Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 11:00 am  |  7 responses

SLAM #59

From Cali with love.

Originally published in SLAM 59

The 6th Man: For starters, I’m an idiot. Yeah, we could be like everyone else and hide the corrections on the bottom of page 64, upside-down, in Swahili, six months after the actual error was made. But heck, I’m a stand-up guy. I can admit I made a mistake. And in last issue’s Sixth Man I stated that Jamaal Tinsley was a four-year starter at Iowa State—when he actually spent two of those years at Mount San Jacinto Junior College. That was a big one. My bad. Samahani.*

Anyway…I remember being scared for Paul Pierce. It was a couple of weeks after I interviewed him for a feature that he was stabbed. Violence has rarely taken those I care about, and this was about as bad as it could be. I’d only met Paul a few times, but that was enough to realize this was a guy I’d be glad to consider a friend. Forget what he does oncourt—his personality and vibrance off it set him apart. And here he was laying in a hospital room, career—and life—in doubt.

I remember being scared for Baron Davis, too. This was before the Draft, before the chunky kid with the kangaroo hops decided to bounce out of UCLA. It was a typical fast break, one that ended with Baron throwing down and turning in the air to return upcourt. Only that’s not the way it worked out. A knee gave out, Davis went down, and he was carted off, future bounce—and career—in doubt.

Well, everything worked out. Pierce shrugged off his injuries and turned in an MVP-worthy performance last year, only to redouble it this year. And with him and Employee No. 8 clicking daily, it appears—MVP or not—he’ll at least return the Celtics to the playoffs. And Baron’s knee surgery didn’t affect his Draft status (he went third) or his bounce—only an ill-placed headband kept him from a Slam Dunk crown. If all goes right, they should be All-Star teammates this year, both making the first of what will be many appearances in the midseason classic.

But for now, here they are, two West Coast ballers tearing up the East, on our covers (that’s right, there’s two of ’em). Initial plans called for one, and we shot them together for that purpose (see the poster). But in the end, we thought both deserved their individual shine. Paul and Baron both still inspire fear, but now people are scared of them, not for them. I like it like that. And I’m sure they do, too.


Russ Bengtson

*That means “sorry” in Swahili.

Issue 59 Baron DavisIssue 59 Pierce

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  • http://yahoo.com Logues

    i hate when u guys do the “no doubt”* then somewhere in small letters “unless its”…
    not feelin it

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    ^lol it’s true.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    In my high school we had a giant 2D statue of Shareef, which mysteriously disappeared after the team went. And Big Country taught us the nutritional value of a Big Mac. I tell ya, they just don’t raise kids like they did anymore.

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

    im actually kinda sort of rooting for the paperclips this season. mostly for baron and thornton. but they have a nice team, and blake brought 13 natl tv appearances.

  • ab_40

    shareef abdul rahim sighting haha

    THIRTEEN?!? thirteen realy?

    remember a few years back with the miami heat coming on all the time while they suced and there were better games? guess what you’re gonna get with the clips. it’s gonna be painfull

  • http://flp1@cox.net floridafinest008@aim.com

    Ah man what memories, This issue with Paul Pierce on the cover was my first SLAM magazine. I was 10 and I got it to keep my mind occupied during church lol. And I read the whole damn thing in church and I was amazed at the quality of this mag, I’ve been collecting SLAM religiously ever since.

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