Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at 11:03 am  |  50 responses

SLAM 157: On Sale Now!

Cover 2 of 2: Jeremy Lin’s emergence is simply too crazy to ignore.

by Farmer Jones / @thefarmerjones

You could make a case—and I guess I’m about to—that these two covers are the most randomly paired covers in SLAM cover history.

That’s mostly my fault.

This all started a year or so ago, back when Kevin Love was in the midst of that epic run of 53 straight double doubles. I’ve known Kevin since his Basketball Diary days, and we’ve stayed in touch since, a symbiotic relationship in which I hit up Kevin for game tickets and he bugs me about getting on the cover of SLAM. At some point late last season, in an exchange that eventually went semi-public on Twitter, I got the blessing of EIC Ben Osborne and told Kevin that, if he could somehow average 20 and 15 for the season, we’d guarantee him a cover.

Kevin apparently thought we were serious.

We were both in L.A. last summer—Kevin to work out with Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, lose a bunch of weight and turn into a perennial All-Star, me to take my kids to Disneyland—and so we linked up for an interview that would form, I thought, the basis of his eventual cover story. This was June, by the way, before Ricky Rubio was officially a Timberwolf, and before the 2012 season was locked out almost for good.

By the time things finally settled late last fall, there seemed to be other, more compelling cover subjects than a good young power forward on a bad team in a smallish market. It looked like Kevin’s wait might be postponed indefinitely. But in late December, once the delayed season finally got underway, I made my case to the boss, and to the boss’s boss (DP! What up peoples!), pitching the idea of a Love & Rubio cover that would be fresh in all the right ways and at least a little bit unexpected. And if we’re worried about sales, I argued, we could find someone from a bigger-market team to run as a split cover.

Funny how that worked out.

I ended up in Minneapolis in February, there to catch the Wolves against the Mavs and Knicks. It was after the second of those games, a 100-98 Knicks’ win, that I emailed Ben with a question: “You doing a Lin cover in NYC?” I was half joking. Maybe slightly less than half. It’s not like Ben and everyone else back in the Dome didn’t have the same idea in the back of their heads by that point, anyway.

All of which is to explain how what started nine months ago as Kevin Love solo cover became a shared cover with Ricky Rubio and, ultimately, a split with Love & Rubio on one front and Jeremy Lin on the other.

So: Jeremy Lin. What’s left to say? Great, great story. You can make the case—and I guess I’m about to—that he earned himself a SLAM cover pretty much entirely because of how he played in his first seven NBA starts. On the surface, this is insane; generally speaking, SLAM covers are highly coveted and hard as hell to get, the domain of superstars who tend to be really greedy about sharing that space. How does anyone “earn” a cover on the strength of seven games?


Well, everybody knows what happened. No puns here, but respect to this kid for an amazing, unprecedented debut, and for doing it while wearing a Knicks jersey. Adam Figman wrote the cover story, and I’m psyched to read it. Cop it, New Yorkers, or you’ll never get another.

And the Timberpups? Well, it’s hard to argue that Kevin hasn’t earned his cover. If he’s not the best power forward in the game, he’s on a very short list of candidates, and none of the others are top five in the League in scoring and rebounding. Then there’s Ricky, making his second SLAM cover appearance, and both of those have been based as much on what we think he’s going to do as what he’s actually done. But it’s not like Rubio hasn’t shown plenty—in the Spanish pro league, in the Olympics, and so far as an NBA rookie—to make us feel pretty good about the future.

I wrote a lot about the future in my cover story on Love and Rubio (which is the issue subscribers will get, by the way; both issues will be available at newsstands everywhere). Individually, let’s not front like Kevin isn’t a Hall of Famer if he keeps this up another five or six years; I’ve been hyping this dude since he was in high school, and even I couldn’t have predicted this. Ricky’s game hints at guys like Nash and Stockton, and if he stays healthy and continues to improve, why couldn’t he have a comparable career? For a neutral, let alone a long-suffering Wolves fan, you’ve got to love the idea of these guys developing—and winning—together.

(I almost forgot: Old SLAM heads will appreciate the homage that is our new cover. The front of SLAM 21 should make any short list of our most iconic covers, and Ben gets all the credit for the throwback concept. Not saying Kevin and Ricky pull it off quite as convincingly as Kevin and Steph did back in ’97, but you can’t argue with the inspiration. For what it’s worth: Kevin insisted on the visor, and Ricky is wearing a watch borrowed from photographer Atiba Jefferson, who was skateboarding with Lil Wayne about 36 hours before he did this shoot.)

I don’t have the slightest idea what the future holds for Jeremy Lin, but I don’t think it matters. Dude could end up never starting another NBA game, and he’s already been one of the most compelling stories in recent NBA history.

So, yeah: These covers are a weird match, but in both cases, for very different reasons, the timing just seems right.


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  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    YES! I knew it! Any idea which cover we get in from subscriptions (in Toronto)?

  • http://slamonline.com Myles Brown

    <3 <3 <3

  • http://jaredmintzisthetruth.blogspot.com Jared

    I live in NY and know I’m gonna get the rubio/love cover. Some Bullsh!t. This will be the fourth cover with a Knick on it over the last two years that I will not get in the mail despite being a loyal subscriber for damn near 15 years now! Can you please stop screwing your Knicks fans (which is probably your largest fan base considering you’re a NY paper) to sell more magazines? I’m not paying for a subscription and going out and buying another copy of the same issue I already have.

  • http://jaredmintzisthetruth.blogspot.com Jared

    And yes I’m counting LeBron in a Knicks jersey as a Knick cover!

  • Bruno


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

    “This will be the fourth cover with a Knick on it over the last two years.”
    “Can you please stop screwing your Knicks fans.”
    Somebody work these out for me, please.
    (Sorry, Jared.)

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

    WHAT!!!!WHY!!!! LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t get a cover but Lin did. I’m very disappointed but I did predict the Kevin Love cover right.

  • http://jaredmintzisthetruth.blogspot.com Jared

    Come on Ryan you know where I’m coming from…it’s like the knicks being relevant and not being able to watch them because even though you pay for MSG, you don’t get it due to your cable provider having a dispute with the network. minus the whole dispute aspect…I appreciate you trying to turn my legit beef into a stupid comment though.

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

    Ha. Just messing with you, man — it’s not often we get accused of “screwing” over a fan base in the same comment where you mention your team getting FOUR covers in a two-year span. I understand your frustration; hopefully you understand that we’ve gotta pick one cover for subscribers, and that Love & Rubio have arguably done a little more to deserve it.


    Dear SLAM, Shake that money maker! LOL!

  • http://jaredmintzisthetruth.blogspot.com Jared

    Yea I know Ryan, and I absolutely understand. Cool to see a Wolves cover, cool to see SLAM guys Rubio and Love on it, and even cooler to see the showbiz and the kid cover redone. I just want to see a Knicks cover in the mail one day you know? I’ll never hate on any covers you guys do, just hate on the one’s I don’t get.


    Making the cover of SLAM magazine is better than getting voted player of the month in the NBA.

  • KSupreme

    Biiiig fan of Jeremy Lin…..and for him to go 7-0 in his first few starts makes a damn good feel good story….but there is a list of players that deserve cover spots that are long overdue…can’t blame SLAM for getting that paper! Still like the cover though!

  • JML-G

    this cover seems rushed to get money from Linsanity compared to dope ass TWolves cover..

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    John Wall and D’Antoni are also on the cover. lol

  • Brickshooting J

    Rubio on the cover! Yeahhhhhh baby!!! Where are the haters now!?

  • http://twitter.com/alan__ryan izzo

    I don’t want to tell you how to do your jobs, but this should have been a Chamique Holdsclaw throwback.

  • Heals

    So is BD going to get next months cover? Bad jokes aside good call, as waiting any longer and the hype could quell, any sooner and it’s overkill. Same complaint should be cover 1 of 1…

  • http://twitter.com/cocoqt81 Co Co



    ROFL at niQ’s comment about John Wall Mike D’Antoni being on the cover too.


    Shump’s on the cover as well! lol

  • bdogg

    nice cover!!! look forward to reading…when are we getting a kobe cover…come on man!!!

  • Mick

    What a joke , slam selling out

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    its not a joke. you lin haters need to cool it. he was the biggest story in the NBA and really all of sports his 2 week stretch. BIGGEST STORY. he deserves this and those SI covers. I feel bad for him that now when he struggles, he’s getting blamed. he shouldnt be the one carrying the knicks. last resort PG who was going to get cut. remember who he is guys. Melo and Stat are the true jokes

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    All subscribers will get the Love/Rubio cover mailed to them. Both covers will be sold on all newsstands.


    SOME Lin hater’s are a JOKE and have lost cred FOR LIFE. Key word(s): some, joke, life.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    dope cover yo, And if this is slam selling out what were they doing when Kobe was getting every third cover back in 09/10.

  • Heals

    Good call on that one Ben, the OG SLAM heads will love pairing the new duo with the old in their collections…

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    I can dig it. As for people getting mad at the Lin cover – it really is now or never for this type of thing. Unless you think he’s actually going to break his production these last three weeks or so from here on out, this is the height of Linsanity.

  • MikeC.

    Putting Lin on the cover is nice, but I’d rather see a team cover with the team that really sparked that run. Chandler, Jeffries, Fields, Shumpert, Lin and Novak with a dash of Billy Walker mixed in. Sure, Lin is the “straw that stirs the drink” to paraphrase Clyde, but what good is a straw without the drink? Lin deserves the love he’s getting, but the team deserves the credit. Those are different things.

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

    Hey, congrats to John Wall on another dope SLAM cover.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Jeremy Lin story is over, he will be a backup in no time. Also Slam just player John Wall, a number one pick as the player Lin is making a shot on. Having the young knicks all on the cover would have been better. Shump, Lin and Fields as the New Blood of the Knicks is a better cover. Also I like the Love/Rubio cover. BOOK IT!!

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani


  • Jer Dawg

    OMG my fam in Taiwan is gonna go f***ing nuts over this cover right here. I love it all! I freaked out with excitement seeing Slam getting on the story of the year with Jeremy Lin. F*** the other mags that had him on their covers! Slam is the truth.

  • Justin G.

    Man, what is the matter with people? Lin getting a cover is a no brainer. He really was the biggest story in sports for those few weeks and to deny it is just plain hating

  • http://www.andywhitby.com Andy Whitby

    The Seed – for the 5th time in a short amount of time – you don’t say BOOK IT unless your making a prediction – not stating a fact or just generally whining about something.

  • madis

    So when is Ryan Anderson getting a cover?

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    didn’t landry field sang that he wants to be on the cover of slam magazine? i wonder if he’s mad at J-Lin now.

  • http://www.watch-nba-games-online.com Watch NBA games

    Lin is not the first Asian American to play in the National Basketball Association. Raymond Townsend, who’s of Filipino descent, was a first-round choice of the Golden State Warriors in the 1970s.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Bl3GRdULQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player 1982

    Filipinos are Pacific Islanders. And it was a Japanese guy way before him that was the first player.

  • http://www.granitiuae.com Peter

    Nice goin’ Slam, the cover curse still hovers after all these years. Double R out for the the rest of the season due to his knee giving up on him prematurely. After a whiff of fresh Linsanity in Gotham City, Knickerbockers went South ’til D’ Antoni was fired.

    Hope it doesn’t rub off on K Love and J-Lin. Some things never change, you still rock guys! HARD!

  • http://Slamonline Joel

    Crap im a subscriber and its a good cover but not great where is the stuff inside tony parker paul george where is the six page interviews and the articles put like a manu ginobilli or carmelo or a nowitzki big interview or cover and lots of pics

  • http://Slamonline Joel

    But your mags are so good cp3 and griffin was great so was kd

  • dreamsports70

    I applaud Slam for having the balls to put J Lin on the cover. His numbers have dropped off since Melo and Amare returned from their injuries, but it’s nice to know what he can do, if he’s called upon to be the primary scorer. Please google the J Lin Anthem by Kahlil the Illah. It perfectly sums up the Knicks revival.

  • Rachel K.

    I will be purchasing SLAM magazine for the first time EVER this week, as a result of your well-designed, beautiful Jeremy Lin cover and features. Lin so deserves this and I’m glad to see your publication has chosen to honor him as the excellent, albeit still developing, baller that he is. Like countless others around the world, I had absolutely zero interest in NBA or professional basketball until early February… Since then, I have fallen in love with this roller-coaster ride 0f a NBA team, and still can’t get over how much joy these men exhibit as they play together. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen professional athletes in ANY sport look this happy (winning or not)–or like they’re playing for the sheer joy of the game and the team.

    So kudos to SLAM for its timely recognition of Mr. Lin and his Knicks, you may’ve just earned yourself another paying subscriber…

  • reitina

    those who don’t buy in the story don’t know the true value this kid brings in. it’s an inevitable have-to choice, if SLAM is truly SLAM.

  • Charlene Y.

    Thanks for making Jeremy Lin the cover of SLAM. I will definitely buy the magazine this time. Jeremy Lin’s amazing story reminds you what the true sport is. Just read about his class act of having lunch with the fired reporter. He is a truly worthwhile hero :)

  • Shih Wang

    Can I purchase 10 copies from SLAM?

  • Bill_stones

    Curse of the Slam covers still alive. First Rubio and now JLin. Damn!

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