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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at 11:04 am  |  114 responses

SLAM 157: On Sale Now!

Cover 1 of 2: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio inspire a throwback.

by Farmer Jones / portrait Atiba Jefferson

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.SLAM #157 Kevin Love Ricky Rubio

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?

[CLICK HERE FOR COVER 2 of 2, FEATURING JEREMY LIN]

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.

[CLICK HERE FOR COVER 2 of 2, FEATURING JEREMY LIN]

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  • http://onthacorner.com/forum Kevin

    That is just awesome. *Applauds*

  • MeloMan15

    This cover is amazing

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Yesssssss

  • Ismael

    Holy shit SLAM! this is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Reminds me of C-webb and White chocolate back in the day.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While the Twitter campaign some of us old SLAMheads probably only mattered to us….it’s great to see Kevin finally get the “Love” he has deserved. I’m hopeful this is the one I get in the mail.

  • Bruno

    excelente portada!!!

  • RunNGun

    This cover is BALLIN’.

  • Valentin Faure from France

    OMG !! Awesome cover !!!
    Please SLAM, send me this issue with Ricky & KLOVE!! Not the J-Lin issue !
    Please !!!!

  • underdog

    Damn, I miss the 90′s NBA. Anyway, Love deserved it.

  • Chou

    Too. Awesome.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/blogs/adventures-of-the-catford-saints/ Ben Taylor

    This is too good.

  • Chuck

    Was this the cover of the tape the Timberwolves sent to the league complaining about teams playing too rough with Ricky?

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    HAHA!!!!! Ohhhh sh*t!! I’m calling it now….most successful Slam cover ever. Hi Ryan.

  • logues

    holy crap!!!! effin awesome! as a sota native this is prolly my all time favorite cover. i love that u guys went throwback with the old kg/marbury cover. man that is just perfect and love deserved it…and i like the lin cover too, just cause i think he deserved it and it will prolly be ur best selling cover ever.

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

    Yeah, I’m really happy this happened.

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

    DDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNNNN this cover is nice.

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

    Man this takes me back…..

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Question for Ryan or Ben: Who did the Greg Monroe story?

  • RunNGun

    Gotta love how the RUBIO/LOVE cover is a throwback to the MARBURY/GARNETT version seen here: [ http://www.slamonline.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/21.MARBURY-GARN_10-97.jpg ]

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Its cool, I would’ve used a different play on words though.

  • http://slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I suggested Ryan and I should be on the cover instead, but Ben wasn’t having it.

  • Patrick

    Yes. Yes. YESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    That’s niice

  • Rainman

    absolutely love this cover. I’ll be buying it on newstands. BTW SLAM, Anyway i can subscribe online for issues to be sent to Canada? (Toronto to be precise) If there is, im on that.

  • ripslam

    Gonna have to cop both covers, this is too ill.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Oh my god, the throwback is so sweet! Nicely done SLAM!

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    Amazing

  • fizzbucket

    The original one with KG and Starbury still rules, but I dig both covers.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2012/03/timberwolves-complained-to-the-nba-about-physical-play-against-ricky-rubio/ bike

    KL looks like he’s not too happy about wearing that visor backwards. Makes him look like a dic*head.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    As a subscriber from Spain I hope I get this T-Wolves cover, not the Jeremy Lin one… both are great but you know which one I’d take…

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Great cover by SLAM. For real, it’s nice to see teams like the Wolves getting much deserved love.

  • LA Huey

    Nice throwback cover.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    Wow, great cover. Rubio even has the same look on his face.

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

    They called me “Giant” but it wasn’t because of my height…

  • T-Money

    (slow clap)

  • http://guyism.com/sports/michael-jordan-selling-chicago-area-home-for-29-million-dollars.html Caboose

    Love it.

  • sefos

    amazing. this is the kinda stuff that makes slam the best.

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    HA!! I knew it!! I knew it!! I taught about this cover a few days back. So who’ll replace the Skip to my Lou cover?? lol

  • kh

    Great cover!
    But what’s up with the visor circa 1995? Is K Love channeling Neon Deion?
    And Rubio rocking a watch? Who was the fashion director for this shoot?

  • RERIRORU9

    RULE EL MUNDO … muy buena portada go wolves go ricky love wolfs .

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    LOVE IT!

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Kh, apparently you are relatively new to Slam. Go to the 12:00 comment by Run n Gun and click on the link to explain the answers to your questions.

  • kh

    disregard my ignorance! ^ I failed to notice the replication of KG and Steph. I am an idiot.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    This is dope. Cookies for everyone. Now just gotta find someone to make or buy them.

  • BERT

    im in michigan, if i get the Lin cover im gonna be pissed as fuck. please make sure i get this cover otherwise i will come to your office and beat the crap outta all you… im serious too!

  • Heals

    Good stuff, good memories, good look. My only complaint is it should be cover 1 of 1…

  • http://www.justrl.com RL

    I’m a long suffering T Wolves fan. I’ve repped my city as 1/3 of the r&b group Next and I haven’t been this proud of my city in a very long time. I have NBA League pass and I try to never miss a game!! I love it. Keep up the great work SLAM!!

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    I guess I’m in the minority but these throwback covers dont do it for me, wheres the innovation?

  • http://jasonkidd.com Jason Kidd

    Hi, is it possible to buy this cover in Spain? :D

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    a throw back cover with two completely different players on the same team is innovation. Anybody else do that, ever?

  • Cameron

    Hey SLAM, I missed the March issue, the April issue is supposedly 2 weeks away. Will I get this one or will I have to send a missing issue complaint again? Get it right, please. The area I’m at in Texas doesn’t seem to want any sports magazines that’s not either football, Texas related, or Sports Illustrated. So pllllllease, I paid for a subscription so send me one. I miss reading SLAM.

  • anen

    Hugh I’m completely amazed at Rubio’s perfect arm hair =0

  • Mick

    The white version

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    when i read the title (Showbiz and KL), i immediately remember the marbury/KG cover, because no one else called Steph Showbiz. why didn’t rubio/love spot some bling too? that may have become too much of Ali G huh?
    also it’s pretty cool that Mr. “Too Close” is here to drop a comment. totally fits with the throwback theme.

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

    What happened to all the people who used to tell me that Rubio was so overrated?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lang, we actually have milk cartons out. Search Ongoing.

  • startown

    RK–Yep I totally agree (long suffering Wolves fan here too)…this is been fun, I have watched every game!

  • T-Money

    Lang – to be fair, he kinda still is. i mean, some people think he should be ROY. and he’s still shooting 35 from the field.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @TADOne: Abe Schwadron of Post Up fame did the Monroe story. He did a great job.
    @Cameron: please call our subscription service at 1.800.333.6411 and hopefully they get you straightened out.
    @Lang: Amen.

  • dazzy

    Dope cover! I can’t wait to see how these two battle it out against KD and Westbrook for the next couple of years. It’s gonna be epic …Also, RL if that really is you, lemme just say that my psycho ex-girl left your breakup song with that chic Deborah on my voicemail like 9 times. Guess she never got the hint that not only don’t I want to be friends, but it’s creepy that she keeps playing it on my messages smdh. Just thought I’d share that.

  • http://www.waihak.blogspot.com Tariq

    I admit that I thought the hype Rubio was getting when he got drafted was a bit over the top. He is now my favorite player.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    As soon as I saw Ricky cradling that ball, I flashed to that classic KG and Showbiz cover. Great concept, guys! T-wolves are fun to watch this year.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Peter Walsh

    A member of Next commented on here! My day is complete.

  • Mike from Spain

    I hope they don’t shoot a video of Ricky eating vaseline too

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

    “Póngase al día en la vida.” – Ricky Rubio

  • davidR

    whoa, RL of next? i’m with peter walsh.
    anyway, this is a dope cover. foreal. and i love the concept that it’s a throwback paying homage to the original SLAM cover featuring steph & kg, the original wolves duo that rocked the league.
    seriously, good isht SLAM!

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Rubio was over rated now he’s faltering and people wanna blame it on the rookie wall, he’s having a decent season. His defense is what surprised me. Like I said I’m in the minority, I hate the air-force/jordan mashups, never liked throwback jerseys and dont care for retro’s (not in the sense that I dont like old school J’s) but I dislike the way people act like theyre discovering them now. The concept for the cover was great, the first time, now its like rocking a throwback in the dunk contest, its kinda cliche. and they did one of these throwbacks this year already, Durant/GP so to answer your question NBK no its not innovative

  • jadams12

    another amazing cover. u guys almost never dissapoint

  • http://slamonline.com J

    slam delivers.. again.

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    It’s pretty important that you guys buy this issue!

  • str8 from samoa

    kevin love looks gangsta!

  • iLL wiLL

    Gangsta.

  • Dave Zirin

    My joy is ineffable.

  • Cameron

    Thanks Ben…I’ll try to do that tomorrow and see what happens. Emails obviously aren’t working.

  • ben

    Used to be a longtime SLAM subscriber but dropped it a few years ago. But this cover just rekindled the love (no pun intended) – renewing my subscription right now! Totally forgot how ill this mag is!!

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I WANT BOTH

  • http://www.pisforprops.com jarrett

    Yo SLAM, not that u guys read the comment section, but you guys should really do a piece on TJ Ford. He almost re-injured his neck tonight after it was stepped on by his teammate. Got me thinking that NBA careers can be short (see Dujaun Wagner). With all the injuries he’s been through TJ Ford is somehow still in the league earning an NBA paycheck. Thats REAL. I’m sure he’d be an amazing read too.

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

    this was dope, is this an ongoing thing, was the KD cover a throwback of the old terrible GP cover (same franchise)

  • Jer Dawg

    This cover is da shit!

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    KG was the Kid, he wore more bling than Mr T, Marbury was all no-look. Nowadays KG is Old Man Celtic, wears argyle vests and ties and Marbury is now all don’t look.
    How times change.

  • BostonBaller

    KG can still ball better than a lot of cats still today. I like the dual covers but in this time of economic trauma why can’t SLAM forget about making the extra buck from die-hards like myself (EVERY ish since #1 and EVERY cover) and put both covers on 1 mag. One in front and the other on the flip side. Since the same articles are in both mags just flip them and split them. Lin on 1 side with some articles and his feature and then we flip the mag over and upside down to get the RubLove cover and articles. Now I have to make some call and have someone get me the second cover and send it to me.

  • http://SLAM FLIGHT 9

    love it!!!

  • that dude

    Awwww Memories

  • that dude

    Where are the platinum or gold chains?

  • goattree

    Boston Baller – I bet they could do that, if you were willing to pay (what i imagine to be) the top-dollar that adidas pays for the advertising space on the back cover….use your head dude.

    I loved this throwback to Showbiz & KG.

  • Bolarinwa

    Nice cover. I’m glad timberwolves are getting recognition. But what is mississippi in this slam cover is Derrick Williams. That dude is playing ball, and he doesn’t even play full minutes. It would be nice if he got added with the cover and call it the Minnesota big three, three musketeers, brotherhood or emergence or something. Cow wolves to be pushing beasly out to give Williams more playing time that means the kid is showing some promise.

  • DOE

    WHITE MEN CAN BALL.

  • Joel Pizarro

    I’ll play either one don’t matter

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    does anybody know if covers have ever been subsidized by like congress is by special interest groups? The Wolves did report earlier that the marketing push of Rubio was gonna go into overdrive earlier this year. So i was wondering has Slam ever received incentives for cover placement? Not saying just a straight bribe, but maybe guaranteed access or something similar?

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Shutup: Most people already think you’re an idiot, don’t try and push the last few over the edge.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Thank you brother Jukai but fear not for where i tread, i step with the confidence of a man that has found purpose in life and the philosopher already warned me about you, i have no quarrel with you unless that’s what your looking for.

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    RL from next posting on SLAM. I’ve seen it all.

  • http://twitter.com/CRZ CRZ

    I also thought this might have been a throwback to the #62 cover with Sebastian Telfair and some other dude http://www.slamonline.com/online/the-magazine/2011/06/slam-cover-archives-51-75/#13 – all right, not really, but never forget Bassy

  • http://www.opRAH.COM dywm

    *coughsuckithaters

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Befriending Philo ain’t helping your cause either, buddy….

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

    this cover is too much…absolutely love it! Still got the original KG/Stef one on the shelf so this is sheer genius.

  • burnt_chicken

    Rubio’s cover face made me laugh out loud–I guess he is familiar with the Starbury/Kid cover too…also, Jukai as the voice of the old guard/’heads is adorably cute.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Wow didnt even think of that lebron/bass cover, yeah take the innovation down a couple more notches, they even have the watch and all, so to answer NBK’s question yes slam has done it before this is the third time they did it.

  • Justin

    Kevin Love looks like a bag of recessive genes ha

  • http://www.facebook.com/wealwayswin Hersey

    So good.

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

    Yes. Quite possibly my favourite cover ever.

  • CLay__

    I have no problem with giving Rubio and Kevin Love a cover, but comparing them to Steph and KG back in the day is blasphemous.

  • CLay__

    Also kind of disappointed that SLAM stooped to giving Jeremy Lin a cover (and calling him “J-Lin”). The guy might be the least-deserving cover subject in the magazine’s history. I’m guessing there was pressure from outside the editorial staff on this one – from bosses who don’t know a damn thing about basketball – but it’s still disappointing.

  • Big Marv

    ehm glad to see the Slam curse is still alive. I;ve been here since LJ on the cover waaaaaaaayyyyy back in 94. Rubio be good.
    Still waiting on Rasheed to come back into the league….

  • alex80

    CORNY
    as h e l l

  • NickR

    Fantastic

  • Mark Aaron

    SLAM jinx still at large. Get well Ricky! (Hope nothing happens to ‘J-Lin’ too)

  • Cameron

    Thanks for the April ish SLAM…I guess patiently waiting works sometimes. Hopefully ish 157 gets here soon and Rubio and KLove are on the cover.

  • Dawn

    Anything with Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio is fantastic! Good job! I am not sure with the cap on Kevin though….
    P.S. This is always out of stock!!!! I have not seen a copy yet:(

  • Golakeshow

    Why the hell did Jeremy Lin get a cover. He is the stupidest player in the damn league

  • trueballer4life

    Nothing but love double double king!, Ricky pisol rubio!

  • http://30HomeGames.blogspot.com 30HomeGames

    I called a Lin/Rubio cover a while ago. I imagined it would be a photoshoot of the two together and how they were taking the League by storm.

    Slam as always leading the basketball zeitgeist had it one better. By giving “Love” to the success of the Timberwolves core and giving attention to the biggest breakout in the league who has seemingly be unloved. While Linsanity has steadied as the Knicks adopt a new system and the Rubio show goes on ice for the Year, Kevin Love is still ruling the world. Imagine that.

  • sunoffabeach

    What’s with the beard? Let’s call this the boy band cover. But I love it

  • Terry

    does anyone know how to get a copy of this issue with Love/Rubio

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