Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 12:36 pm  |  33 responses

SLAM Cover Archives

What’s your favorite?

by Matt Lawyue / @mlawyue

As a journalism major about to graduate, there are three for-sure-as-hell lessons I’ve learned about journalism through four years of schooling and a handful of internships:

1. You don’t become a journalist for the money. Hell, there isn’t even any money to go around.
2. Despite the absence of green, there are always perks to working for a publishing company. Translation: free stuff. And if offered to you, you always take it.
3. It’s a shifting industry. Not to get all Romenesko or Carr on you, but print isn’t necessarily dying. It’s evolving. Part of that evolution is the transition to online. It’s the reason one of my first projects as an editorial intern here at SLAM was to complete and update the cover archives for SLAMonline, the best pound-for-pound basketball web site in the game.

So, to the entire SLAM Fam, I present: a complete and updated Cover Archives.

Every Sixth Man, penned of course by the Editor-In-Chief, that has ever been published in a regular ish of SLAM is now online, accompanied by its cover, from 1 to 137.

(This doesn’t include Punks, Kicks, Streetball, or Olympics).

During my travels through SLAM history, from the shelves of skinny Barkley and adolescent KG, I’ve taken notes to share with the Fam:

– There have been five leaders, five Editor-In-Chief’s, to write The Sixth Man:

Issues 1-2, Cory Johnson
Issues 3-38, Tony Gervino
Issues 39-87, Russ Bengtson
Issues 88-105, Ryan Jones
Issues 106-Present, Ben Osborne

– The current leader of cover appearances:

By Player
14 – Kobe Bryant
12 – Allen Iverson
11 – Michael Jordan
11 – Shaquille O’Neal
10 – LeBron James

By Jersey (Team)
19 – L.A. Lakers
13 – Chicago Bulls
10 – Miami Heat
9 – Detroit Pistons
9 – Orlando Magic

– Landmark issues:

Issue 1, May 1994
5th Anniversary Issue, January 1999
50th Issue, April 2001
10th Anniversary Issue, April 2004
100th Issue, August 2006
15th Anniversary Issue, December 2009

– Cover Firsts:

College Player(s) – Issue 9, Allen Iverson with Georgetown or Charles O’Bannon with UCLA
Rookie Class – Issue 15
, ’96-97
Team – Issue 25, N.J. Nets
Woman – Issue 29, Chamique Holdsclaw
High School Players – Issue 62, LeBron James with St. Vincent-St. Mary and Sebastian Telfair with Abraham Lincoln
Coach – Issue 137, John Calipari
College Team – Issue 137, University of Kentucky

– Shaq has been on the cover with three of his four younger superstars: Kobe, Wade and LeBron. Sorry, Penny.

– The Atlanta Hawks are the ONLY team to never make the cover.

If you’re looking to add to your collection, hit up SIMBackissues. Unfortunately, every issue pre-2006 is sold out. You’ll have to hunt around eBay to find the earlier ones.


Knickled & Dimed List
Issue 4. John Starks. March 1995. This was the first time a Knick appeared on the cover. I’m still waiting for the next one.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Thanks for all the hard work, Matt. There are too many great issues to choose a favorite, but I’d say the Bron/Bassy issue has to right up there on my list.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    No ATL? I’m sure you can do something with JJ or Josh Smith… But then if JJ leaves this summer people will blame it on Magazine.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    This is awesome. Thanks so much, Matt.

  • Brickshooting J

    Chamique also wore a Knicks jersey on the cover, hee, hee.

  • Hussman25

    The Mique Holdsclaw and NETS Covers are 2 of my favorite all time… My fav is a cover not even on a real issue… The “Jesus Shuttlesworth” Cover from He Got Game is my FAV! LOL!

  • http://www.twitter.com/retepadam Peter Nygaard

    The Best TEAM in the World

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    big ups, Matt. i just read the Farmer Jones’ last 6th man for ish 105, and strikingly, it pretty much read like your entry here.

  • AB

    AI – Soul on Ice & the Marbury & KG Covers

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    Damn. Very well done. Great stuff in here. Good ish, Matt. And good ishues, SLAM.

  • http://missjia.com jrSwishh

    Vince Carter in the Raptors uni- rookie season.. or Melo, rookie season and this season

  • http://music-slam.com Brownsvillain

    Latrell Sprewell was on the cover after the ’99 Finals.

  • http://slamonline.com charlie_scott

    favourite cover:action shot-penny dime dropping,faking jordan outta his then number 45.Classic!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Excellent stuff, man. You killed yourself for this, and It’s def. recognized.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    @Brownsvillain – It was just his face and he didn’t have a Knicks jersey on.. http://www.slamonline.com/online/the-magazine/2009/06/slam-36/

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    Thanks guys. Had fun doing this actually, going through all the old stuff. Classic.

  • Jon

    Is there a poster archive? I’m sure if you sold the posters individually there’d be more green to go around! More of my green at least…

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Dream Team

  • Ken

    That was great. Thanks for doing this.

  • http://www.mauricegarland.com Maurice Garland

    smh at no Hawk ever being on the cover. not even from the Mutombo era? so this means a Bobcat, Grizzlie and even a Thunder has gotten one before any Hawk?

    and on waiting on another Knick to be on the cover…wasnt Spree on the cover in 99..it was titles How Latrell Spreewell Saved the NBA wasnt it?

  • Big Marv

    Every Iverson cover. Been down since issue no. 1.

  • http://www.hoopistani.com Hoopistani

    i’m not the biggest LBJ fan, but I gotta say, no SLAM cover got me more excited than the LeBron/Logo cover back in SLAM 106 “The Remix”.
    The Shaq/Dirk “Sin City” covers are also awesome, from SLAM 109.

  • underdog

    It’s time to show some love to the Hawks. I’d prefer a team cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    I’m pretty sure the Griz got a cover with Jason Williams. Durant for the Thunder had one recently for the How To issue.. Not sure about the Bobcats though… Or was it that one with the whole team on the cover? I vaguely remember that…

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Shareef was on the cover with the Grizzlies. Eboy was on with the Kings, if I’m not mistaken.

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  • Josh

    Every Kobe cover. It always has meaning behind it, those shoots are always genious. Kobe Against The World, Cold-Blooded, The Art of War, and so many more.

  • Logues

    when was a bobcat player on a cover?

  • Raman

    My favorite issue is the 50th issue with Jordan on the cover with three different colors. That’s my favorite.

  • http://slamonline.com hawk62

    kobe-ai covers always on point but favorite cover is lebron-bassy thats when hs ball was primetime down with slam since#1 larry johnson

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Loved the Sin City inspired Dirk/Shaq Dual Covers. (still in the market for issues #1 and 50, the only two Slams i do not have)

  • Jer Boi

    ATL gotta cover now

  • Julian

    I’m trying to find the issue with the NJ Nets on the cover…can anyone help!?!?!

  • http://upandfresh.fr frednetick

    @julian: i got this one i guess.