Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 2:36 pm  |  42 responses

SLAM 154: On Sale Now!

Thank you for listening to us!

by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17

As those of you who have read SLAM for a long time know, we’re basketball people, not legal experts. Yeah, we kept the site cranking throughout the lockout with news stories and some diverse, intense opinion pieces, but other than Shawn Bradley and Dave Zirin, there wasn’t too much “lockout coverage” in print. When we did Derrick Rose, we were still hopeful of a settlement. When we did the NBA BATTLES issue, we were honoring the game’s history, not its future. And when we did UNC, we were obviously acknowledging the lockout but felt like the college season was exciting enough that we could celebrate that, talk about the best rookies if there was an NBA season, and generally not spend too many pages on a labor dispute that at that point still hadn’t cost us any games.

But as October turned into November, and the news got bleaker and bleaker, we decided we had to take a stand. We were even starting to get letters and emails from readers—who normally love our relatively light-hearted take on the GAME we LOVE—asking us why we weren’t angrier. Why weren’t we covering it? Well, we were angry, but for one thing, we weren’t sure anger was good business. For another, we’d had enough other stuff to talk about.

Finally, with the union disbanded, lawsuits flying and a cancelled season looking like a real possibility, we’d had enough. We hired photographer Tom Medvedich, discussed the emotions we wanted to convey, and let him go to work. And go to work he did, building this arresting cover image that so perfectly captured how we were feeling. It’s the first SLAM cover in history that doesn’t feature a player, and in a way, it’s one of our most well done.

The cover was completed a little over a week ago and word of the concept started spreading. Lots of writers found out about it, as well as some agents, players and people who work for the NBA. As soon as they knew what type of cover SLAM had planned, they started talking again. Knowing they didn’t want to have forced even SLAM to round-the-clock lockout coverage, they finally resolved to keep talking until they had a deal and the season was saved*. Whew!

The issue, which hits newsstands this week, features some thoughts from Dave Z and I on what the NBA should be doing to make amends with fans going forward, as well as one last Shawn Bradley image that I know you’ll want to keep forever**.

Honestly, though, as the top two lines of the cover imply, there aren’t more than five or six pages of this issue that are about the lockout. Again, we are not a sports business magazine. We are not a legal journal. We are a basketball magazine. And there was still lots of basketball—or at least, basketball personalities—to discuss. With our usual wide lens, this month’s lineup features stories on Brandon Bass, Stephen Curry, Jimmer Fredette, Meadowlark Lemon, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Paul, Pat Summitt and much more.

If anything, this cover should have special collector’s issue status. After all, we’ll do plenty more KD, Kobe and LeBron covers over the years. But a burning basketball? This is a one-time only deal!

*We may not have been the biggest impetus for the resumption in talks.

**People may not want to keep the SB image forever.

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I’m a straightforward kind of guy.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Interesting. Well… at least it’s fixed… sorta…

  • http://www.melissabrennan.net Melissa Brennan

    For the record, we actually lit that goddamn ball on fire.

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?


  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Yeah, niQ. Some of the stuff we discuss in the issue was to settle the lockout, and some of it are things that transcend a labor agreement that the League just needs to do a better job of. And: what Melissa said!

  • Eldon Khorshidi

    Cover is inferno (pun certainly intended).

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    HAhha Didn’t think you guys would actually light a ball on fire. Thought it was just some photoshop. hAhha. I wonder how David Stern will like this issue now that his name is on fire. Lol

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    *Wow..I just read over what I read… clearly didn’t need to put so much laughing in it =.=

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    *what I wrote… must not be my day.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Ben’s a straightforward kind of guy.

  • robb

    That’s a nice Miami Heat logo cover

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    You guys can run it again in July with a Larry O’Brien trophy behind it.

  • Dirtybird

    Gosh, I don’t remember a non player on the cover. At least it wasn’t a deflated ball, similar to an NFL strike cover on SI years ago.


    It’s stated already but it bears repeating. The ball being actually on fire is really tremendous….Now that the season is saved lets get to back to our orignally scheduled programming. In other words–Who’s gonna be the ROY? Sleeper Player/Team? MVP, etc…..

  • jarrett

    not really feelin it.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I thought y’all just took a picture of the ball after my last jumper…..

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/san-dova-speak-easy/ San Dova

    That’s the best cover SLAM’s ever did.

  • Jim ICE

    Spalding cut a check?

  • shutupallenp

    @nbk if you took that jumper someone would have to burn the ball just to get your greasey fingerprints off it. stay acting like that K in your name stands for KERR

  • Joe Joe

    This cover should of came out last week.

  • http://360special.blogspot.com/ dev0

    love it

  • http://www.slamonline.com big_ticket

    yikes,wrong timing slam hehe

  • http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelJR_NZ Michael NZ

    Admit it Ben, you wanted that lockout to hold for at leeeeeeast a couple more weeks.

  • http://dgcoursereview.com Bro.D.

    That’s not a ball on fire, that’s a Japanese Oni sent by Stern to haunt Billy Hunter.

  • L

    Worst SLAM cover of all time.Guys we don’t want to read about that in your mag but about the next HS punks or some vintage articles about forgotten legends.Even with no NBA there’s still lots of bball to talk about maybe cover better all the NBA guys that have gone to Europe.
    Just hate this cover and i’m a french slam fan that reads it from day 1.I can tell you to find slam around here is no easy task.L

  • SlamGettinWorseandWorse

    Ay man JAyfizzy back for some more a dis hardcore bullshi, man. Ah got ma main man SlimDizzzle up in here Sup Slim, we bout to show love to the homies represent, nowmsayin, out’n the East Coast boy, what it do son representcha hood son, Damn I might even go into the pool for a dip right now unless some phonies be callin me up for beef Haaaa you knowmsayn. SLAM, what it do, yall want beef you got it son you wanna square it off give me a time and place knowmsayin, the homie be down since 07, the Lakers gittin Rings homie what it do, what it do, down here in East/West relationship still ballin on you hoes you cant stop it we the best.

  • eugene

    this is quite possibly the best slam cover jinx ever.

  • flash

    LOL that’s the heats logo

  • http://www.slamonline.com aman from arkansas

    next cover slam should do a double cover with zach randolph and kevin love. the come up issues vol 2

  • Heals

    Couldn’t skim all the comments, but anybody else gettin an NBA Jam vibe (in a good way) from the cover?

  • Enigmatic

    It’s dope, but why “Now Fix It?”
    Why not “Fix It Now?”

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Boom ShakaLaka

  • golakeshow

    Um the lockout is over you stupid sack of sh!t

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    This was obviously created before that. You iignorant sack of excrement

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I thought this cover was about the Heat’s team chemistry, then I read the article.


    hope its a great iss.

  • diamond23

    someing out of nba jam alie

  • Kent Kanada

    Like burning a bible

  • qwerty

    thanx for using the “slam cruse” on nba lockout!

  • http://twitter.com/walkeraspinwall Walker

    is this ish gonna be sent to subs or just on sale?

  • rod



  • http://slamonline burnsy

    awesome cover i just got it delivered love the cover and chris paul article keep it up !!!!!!!!!