Friday, May 7th, 2010 at 3:04 am  |  127 responses

SLAM 139: On Sale Now!

Higher Ground.

by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17Michael Jordan, the owner, 4/10/2010

As if I should ever have to explain putting the G.O.A.T. on our cover…

SLAM historians should know that this issue’s timing (finish working on it right as the Playoffs start, have it on stands while the second round and Conference Finals are taking place) has long vexed us, with two of the last three years resulting in upsets that messed us up a bit. In 2007, we went with Dirk and Shaq on the cover. They both lost in the first round in embarrassing fashion. Whoops. In 2008, bingo—the Celtics on their way to a title. Perfect. Last year we pitted LeBron against Kobe—well, one of them made us look good.

Unsure exactly what team/player was the safest/most timely this month, and with two of the biggest names out of the cover equation due to a special issue you’ll see in about two weeks, we settled on a different front-page subject this month: yep, it’s Mike’s turn again. Why the heck not?

We remain captivated by the memory of his playing days, and this issue relives how dominant the Black Cat was at this time of year with a piece on his 10 Greatest Post-season Moments by Russ Bengtson, a Jordan historian in his own right.

This isn’t just a look back at a time of year Michael Jordan always owned on the court, though. It’s also a look ahead.

For the very first time, a former NBA player is now a full-fledged NBA owner, and how Mike handles this role will be watched closely by other executives around the League, current and former players, and, we think, the millions of fans that still make him one of the world’s greatest product endorsers and scoop up everything we do on him with the quickness (remember these recent classics?).

Michael Jordan, The Shot. Just about anyone could have written the feature about Mike as an owner—if you write for SLAM you likely know Mike’s career pretty well and have a feeling on this next stage, one way or another—but we went outside our usual cast of contributors for this one and asked the great Rick Telander to tackle the assignment. Having written about MJ for 25 years for the likes of the Chicago Sun-Times and Sports Illustrated, and privy to conversations and quotes with him none of SLAM’s comparatively new writers ever have, Rick has a perspective all his own.

If Playoff memories and a world-class piece by one of our favorite writers (relive some of our history with Rick via this link) about the best player ever don’t pique your interest, we’ve got stories with kids at the opposite end of the career spectrum from Michael (such as Final Four hero Gordon Hayward and our High School All-Americans, beautifully photographed in the heart of Times Square) and every phase in between (features on Vince Carter, Stephen Curry and Zach Randolph, a WNBA Season Preview, and an absolutely classic Old-School q+a with Reggie Miller, as conducted by the great former SLAM Ed. Tony Gervino).

As I say in my Editor’s Letter, the mixture of old and new, the looking back and looking ahead, that this month’s issue calls for really captures what SLAM is all about. Pick it up at a store near you in the next week or two and see for yourself.

SLAM Cover, July 2010 (#139): Michael Jordan

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  • http://kb24.com Bigi


  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    I’ve been down since -MIKE the interview- and being a huge MJ-fan this is sweeter than sweet. G.O.A.T. indeed, although I’m all about current NBA and it’s players(Mamba!)MJ-covers give me goosbumps every-single-time!(still hate that earring) Nice work SLAM, once again! Peace.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    “with two of the biggest names out of the cover equation due to a special issue you’ll see in about two weeks” = LeBron’s Elbow vs. Kobe’s Finger: This Time It’s Personal

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    @Anton: Haahahahaha,Nice

  • http://www.lky.ch Darksaber

    Very nice theme here with the b&w, always a big fan of that. But maybe Mike needs to cut back on the cigars/groupies/drinking/gambling till late, his skin is not aging well. Money’s skin got some texture to it. Still the one and only G.O.A.T.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Michael Jordan’s skin just dunked on you!

  • Thomas

    I think his greatest challenges are to stay away from the blackjack tables and be faithful to his wife.

  • J

    nice cover.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Would be better if ‘SLAM’ and ‘Mike’s amazing playoff moments’ was in Bobcat’s orange.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Seriously though, this cover looks terrific. Always down with the B&W look. Gotta check out that Gordon Hayward article too… he’s gonna be better than expected.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    You know what? No offense slam, but I ain’t buying this one. I’m not sure if this is one of those “putting scrubs from Atlanta and OKC on the cover hurt us last time, let’s put MJ on the cover to raise sales”… but you’re putting the GOAT on the cover solely cause yer focusing on his business venture with the B-Cats? Sorry, I’ll read FORBES for that. I expect to pick up SLAM and read what’s going on in ands for the game. You just RAN a Jordan special edition issue, it’s in a sleeve up in my room. You had to bring him back on the cover so soon? You had to RE-recap his playoff moments?
    Sorry if this seems awfully critical, but I’m shocked you’d throw another generic Jordan cover -again-
    I don’t even like the black and white. It’s boring and the picture clashes with all the fonts.

  • arthur

    Bigi’s comment at 3:17 stole the words from my mouth. Really great job, feels like SLAM has moved up a category in some sort of way. Definitely a surprise!

  • Rikson

    How faceless has this league become, when MJ is still on the cover of your mac….

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

    CEO is impressive……. but I’d rather be The King,

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    i agree with jukai on most points, except 2 things: i will buy it and i do dig the cover design.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Admittedly, Jordan on the cover mid playoffs is a little odd. But unlike Jukai, I don’t base my buying decision solely on the cover. I’m not 12 years old.

  • Chris

    @Michael NZ, no, it isn’t just about the cover, but…. the lead story is a body of work that hasn’t been added to for nearly a decade, and an interview that, however skilled the interviwer, will obviously wax lyrical about ‘winning mentality’, making profit in difficult times, keeping the fans engaged, delivering a product ‘that Michael Jordan is proud of, because Michael Jordan isn’t associated with losing’.
    What else is he likely to say?
    I just don’t think MJ is going to add anything now, verbally, that he hasn’t before.

    He is an aged god. Yes, a god, but an aged one. He hasn’t hit a shot for nearly 9 years….and we have poured over them all already, have we not?

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Hear what you’re saying Chris, however the article will be focused on him in the role of a CEO as opposed to Jordan the Bull, no? Thats different. But hey, like I said, we’re mid playoffs here. Shouldn’t it be Kobe or LeBron on the cover? Kidding!

  • kh

    well played

  • Rikson

    “Yes, a god, but an aged one.” -> Nothing better than paradoxs…

  • JoeMaMa

    SLAM…really. MJ again? I’m with Jukai on this one. You guys are pandering to the lowest common denominator for basketball fans. How many covers has it been now? Why not throw a “Wilt vs Russell” pic? An 80s Lakers dynasty shot? Big O? Shoot, Euro ball! This magazine isn’t chance to read the ads, but get thorough basketball knowledge!! Respecting history, see the future!! I know you guys are looking for the happy balance between loving the game and selling mags, and many times you do it, but on this one…you’re collecting paychecks. I love MJ. I love SLAM. But as a reader since issue #9, I had to air that grievance.

  • BostonBaller

    I’m cool with it plus I HAVE to have it since I have EVERY ish since #1

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    He could still put up 15ppg…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I love it. Thanks for the kind words, most of you.

  • rikson

    Every player in the league can put up 15ppg if the systems right…

  • Nate

    The reggie piece ought to cover his “kodak moments”…

  • Sparker

    funny that mike hasn’t kept super-fit. lots of guys his age do. and the question of whether he’ll be a good owner is pretty interesting (’cause, unlike his status as a player, there’s a lot that’s open to debate). anyway, i buy any magazine that features mj in-depth. period.

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

    All this buying an NBA team and appearing on magazine covers is just Michael Jordan’s sad attempt at trying to get out of The King’s shadow.

  • dino

    Can i just say i will buy this one, but whats this bout speacial issue in two weeks please tell me more

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

    Hate the player but love the cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Nice, we recently had first coach on the cover, first time for ATL, and now first CEO on the cover… although it’s beyond his first appearance on a cover….

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    I’m afraid of the Reggie Miller piece and I haven’t even read it yet. Dope work all around.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    I’m afraid to relive Reggie killin my team. Again. And Again. etc… As usual, cover is sick. And Telander? Awesome.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I would say the look and design of this cover—not to mention the subject matter of the story and the person who wrote it—make this COMPLETELY different than any previous MJ cover. Putting in Russ’ story on MJ’s Playoff Moments could be called “pandering,” I suppose, but that’s for the people that are like, “Mike is the man, but who cares about him as an owner, I still love him as a player.” If none of this compels you to buy the issue, no problem: I promise that will put you in the minority of possible SLAM buyers relative to almost anyone else we would have put on this particular cover.

  • LA Huey

    Design is sick but y’all need to give Mark Cuban a cover. =P

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?

    SO FLY

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    BTW, Ben gave it a mention but the funniest thing in the issue (besides maybe the fake Mutombo Twitter page) is Tony Gervino’s Q&A with Reggie Miller.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Dope cover.

  • http://bugshots.info LeoneL

    Why not garb him in all-white?

  • Logues

    idk whats up jukai’s a$$, but i think its awesome. anytime mj is on the cover of SLAM, its awesome. I am pumped for this ish and the kobe special issue.
    Ryan Jones: why do u hate mj? just curious

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  • http://air-tsinelas.blosgpot.com Roy

    Dope cover! I can’t wait for this to drop here in the Philippines. :D

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Point blank, SLAM is the GOAT. Great cover!!

  • Joey E.

    is there a piece on his girl in this? did you guys see her during the playoffs? man she looks great…

  • Logues

    Whens the next “SLAM Classic?”

  • Logues

    the only question i have is why no bobcat color theme at all on the cover?

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    When we were working on the issue, I knew it’d be solid. When I held issue in my hand, I realized it was gold.

  • kriz

    not buying this one. loved watching jordan growing up but now understand he is a worshipped petty POS asshole

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com CHRIS


  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    I agree with some of Jukai’s points, but as an atheist Jordan is the closest to a God in my world – hence I’m buying (actually getting, true SLAM heads subscribe). My money is on Mikhail Prokhorov sitting on a mountain of All-Stars and crisp Euro-bills will be the second CEO to make the cover.

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

    Logues: Many reasons, but it’s nothing new and nothing specific to Slam. My only interaction with him was a positive one.

  • Elias

    i was hoping for “great debate 2″ Lebron’s elbow vs Kobe’s finger.

  • http://twitter.com/Lakeshow824 James

    cant wait to get this issue! Glad I subscribed

  • jay

    nice….cant wait to cop this one! KB also and a special kobe issue coming..man i love this!!!

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

    Seriously Slam- Don’t put him n the cover anymore. For all these kids know, Michael Jordan is a Hanes underwear salesman.

  • Ai come back

    i got one thing to say if slam ever ever ever posts some trash talk or an article saying ARGUABLY GOAT im gonna sue u for bullsht

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

    Funny comments. Kinda agree with jukai. U guys could have saved this for the summer. But it still looks like a great issue. Lookn forward to the zach piece, and deke twitter iish

  • boi-1da

    Michael Scorn: What did MJ do: win 6 rings, 5 MVPs, 14 All-Star appearances, 6 Finals MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year 1988, 11x All-NBA Team (10x First Team), 9x All-Defensive Team, Rookie of the Year, 3x All-Star Game MVP, 2x Dunk Contest Winner. LeBron has two MVP trophies to his name and THAT’S IT. So shut your trap, get off LeBron’s dick, and stop disrespecting the greatest to ever play the game.

  • tato

    The big boss, slam again!!!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Reggie Miller > Your favorite player.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    CHRIS please don’t quote Drake…

  • http://yahoo.com Kevin Armenta

    Love the cover SLAM.Cats hatin on money because they dont have the model chick,doe and the ball skills.Please stop hatin!

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Lang: Yeah, sorry buddy, I forgot we can’t give constructive criticism to your magazine previews. I’ll just treat this like it’s DIME from now on and just say “WOW GREAT JOB GUYS!!!” whether I like it or not. Because, you know, who care about the fans and how a lot of them are saying the same thing?
    Great job all around guys!

  • Ben_24

    Interesting that Mike would do this interview … I’m sure the Telander connection had something to do with it, but MJ needs good pub in a bad way these days. Brilliant ideas from start to finish on this issue, guys. Most enticing edition of SLAM I’ve seen in a while, though I’m a regular reader.

  • http://myspace.com/dontdiecindy Bryan

    jukai : nobody wants you to kiss their as$ but there is a difference between constructive and being a jerkoff. you definitely walk the fine line and sometimes cross it. perhaps “jordan on the cover is a little tired” and basing whether youre gonna buy it from the cover and one story is ridiculous. buy magazine for the content and stop being a dummy.

  • http://myspace.com/dontdiecindy Bryan

    also Jordan is the first former player to own a franchise which is a big deal. and slam is the first to get at him so bravo for that. I think Slam is always a step ahead of the comp. This is a basketball mag, and basketball is business as well as a game and its about time someone stops regurgitating stats and accolades and starts showing some behind the scenes scoop. but you can have your dime mag with their kissass , unoriginal writers and same na every month.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Bryan @ 9.18pm: word.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Cosign Jukai @6:13

  • Toml11

    I thought Reggie is anti-SLAM? didn’t he refuse to be interviewed by u guys a while back?

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Bryan: I checked the content on the cover. A story about Jordan f’ing up the Bulls that I don’t care about. Okay. Another story about Jordan’s playoff moments just after the Special Edition Jordan Issue came out. Okay. Great.
    Whether you like it or not, Bryan, the cover says a lot about the issue. I can’t exactly read the entire magazine and see if I’m gonna enjoy the issue or not. That’s ridiculous. Even though two of my favorite writers (Russ and Tony) are doing the stories, I’m just not gonna cop the mag if I feel like they’re doing something I don’t like. Let them get their moneys by doing a Jordan cover (maybe this is how it’s gonna be… if we throw guys like Johnson and Durant on the cover, maybe the next month we gotta have Kobe/Lebron/Jordan/AI on the cover to balance the books… I’m fine with that) but I’m not gonna be a part of it.
    I apologized for being overly critical and told the guys not to take offense to my post. Sorry for still coming off like an ass. It’s cool though, this way a half-dozen people can say “co-sign Jukai” without having to look like d-bags themselves for voicing their opinions. Because, heaven forbid!

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    And I’ll add that I have no problem with the occasional throwback Jordan issue. But during the PLAYOFFS and only a few months after their SPECIAL EDITION JORDAN MAG? Dang…

  • Logues

    Jukai: grow up

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

    SLAM never fails to amaze me. Jordan on the cover? I didn’t see that one coming, and call me McDonalds, but I’m lovin’ it. (punch me in the gut for saying that). Anyway, great job SLAM, can’t wait to get it.

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

    also: very cool that Rick Telander wrote it.

  • Wadeforpresident

    Does it bother anybody that Jordan’s head is starting to wrinkle?

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

    the special edition Jordan mag was quite a while ago, but here’s another thing: MJ is on this cover because he is a part of NBA history. And I’m not even talking about what he did on the court, but he’s the first former player being a majority owner of an NBA franchise. Putting him on the cover is relevant, if only because of that. I’m surprised by the many negative reactions. It’s okay to be critical, but in this case I don’t really get it.

  • kid juicey

    Anyone who has watched Jordan over years has to appreciate this cover.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/CathedralsRecords?feature=mhw4 Earl

    This is is the BEST SLAM COVER SINCE 100. No gay bubble-letters on the cover, just Mike. 5 Star cover!

  • http://springbored.net letsmotor

    a few things i have to say about this cover: first, it’s a great photograph. mj’s really giving that mj look in it. second, being an mj geek, i’m excited about it. Third, I can understand people being upset about it. i would be too if i wasn’t so fond of mj. there are good reasons for having him on the cover–he’s generally regarded as the GOAT (which to some extent makes it hard to argue against his being on the cover), and his ownership of the Bobcats is basketball history. still, i can totally understand people being upset about this. i mean, the playoffs are going on. speaking of the playoffs, is anyone else disappointed with the way the conference semi-finals are shaping up? three of them are at 3-0 right now, and the one close one, BOS-CLE, has seen back to back blowouts. hopefully things start to get a little more interesting.

  • jay

    can not wait to cop this issue and check it out…i wish the GOAT best of luck on building the bobcats! the aj2k10 for da flash is not half bad…want to see if kb is in this issue as it says on the cover…we shall see! should be a great issue!

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Logues: F you too, buddy.

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  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    Im COMPLETLEY With Jukai. Lets give him a special recognition for every thing he …(what? U sure? well I wasnt aware we had done a special mag when he got inducted…Ok) ^
    ^Well we have to give him one of the slots ina special Mag for us (What? Really he was on issue 100? Well im knew here its my first day…)

    Every time mags arent selling y’all gone come up with a new Jordan Story? Lets Celebrate him as an Executive? In the Middle of May when y’all always slow down in the summer? Doesnt Make sense. I get tired of seeing Kobe and LBJ on the Cover let alone michale in the same exact pose every 6 months. Its Over let it go

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    Should’ve Put Vince in a Penny Jersey and Titled it the Revenge Remix

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    People be Reasonable this isnt about the shot, or the dunks or the tounge. ITS ABOUT Writing CHECKS! Not a GAME, NOT A GAME. Writing Checks!

  • RunningBrave

    I’m not a Bucks fan but Jennings on the cover with his ‘hawk woulda been dope.

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne
  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    Put King James on the front,no comparison or contrasting on LeBron vs. Kobe. (LeBron FAn!!!!!!!!!)

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    put lebron vs. kobe on 2k11 on the cover.

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    What u talkin about ENDs Kobe Has lots of covers but Bron?

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    i agree ENDs on your posted May 9,2010 at 6:17

  • steve

    who are on the posters?

  • Goat

    You should have put an ugly picture of Reggie Miller in a little bubble up in the corner. That would have made it better.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne
  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    I am a LEBRON Fan.I am 11 years old and the cavs will wi the championship!!! Who are you???

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    By the way nice cover I just think they should have had me on it. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bill

    who are on the posters?????????????????

  • http://aol.com Martin Fenn

    Jukai, chill out bro. This is a totally different challenge for MJ. Not all player-owners have immediate success (aside from Jerry West). Slam is seeing his story from a different perspective and they are WRITERS FOR A LIVING AND BUSINESSMEN, so I think they would know who to put on their cover and who not to. They need revenue ya’ know.

    Mark: You’re hilarious but I personally think that the Magic are going to win it all based on consistency in the playoffs thus far.

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    this is not Jukai

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    Martin,Mark is not my real name that’s secret between me and you.Oh well not anymore!Anyway, there’s a posibility that the Magic might win the 2010 championship.However,if the Magic wants to win they have to play like they played the Hawks.Right now I’m going for Cavs all the way!!!

  • phil

    who are on the posters?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    Mark I told u! I am 11, a big cavs fan and we will get a championship!

  • http://aol.com Martin Fenn

    Geez phil calm down.

    Mark or whatever the hell your name is: The Magic had like a 25 point margin of victory against one of the best teams in the L and will be well rested for whoever comes next. Don’t count the Celts out, Rondo might just be the best PG in the L.

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    who’s this?

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    Watch Cavs and Celtics right now!My name is Mark, I just Like having Fun!

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  • http://aol.com Martin Fenn

    Celts 3-2 Mark, looks like LeBron needs to pick it up.

  • ai come back

    y does stuff like this ALWAYS turn to lebron kobe , r kobe this or lebron taht ITS MICHAEL JORDAN WHO CARES ABOUT THE OTEHR KIDS WHO WISH THEY WERE HIM

  • soulchris1

    ill cover!! I’m getting this issue for sure. Big ups MJ

  • tom

    who are on the posters?!?!?!?!!?!??

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  • playa


  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James


  • http://www.drose232121@aim.com devin carter

    gotta love an mj cover

  • http://thebestanswer2.host22.com youknowwho

    My mom was driving me home from basketball one day and i was looking at the cover of this mag, talking to my sister about the earring, and my mom said, “who’s that?”

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    Looking forward to reading Reggie Miller’s bit. Hope he’s got some trash to talk!

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    i just still can’t believe the cavs get knock out by

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  • Jimmy C

    MJ cover is money, the story is good and the playoff moments was great, until the number 8 moment. Money hit the game winner on the ATL HAWKS, and his first game back was against the PACERS.

    Come on Russ, your slippin!

  • http://pat0704@yahoo.com Mark James

    enough about MJ yeah,of course he’s a legend and the best basketball player in the world and everything.But if y’all know me you probably would have been goin for King James but they got knocked out i’m goin for RAJON RONDO!!!!!!!I think he should have been on the cover!

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  • raekillah

    thiz iz one of tha best maganize ever to be to be publish

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