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Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 1:51 pm  |  42 responses

SLAM 155: On Sale Now!

It’s KD time.

by Adam Figman / @afigman

With the brutal offseason of 2011 in the rearview, SLAM’s first non-lockout issue in a few months is, for us, a wildly exciting moment. Without actual basketball to distract us or an impending season (or at least one with a known start date) to dream about, the summer/fall of 2011 was a boring lull of nothingness; while the owners and players’ union convened in boardroom gatherings, the SLAM staff did the same in editorial meetings, scrapping up ways to keep the content coming amidst the drought. For the most part, this led to an increase in stories about high school and college bball or NBAers returning to school, but if it also meant I had to dig through the subsoil of YouTube to find a video of Dwight Howard dunking on a giraffe, then so be it. Whether in print and online, lockout or not, our readership required its fill, and we made sure to provide it. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

But needless to say, this publication was pretty stoked when that mess ended and we realized we could go back to writing, talking and thinking about hoops. So when we hit the lab to put together issue 155, the decision to put the superstar you’ll see below on its cover was an easy one.

With all talk of BRI and revenue sharing and enormous consequences and all of that nonsense filed in the not-so-dearly departed cabinet, we turned our focus directly back to the hardwood, where, finally, the world’s best bball players would soon compete on the national stage. Which we took as permission to forget about everything that goes on outside of that 94 x 50 space for a little while and worry only about those who did the same. And, really, who on earth—excluding us!—seems to care about ball more than Kevin Durant does?

There’s no bigger struggle in the basketball media these days than the one to drum up an off-the-court narrative for this Oklahoma City team. That’s because, honestly, it’s damn near impossible to do. These guys just want to hoop. It’s no mystery that KD and Russell Westbrook had some on-the-court issues last postseason, but those didn’t last more than a few games. And when it was reported that the two were involved in another quick spat during a second quarter timeout earlier this season, the timing is what mattered most. It took place in the middle of the game. On the court. Two basketball players, on an active roster of 12, trying to figure out how to make it work, how to score the maximum amount of points so as to defeat their opponent. Their unyielding competitiveness is the kind of thing we should champion, not pull apart. The Thunder are an up-and-coming group of guys working their way towards a Larry O’Brien Trophy, and KD is their face, the one whose success or failure will ultimately determine their fate. That much, you know.

So placing the DMV native, who spent the summer showing and proving just how much he loves the sport, right up front following an event that threatened to cut NBA fans’ access to the game entirely just felt right. I visited OKC for a few gloomy December days to knock out the story, hitting up the squad’s media day and then a subsequent practice in order to make it happen.

To read the KD feature you’ll have to grab the issue, which you should do anyway because the rest is jam-packed with goodness, too: a slightly belated but comprehensive NBA preview; a look at the rookies most likely to…; a profile of forever-relevant Celtics veteran Paul Pierce; a conversation with the great Penny Hardaway; a Q+A with Nuggets PG Ty Lawson about his come-up; and plenty, plenty more.

Go get it.

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  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Lol. Reminds me of that Gary Payton cover, cept this one is more close up. Haha.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    I knew KD would be on the next cover.. dude has been ballin’.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Can’t wait to get this in the mail!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    :)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Cover is a little wack…

  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    Yeah, I’m not too pleased with the cover, you guys have done a lot better, the odd numbered covers have been kinda shabby lately. But excited for the issue nonetheless.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    @niQ: You stole the words out of my mouth…(well, keyboard)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    Love it.

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?

    fresh colors

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Durantula!

  • Heals

    SLAM I love you guys (uh-oh the compliment to set-up criticism technique) and I know the lockout/timing of the season has effed your schedule/plan for topics, but this is 2 issues in a row that are somewhat after-the-fact. That said if that’s the worst critique I can muster, ya’ll must be doing alotta other things on point…

  • http://www.huwlhopkins.com #6marjon

    wow one of the best

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

    I thought Slam would put Chris Paul in his Clippers uni on the cover for the season preview.

  • ugly_fish

    shades of Stackhouse (issue 49 i think)

  • Brown

    Like niQ said, it’s a tribute to the GP cover, and with the Sonics/Thunder link that’s a nice touch

  • TP

    Penny Hardaway in his prime had once of the nicest all-around games of anybody. Ever. He could score 40, make a amazing passes…or drop a highlight-filled 38 points here with Pippen guarding him the whole game!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsEwfI2-QlM

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    good.

  • martin

    i thought it was nate robinson for a minute

  • http://www.slamonline.com big_ticket

    im waiting for a lob city cover guys..

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    @niq that was my first thought, and that one went down as one of the worst covers ever

  • Zabbah

    Gary Payton cover.

  • goattree

    Rookie Most Likely to…
    average 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks = Jonas Valunciunas

    Too bad it won’t be for an NBA team though

  • mike

    John Wall again? Come on. Great cover though and looking forward to reading about Jason Williams!

  • bike

    I would like to see Stern on the cover in exactly the same pose as KD above. The caption should read “Bring It On!”.

  • miller126

    Is “White Chocolate” Jason Williams or the old streetball player that was on that MTV show back in the day, I need to know this! It better be my main man Jwill!

  • bike

    KD looks like a dog crapping peach seeds.

  • ndjind

    What Paul P Instead Of rondo u gotta be kidding what a rip

  • http://slamonline house

    looks like Martin Lawrence

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @miller126: Jason Williams!

  • http://j.com jj

    who is on da slamup poster???

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @jj: Carmelo Anthony and Lamar Odom

  • Jono

    Dear SLAM, I’ve paid a years subscription and over the past 4 months, I’ve received 1 copy. It’s the one with Harrison Barnes. I live in the UK and I’ve ordered from you guys from ages. They NEVER consistently arrive. I understand there will be 1-2 week delays, but I still expect them to arrive at some point. With the new issue out, I’ve still not received the last one. Again. That’s goodbye to me ever subscribing.

  • kvhvlkhj

    @KDTrey5 for MVP

  • miller126

    @Ben Osborne: Thanks!! Def gonna pick up the issue now, love how SLAM always gives JWill props.

  • real

    Penny 4 life!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Justin G.

    It’s sad to think about what could have been for Penny. He had a shot to be one of the greats

  • http://www.ballalldaylong.com Bilal

    @Miller126: Both of them!

  • http://slamonline joel

    great cover! i am looking forward to getting it in the mail

  • http://slamonline joel

    kd! awesome!!!!!!!!!

  • Cameron

    How long until someone can call or send an email saying they haven’t gotten there issue yet? does it usually take this long? It hasn’t in the months before

  • Tony

    Hi i Live in Gloucester Mass and i Can’t find your Magazine ANYWHERE!!..Where can i buy one?

  • Jonathan

    Damn, Kevin Durrant is the only good player in Oaklahama City and there is no suprise that he is on the Cover, since he has been Ballin in these few games.

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