Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 2:20 pm  |  138 responses

SLAM 128: On Sale Now!

Just when you think you’ve figured SLAM out…

by Ben Osborne

This issue has been teased in various places, on here an elsewhere, but today, finally, is the official unveiling. As always, I’m excited to share it with our readers, most of whom should be able to buy it this weekend in NYC and next week everywhere else.

As far as explaining why we did this dope, original split cover, I don’t think I could say it better than I did in my “6th Man” Editor’s Letter from the issue, so I’m going to reprint that below and then I’ll close with some of the details about availability.

Here’s my letter, word for word:

>>Something for Everyone…

…Everyone interested in who their favorite sport’s future stars are, that is. As far as content in our magazine, there is no disputing that SLAM is always looking ahead. We featured Ricky Rubio when few people had ever even heard of him. We put the spotlight on Lance Stephenson before he’d finished his freshman year of high school, and our Punks section brings you the nation’s best prep players on a monthly basis (such as Brandon Jennings about one year ago). You get the point.

So what made us flip the usual script of putting future stars in the mag while the NBA’s top dogs grace the cover? A dash of daring combined with two unique opportunities and the understanding that Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade aren’t going anywhere. The daring comes from our willingness to try something different. Is it just stars who sell SLAM, or have we reached the point in this, our 15th year, where basketball-loving magazine buyers can trust that even if they don’t instantly realize the face(s) on our illustrious front page, the players must be dope because we say they are? The SLAM staff is obviously counting on the latter.

The opportunities came from two once-this-season meetings. The first, which jump-started the entire conversation regarding this cover, was knowing that Brandon’s Lottomattica Roma team was meeting Ricky’s DKV Joventut in Spain last December 11. Sure, we figured every hoop journalist worth their salt would be hounding these great prospects that week, but it couldn’t hurt to ask for some time, right? Well, either no one asked or these guys chose us, because they graciously gave us more than two hours of their time.

Once we had the big international cover locked up, we decided to cover our bases with a look at the two most compelling prep guards in America. Sure enough, just 10 days after Ricky and Brandon were in the same city at the same time, John Wall and Lance were in the same city at the same time. We reached out to those guys, dispatched Kelly Kline (see below) for her second big job in two weeks, and arguably the coolest split cover in SLAM history was born. We sat on them for a minute while Kobe and DWade did their thing, but with high school All-American games here and Draft buzz increasing, the time had come. The future is now.<<



Hopefully my letter answers the “why these guys?” or “why now?” questions people might have. Want more of that? Check out Ricky-Lang cover story writer Lang Whitaker’s extra video content here, and get John-Lance cover story writer Aggrey Sam’s take on his piece here.

Not that I expect too many questions after people have really looked at these covers…I’m expecting more of the “Damn, you guys are good”-type comments.

As for availability, all newsstands in the US will have both covers. That is still the biggest part of our business and we want you all to have a choice. Overseas outlets will most likely just have Ricky-Brandon (for obvious reasons), and subscribers will get Ricky-Brandon as there wasn’t a regional split that made sense. The best solution for people who want both covers? Go to simbackissues.com, click on SLAM and buy ‘em both.

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  • Ken

    Ricky Rubio! Hype!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    SMOOTH. SO SMOOTH. Ben, you know my mom’s going to cop literally every issue in the store nearby hahahah

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky


  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    See….now THIS is what I was talking about!!

  • thesubwayconnection

    So DOPE! Man, can’t wait to cop this.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Eboy, I teaaased and SLAM delivers.

  • http://www.slamonline.com GotHandles?

    the freshness. nobody got it like SLAM got it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy


  • http://www.slamonline.com GotHandles?

    DIME sucks

  • Chris

    That Jenning’s/Rubio cover is just ridiculous.

  • J-O

    lol i was sooooooooo wrong on the covers

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    hahah I love how we come out with these BANGIN covers and in the first ten comments there’s a dime sucks comment and NO negativity. Ben, SLAMfam, you just owned the cover game today.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Wall’s shoes are unlaced?? That’s the Next Level.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Stephenson should be doper than the other three cats once he gets to the L. SHOULD be. Jennings and Rubio will both be great PG’s but Lance has waaaaay more expectations to live up to. Trust me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Zee!, as a Coney Island cat, yeah his expectations are outrageous

  • El Gee

    rubio/jennings 1 is sweeeeeeeeeet. Bosborne, (can i call u bosborne?) I’ve got two words for you. Simply. Genius.

  • http://bielasiakville.blogspot.com/ Jesse Bielasiak

    Beautiful. Just fantastic, SLAM.

    and for the record, I’m definitely feeling the BJ/Rubio cover more, but they’re both pretty dope. More fantastic SLAM journalism.

  • Diesel

    After always giving you guys a hard time for all the kobe/lebron/wade/ai covers, I can finally say these are good. Well done SLAM.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I think all that demand crashed the site…must be Lang’s Twitter subscribers.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    daaang Ben, Diesel just doled out a compliment. Deft skills Ben, deft skills.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Definitley Lang’s twittering.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Izzo

    Can I just say,I really hope this works out on the financial side of things.Taking a risk is uh risky at the best of times but with big magazines(Blender,King) being culled left right and centre this is even more impressive.Well done.I’m buying five.

  • Mambatellmehowmy

    Wall looks sleepy, he better wakeup for the NBA.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai


  • http://www.bbl.org.uk Josh D

    Love the Jennings/Rubio cover. Lance Stephenson? What’s up with that?Should a been Wall and Henry/Favors/Cousins on da cover or a American draft prospect cover as well as the Euro one so Blake Griffin and Hasheem Thabeet or someone?
    That brings me to another point, what are you gonna do if one of these guys(or neither of them)declare for the draft?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Lance is Lance Josh, Lance is LANCE. C. Island, NY shine, from the same school as Bassy, Marbury, and JESUS SHUTTLESWORTH!

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Both these covers sent shivers down my spine. I’m pickin’ both up asap, to show my support when SLAM does something daring.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Izzo

    IMO:The Ricky/Brandon is the best looking cover in recent memory,something about the colours,it just looks awesome.

  • https://twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Needs more LeBron.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I also love the shameless “Cop ‘Em Both” on the bottom of the SLAM M.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    this whole thing is balla. mom’s picking up mad copies. My fam is gonna sell out the city! COME WIT IT

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Anton, that’s the funniest comment of the day.

  • DennLive

    Covers are fly…i think this should make up for putting up a playoff team on the cover that loses in the first round…Hopefully you guys have better luck with those covers this year…

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    stil no Bobcats words. Dissapointed reigns over me like Shawn Kemp’s Seattle.

  • http://www.slamonline.com GotHandles?

    Rubio’s gotta hit the gym. Those arms are lookin frail. (i see you pumping up those bicepts with your fist b jennings…solid move). I take Lance in the cage match no doubt.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Josh D: BJ is definitely in the Draft. I talk about Ricky’s situation over in the post on The Links…

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    so Ben lied, their is something for ALMOST everyone. Almost almost almost almoast almost. But i will still cop/enjoy it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    BET, DONT EVEN, we got a NC cat on the cover. haha

  • donovan

    SICK. I hope I get the Rubio/Jennings one…

  • http://www.slamonline.com GotHandles?

    Let me get those UNDER ARMOUR b jennings kicks. FRESH. I vote for a GIVEAWAY. Who’s with me???????

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com B. Long

    This is possibly the SLAM of the Year.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    I’m a retard. I just noticed the subtle change on the covers: NBA becomes NCAA. Would all four be in pros next year if not for age limit?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    GotHandles?, hahah no joke. I’m going to cop a pair somehow, if I gotta beg Jennings to send me a promo set myself bahaha. B. Long, no kidding. Killuh’.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Tzvi, not even a question, great observation.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Justin, i know you got my boy John on your book, but to get married i need something old, something new, and something borrowed. You put Wall (new) and sexxxy colors (borrowed), i need old!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    you need old, do you? Tim Duncan AND Shaq on the cover names. SUCK IT! hahah

  • donovan

    Oops, I will get Ricky/Brandon… didn’t make it to the bottom explanation. Even better.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    BETCATS: There is a ridic Old School in there; and the man it covers is from SEC country.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    i meant old love, as in Bobcats. But i am very excited about this, i said i was gonna cop/enjoy it.

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com B. Long

    This is as excited as I’ve been about getting a issue in a long time. Great work, fellas.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    even if yall never put my Cats in this magizine, i will still read it. Got to respect the effort put in here, it does seem dope, i just was a little disappointing that the Bobcats havent got in in a minute.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    I co-sign B Long, I’m psyched about picking these up.
    Man, now I know I’m askin’ for too much here but… Ricky/Jennings desktop wallpaper? C’mon guysssssss…

  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    Excellent! The front page was loading, meaning i could just see ”SLAM 128” out now…so I decided to guess who would be on the front cover…maybe Lebron? Perhaps a final Shaq? I settled on Dwight Howard…and then the image came up…this is instantly one of my fave covers

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    I mean, this is why you GOTTA love Slam. You have to. They listened to the peoples’ complaints, and they gave the people what they want. You never get that with SI or ESPN. Great, great work guys.

  • donovan

    the city of Charlotte doesn’t care about the Bobcats, man; why would the rest of us?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    overtime, great comment. Loving it.

  • arthur


  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I hope that whatever school John Wall commits to that they don’t do drug testing. Sleepy my ass!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Seriously though, everyone has already said everything that needs to be said. Raw, uncut dope.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Appreciate all the comments so far…don’t want to give Jukai too much credit, though: this cover has been in works since November, so I’m not sure how many complaints we listened to. We’re just trying to make fresh covers and get people to buy them. That’s it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Ben speaks the truth, my wallet will show thanks. COP EM COP EM COP EM ALL! haha

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    I’m already wondering which of these four will the better pro player

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    So Ben, seriously: How long did it take to talk Dennis Page into letting ya’ll do these covers?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Tzvi, I think it’s between Brandon Jennings and John Wall personally.

  • http://web.mac.com/roaringred bbaby

    Yuh! These are some sick covers. If my wallet allows, I’ll cop ‘em both.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Wow, these covers ARE really, really cool. I’m going to cop the Brandon Jennings cover.

  • WhaHuh

    Jennings needs a haircut. I refuse to believe their are no afro-barbers in italy

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    If anyone cares, Iverson is out for the year.

  • https://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Tad – April fool’s was like 2 days ago, brotha.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks, TAD. We got it up in other news…AI’s had enough featured news post for the time being. Hopefully this month’s covers will turn out better than the AI one did…at least from a bball perspective. From a sales perspective AI’s Pistons cover did just fine.

  • Nick Adams

    Yeah, & Slam hyped Sebastian Telfair for years too. Keep telling us how awesome you are, Slam. Rubio=bust.

  • vmcb

    wow Rubio is skinny. This looks like a great issue, though. Great covers, I’ll try to pick up both.

  • dubya816

    In the words of The Lonely Island “I just jizzed in my pants.” Great covers great players. That’s the future. Keep doing stuff like this and on less known players and bring us the real league info. We can hear about A.I., Kobe, Bron, and Wade on ESPN.

  • nate the great

    brandon jennings is a bad @ss. he is going to be amazing.
    rubio is going to lead teams to the nba finals.

  • poohbiz


  • Arto

    The Ricky/Jennings cover is incredibly cool. Congratulations.

  • ArmoPimp

    the 1st one is tight
    the 2nd one isnt

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Oh nice we get the Ricky-Brandon one here in Canada. Both covers look great though. Totally unexpected, what with the playoffs coming and all, but very welcome indeed. Good job, guys!

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    I KNEW IT!

  • Stoney

    SLAM being innovative as always and publishing the hottest basketball magazine on the Planet. DP, Ben and Lang thanks for going all the way with the Euro cover, can’t believe we made it happen, it truly came down to the wire. To keep up with Brandon checkout his blog.


    Great job fellas. Melissa also rocked the design as always…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Freshist cover since I’ve been a subscriber (a year ago last month).

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Ben @ 4:14 p.m. Hell f*cking yeah. Input and feedback and suggestions are always welcome and encouraged and respected, but at the end of the day (I know this will shock some people) there are professionals at this magazine doing a job they’ve been doing for (in some cases) damn near 15 years. Trust them to figure the sh*t out. Great covers, Ben.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    All that said, Kobe is better than Rubio.

  • stokesey

    God damn another ish already??!! Thats awesome and all but i still havnt received my Dwade cover hear in OZ… :( Dope cover(s) though

  • kwame

    damn…you guys are good

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Justin prehyping this yesterday was supercool. You weren’t lying, Walsh. Hats off to you guys (guessing Lang was responsible on one of his Euroleague roadtrips?). The colours look nice and i bet Roma/Badalona reps are overjoyed at the exposure. You are now forgiven for the lame-o wade “sunset” cover. Miami VICE indeed.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Farmer Jones, ladies and Gents. LBJ’s discoverer and mentor.

  • niQ

    i can’t wait for this one. i hope i get the rubio cover in the mail.

  • larrylegend

    R. Rubio…not enough hype!! please send this cover over to your european subscribers…PLEASE! and SLAM still remains on top of the games, nobody even close.

  • seppo

    Rubio is a hot mess. I know Spanish food tastes like crap, but Ricky looks like he is bulimic. He needs to cut his hair, lift some weights and drink a few weight gainers. This guy doesn´t look like a baller. No way he´s gonna make it in the NBA. Jennings must be ashamed to share the cover with such a freak.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    seppo ask team USA, comprised of NBA stars, felt about Rubio. He’s going to be just fine. And no offense, young money is my boy, but he’s just as skinny

  • ab_40

    wow… lame

  • Arto

    The last video mix of Ricky in youtube is really HOT:


  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Both covers look fine – but I really dig the Rubio/Jennings one, good job SLAM!
    I know you guys have to do covers that sell well, and I’m not sure if this will work with the big crowd, but I love ‘em!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    i would hope it sells well, a magazine needs to sell copies if it wants to justify doing fresh ish like this. Otherwise you get a rotation of five coverguys

  • mattyp

    wowwwwww one of the nicest covers in a long time

  • Matt Iakhno

    the rubio/jennings cover is FIRE, cant wait to read the ish

  • ADM

    Hey Ben/ Lang!

    How about a Billy Ray Bates Old School article next issue? He was named on the Mt. Rushmore of the Portland Trailblazers in Scoop Jackson’s “Presenting the Mount Rushmore for each NBA team” and yet so little is known about him.

    Scoop’s Article Link: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=jackson/090224


  • http://AOL Karrim

    Now thats what im talkn bout Brandon Jennings is a beast

  • Ryan

    when do i get mine from the mail?

  • scott

    Dare I say this cover is nice!!

  • http://nba-ts.webs.com Grant Bibby

    all 4 are NBA busts

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Grant – let’s talk about that in…. let’s say 2011? Don’t be an idiot and call a player a bust before they have played a single minute on the NBA hardwood, come on now.

  • Wanda___

    Ben, Really. You expect more “Damn, you guys are good” comments? Expect a few “Damn, thanks for being a few steps behind Dime” and “How long has it been now since SLAM was a relevant media outlet?” comments.

  • Wanda___

    Ben, Really. You expect more “Damn, you guys are good” comments? Expect a few “Damn, thanks for being a few steps behind Dime” and “How long has it been now since SLAM was a relevant media outlet?” comments.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Wanda- really? REALLY?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I’ve never seen covers comparable to these…but you don’t have to like em. I’ll take 90% approval rating. (95% if I count personal emails and texts that I’ve gotten).

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Approval ratings, Ben? You thinking of running for President? Approval ratings, tsss.

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  • j4zz m4n

    fantastic work slam simply fantastic

  • Lenny

    Nice cover the N.B.A has alot of young talent to look foward to,but there are to many outstanding players in the L now why not a cover say top 10 bench players (6 man) in the league you no the guys that really help win champions the poseys the powes the gordens no ring but good baller show some love to the guys that are riding the bench only get to shine for 5 to 10 a game how about the hottest shooter off the bench Eddie House that dudes lights out show the love slam the love

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Well, at least you used punctuation when spelling N.B.A…

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    Dope Rubio-Jennings cover! Hope that cover drops here in the Philippines. :D

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    WHAT??? Holy crap, after a million LeBron, A.I., and D-Wade covers, this is the freshest of the fresh. I am definitely going out and grabbing that John Wall-Lance Stephenson cover to go with my Rubio-Jennings subscription cover. Nice UA kicks, Brandon.

  • Minister Melvin Jones

    Great cover and well worth it. Question is there any way you could make a magazine that has every nike basketball and football shoe pictures in a magazine. That might be asking for to much, but ive been bying SLAM since 97′and my first magazine was KICKS#1, another one like that would be off the chaine. Thats my petition. If it doesnt happen be blessed and continue to trust in GOD no matter what the situation might seem never give up.

  • kid Juicey

    Wanda sucks !

  • Wanda___

    Really, Justin Walsh. Really.

  • Wanda___

    Ben, I don’t mean to be a jerk, but you’ve never seen covers comparable to these? Dime had Brandon Jennings on the cover of its last issue and Lance Stephenson was their coverboy about a year ago.

    I’m not saying you’re stealing ideas – maybe you got to Lance for a PUNKS feature before they got wind of him, but you’re not exactly breaking new ground by having them on your cover.

  • JD

    Dunno if it’s just me but what’s even more creepy is that on the bottom cover, Rubio look like a serial killer version of Harry Potter…shocka.

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  • http://- stubbs

    These cover are sick! I’m getting the Rubio + Jennings one! Rubio is the next Nash!

  • T.J

    Wow! I’m actually lookin forward to this issue I’ma big Jennings fan and I ain’t hatin on John Wall or Lance Stephenson either. Still lookin forward to a Hawks cover one of these dayz but This will help hold me over I guess lol

  • Miguel Ferreira

    Whoever is saying that Ricky Rubio the Spanish prodigy is crap/”hot mess” knows absolutely nothing about him and basketball. He entered the professional spanish league atbthe the age of 14 years and 11 months (still holds the record), he has won the spanish cup and the Eurocup, he is also been named the best young player of Europe, he has also won the sub-16 eurocup. That’s how good it gets right now, he may become one of the best pg’s if placed in teh right team. Hope to see more of him later, plus he is “Nuestros hermanos” cuz im Portuguese :)

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Wanda, I’ve never seen these players shot together by a magazine.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Wanda, have you even read the content of “Dime”? It’s thinner than Paris Hilton on the Atkins diet.
    Just got mine in the mail today, awesome as always.

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  • Luke

    Slam. You’ve kept me alive and shaking by providing me with a new basketball bible every couple of months. I’ve never checked this site out before until today. I doubt you guys will read this, but perhaps you will. Great job, and i’m looking forward to the next one!

  • Flight

    This ish still has not hit shelves in Canada. Anyone know what cover hits the shelves and which gets the mail?

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    ^^Rubio/Jennings is in the mailbox, both are on shelves.

  • zac williams

    ricky rubio this kids going to go far

  • http://nbl antho

    brandon jennings is going to be a great player whan he comes to the NBA

  • big z

    brandon jennings is gonna be BIG for a long time in the nba

  • el

    yeah, Ricky Rubio that the real magic for basketball

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I wonder if Brandon’s performance is opening up the eyes of stupid people who think Ricky won’t kill in the League, too. And John Wall is next (I’ve still got faith in Lance too.)

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