Monday, August 14th, 2006 at 9:43 am  |  10 responses

SLAM #25

Derrick Coleman’s Worst Nightmare

Originally published in SLAM 25

The 6th Man: The press release, brief and to the point, was faxed to me at 4:15 a.m. on February 5, ’98. It had no cover page and appeared to have been typed on a children’s typewriter. It read as follows:

“Nike endorser Li’l Penny, of Wake Forest, the Antananarius Lemurs (Madagascar League) and the Chicago Pro-Am, has written a lengthy manifesto concerning the abrupt cancellation of the NBA Dunk contest. He requests that any magazine which prints his comments do so in their entirety and without editing. (He spelled-checked the thing twice.)

“If you would like to join in the protest, Li’l Penny will be holding a rally on the steps of Madison Square Garden in NYC, site of the 1998 All-Star weekend, on Friday, February 6th at 3 p.m., in hopes of galvanizing public opinion. Please make signs and come ready to yell. He also asks that someone please bring him some peppermint Mentos and a grape soda. Thank you.”

I was speechless. I had just seen LP in Barbados not 10 days earlier, and he hadn’t said word one about any protest. Of course, by then he was on the final leg of his six-week quest to find the world’s dopest black sand beach. As a matter of fact, he was telling everyone by the hot tub about how his inclusion in the NBA Dunk Contest meant that, finally, as he put it, “the funk will be back in the dunk contest. It’s like that.” He had no idea whatsoever about 2ball.

Now, I’m not much for protests. The only time I’ve ever protested something in my life—true story—was when my high-school principal Mr. DiPalermo tried to ban concert t-shirts. (Hey, it was a major deal at the time.) I didn’t get him fired, and I suspected that I’d have similar trouble convincing NBA Commissioner David Stern to reinstate the dunk contest so that L’il Penny could show off his 118-inch vertical.

So instead of participating in the protest, I decided to watch it from across the street and bring along a photographer to chronicle LP’s lonely plight.

Well, seeing as there was no dunk contest at this season’s All-Star game, you can pretty much guess how the protest went. But, since we go so far back, I decided to print LP’s lengthy manifesto anyway, in hopes that by this time next year, we’ll be talking about how Vince Carter really turned it out at the ’99 NBA Dunk Contest.

Can the NBA do that for a brotha?


Tony Gervino

Issue 25 Nets

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  • simon

    Killer rebounder indeed. Haha! Good shooter too, though not on the hardwood

  • http://thehype.wordpress.com Hype

    Here’s my first reaction to that cover (seeing it for the first time now): The top line font is the same as SLAM 100′s cover fonts.. and it’s the same color scheme too (red..black..) Makes Jordan’s cover a bit.. unsatisfactory now, I’m weird this way.

  • Jake Appleman

    My favorite SLAM cover of all time. Many people forget that the Nets nearly beat the Bulls in both of the 1st round games that year in Chicago…led by Sherman Douglas. That’s right, with Sam I AM out the General filled in admirably. I’m not sure I’ve ever cared so much about one specific team in one specific year…perhaps ever.

  • http://none. Adeoba and tosin.

    pls, can you give us slam on line magazine for fre of charge to your readers in nigeria. thank you.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    When I wrote that blurb for this cover, I looked up the Nets history to see how good they were. I never realized how bad the Marbury Nets teams sucked.

    By the way look how hard Kerry Kittles is flexing his arm.

  • Klobb

    I really started to like the Nets that year…and guess what? Keith Van Horn was my favourite player, I even got his jersey. The next year they sucked. And Keith never turned out to be what I thought he would be. Too bad.

  • http://slamonline.com jason kidd

    Jayson Willias looks like he’s at a suprise birthday party.

  • http://slamonline.com jason kidd

    I just noticed that I mispelled Williams and suprise. My bad

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Mikhail Prokhorov: Nets to Win a Title Within 5 Years

  • Ho Oh

    I have that mag in a box somewhere. That cover was dope.