • adm

    ’84 is way better.. then ’03.. then ’96 =)

  • http://slamonline.com Patrick

    dey r right! u should commemorate der draft class coz dey r 1 of da best ever!! same formation wit AI @ d middle wit KB8 and dat wud b so sick!!

  • Luke

    10 years from now the 3 greatest basketball players will be unanimous-1. Michael 2. Kobe 3. Lebron. All representatives from the 3 greatest draft classes ever. What gives ’03 and ’96 the edge (albeit extremely slight edge) over ’84 is the Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade will also be unanimous top 10 all timers. So it comes down to depth…Steph, Ray, Nash, Toine, and Jermaine vs. ‘Melo, Bosh, Hinrich and Josh Howard. Edge goes to ’96 and a reunion of the cover is neccessary minus Camby plus AI

  • dabulls#1fan

    to be real i gotta see how these the ’03 draft cats turn out in another 2years but until then the ’96 draft class was da sickest

  • Mighty

    i really liked this one! ben wallace also came out this year too which i remembered after a dude said it in trash talk

  • Uhjay

    Big ups to these ballers. Too bad AI missin from the cover…but this is definately the best draft class…don’t forget guys like Steve Nash was in the same draft. A decade anniversary shoot seems in order to me. Big ups to all of em..they got talent out the wazoo.

  • The Manoje

    I agree with the rest of these guys, you need to do an anniversary cover!.. And include other stand outs like Nash and Jermaine O’Nea… And on another note you got to give Camby a cover too (maybe with the new nuggets). He’s really coming out as a dominant defensive force!

  • John Wilding

    Or it might have been this one! This is a classic issue! The first one I vividly remember!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diV9IpF6LSI bendreizehn

    Please guys, put it out as a WALLPAPER!!! Dope!!!

  • ivory browm

    by far the best one. It had some of the best players in the game on that cover and it didnt even have ai. slam magazine is awesome for this cover. Cant get anybetter than this

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  • Raymond

    This is hands down, one of the best draft classes ever- top 3 in my mind. The most memorable cover for me and I kept this magazine after all these years. The back cover was even more exciting, with a picture of the rest of the draft crew, including Nash, etc. If I remember correctly, I think this cover was shot in Orlando, FL in Valencia Community College but that’s just what I heard. I would definitely dig an anniversary issue. Thanks

  • John Rhodes

    one of the best covers and if i remember right was a fold out as well. could you post the full out pic like you have done for ish 65 in the NBA Draft Remix 2002. SLAM – The In Your Face Basketball Magazine

  • Mega

    I’m sorry, but I could swear that that was a pullout cover and Kerry Kittles,
    Antoine Walker, Steve Nash, and others was on the inside pullout cover.
    I do want to get this Issue again. It was and still is the best. And when you think about the players still making it happen to this day.
    The Touch Of Class’96. And you have my permission to use this.


  • ekidro

    w0w!. atlast. im waited for this cover to come-up. for me i believe ”96 class” is the best draft class ever because most of the guys from this class made an allstar appearance count them if you want… thanks slam.

  • http://Slam Jasmine

    Some of the best players of all time. Want that magazine havnt read it before!!

  • Daniel

    AI is not in the cover because as far as i can remember if you open the mag you will see him posing for his shoe endorsement, in that photo he’s spreading his arms with two balls in each hands, cool photo. He was busy then…hehehe