Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 1:21 pm  |  44 responses

SLAM 161: On Sale Now!

LeBron and the Heat take their first giant step.

by Ben Osborne | @bosborne17

Group shot (right) by Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images; cover shot by David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images

Sometime between August of ’08 and July of ’10, three relatively young men—Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh—hatched a plan to take over the NBA. Was their plotting against the rules? Not unless team executives were in on it. Was it against the spirit of competition? Maybe…but the next guy you show me on the playground who picks shitty players for his next because it’s more fun to play with scrubs than hold court with good teammates will be the first I’ve seen.

Did I love it when it all went down? Not exactly. I hated “The Decision” on ESPN, and I legitimately felt bad for Cleveland and Toronto sports fans. But I never got mad at the players involved. They earned the extremely rare right—through incredible talent, hard work, and their Player’s Union—to control their destiny, and they exercised it. Dwyane, Bron and Chris chose to come together in Miami and chase titles together. And they certainly didn’t hide their intentions. They had a public celebration before they played a single game. Sure, that was tacky, but as the hate piled on the Heat, I actually found myself rooting for them more and more. I suppose I’ve always been a contrarian (I grew up in suburban NY but was the only kid who rooted for the Nets over the Knicks, after all), but at the risk of going all Graydon Carter/David Granger on you, I think I started to sense something larger about what these three guys did.

Here are three young men who made a plan, went public with it in the face of immense scorn, and have now taken one huge step toward bringing that plan to life (note: after “promising” seven or more titles I won’t call one a total victory, but I think two or three would be pretty impressive). What’s the big deal? As best I see in both my personal and professional lives, most people choose to never even plan for greatness, so scared are they of the internal pressure. Others make plans but keep them to themselves, scared to be laughed at if they fail. And still others make plans and broad predictions, and then fail miserably.

Think about how often you see this from people in your own life…and then maybe re-think how you feel about the Miami Heat.


The above is essentially what I wrote in my editor’s letter for this issue, which hit stands in NYC today and should be nationwide next week. That was all I had room for in print, but today I have room to shout out the rest of the issue, not to mention the incredible response the cover has gotten since we first posted it eight days ago.

By looking at the cover you can obviously gather that our always popular Year in Photos feature is in this issue, insuring us another 12 months of being the magazine most likely to end up ripped up and hanging from a fan’s bedroom wall. There’s a great feature on Joe Johnson and the work he does at home in Little Rock. It was obviously written pre-Nets trade, but it doesn’t matter at all. This piece is about Joe the person more than Joe the NBA All-Star. There’s also an awesome Old School piece on the oft-misunderstood Derrick Coleman by rock star writer Alan Paul. Plus, our new high school diarists, Olympic kicks and much more.

As for the early response to the cover, all of us here can only feel grateful. We worked hard to pick a photo and a cover line that captured this championship, and Creative Director Melissa Brennan did her usual great job of putting it all together in a good-looking package that will stand out on newsstands, but none of us felt we’d done anything much better than what we do every single month. But thankfully, a lot of people did. Even the early reader reactions were pretty intense. Most loving it, some hating our use of the word “Haters” because they felt LeBron didn’t think that way. Then LeBron himself endorsed it with a tweet. At that point, the floodgates opened up with comments on the site, FaceBook likes, Instagram love and a ton of tweets pouring in from around the world. Our man Dave Zirin called it the “greatest cover in SLAM history.” Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch, who mostly covers sports media, called it “pretty tremendous.” Finally, last Friday ESPN’s First Take spent about seven minutes discussing the cover (appreciate your words, Israel). All this for a cover that wasn’t even out yet!

But now it is out. So…go cop it!

SLAM 161

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  • eyc0729


  • Bravo

    Got mine

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    y’all are awesome

  • LA Huey

    ’bout damn time

  • bdogg

    can not wait to cop!!! looks good! we getting a special usa edition like 2008 or special kix issue??

  • R32

    Thank you haters for creating a MONSTER.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Just the start…..

  • IGGI

    Yea thanks very much haters.. Keep it up..

  • truthteller

    Where was this support for Kobe when he was the most hated player in the NBA? Everybody seems to forget that Kobe used to be and to some extent still is hated on by a lot of people even in the media even at this very magazine! Where was the support for him?

  • BA

    ^.^ Shut up about Kobe, we ain’t about Kobe right now do you see him on the front cover. Haters you honestly motivated this guy to become the best player in the world right now THANK YOU!

  • http://slamonline.com Mars

    Kobe is still most hated…but he wears 24 now. LeBron was the favorite son, then he rocked 6 like nobody’s bizness.

  • Valkyrie

    That’s because Lebron was never really as much of a d-bag as Kobe.

  • Truss

    Shut the f*ck up truthteller, thei article has nothing to do with KB.

    Where the haters at now?

  • http://whut Ugh

    Here I am!
    They still play bad basketball. They have one of the worst rosters in NBA Finals history – even worse than the ’99 Knicks. 4-12 they’re appalling. Their coach still can’t coach. They flop and walk to the basket every time down the floor.
    In the 90s this team would have had no chance whatsoever.

    How’s that for hatin’?

  • http://whut Ugh

    I mean, I kind of think “good for you” to Pat Riley for exploiting the NBA in this centre free, no hand checking, zone defence playing, 3 second defence video game league that David Stern designed to please fair weather fans by constructing a video game team with a D-League bench and a D-League coach that beats teams still building rosters that try to have an eight man rotation of real talent and paying a coach to run offences, so hey. Hatin’, but trying to be fair about it.

  • http://discountcodes4girls.co.uk/store/john-lewis/ Sarah

    lol I LOVE that cover design!


  • BostonBaller

    hahahahaha this comment section is going to be fun to read b/c there will be a lot of back and forth sounding like my high school students. I read the word haters so much here it’s like a high school playground debate. lol. Just for the record, I don’t think LBJ needed “haters” to give him that added motivation to win a chip..Great players feed off a lot of things but it ultimately comes down to their talent, will to win and teammates. It’s fun to stick it to someone when your team or for most of you, your man wins something and some are cool with it and even stylish but some are down right nasty as if they dunked on someone. lol You/we give to much credit to ourselves and the media for “motivating” players. Heat/LBJ fans, enjoy the win and get some rest because The C’s and a few other teams are trying to load up to get that chip. lol. Enjoy the USAB and Summer Fam. Blessings from Bama

  • BostonBaller

    BTW…Great job SLAM on another smooth cover and the title will sell billions of copies…even to “read title”. hahaha. Has there been a cover I haven’t liked? hhhmmm, upon return to Boston I’m going to the man cave and look through EVERY issue…Can you guys do a freeze frame dunk of the year of a couple of BGriff’s dunks? TCrook down from day 1….literally. Peace

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks for the comments so far, everyone.

  • LA Huey

    I might buy an extra copy. I usually keep my issues intact but I might want turn this one into a scrapbook with the fam.

  • PG

    This magazine will look “good” next to the “Earned Not Given” Nike LeBron shirt. The mainstream media and corporations are trying so hard to legitimize this guy that it’s pathetic. I used to consider SLAM the only truth telling, keeping it real basketball mag there is. Now, especially the last year or two, not so much. I understand you guys have stood with LeBron since day 1, but the fawning has reached ESPN level. It’s disgusting.

    I’ve been a long time subscriber and a reader since ish #1 (yeah, I’m old), but I won’t be renewing your mag after the current subscription is over. Thanks for all the great basketball coverage in the early years of the mag.









  • Bostonballer


  • NickR

    Hate em or not, the Heat earned the title and they earned this cover. Nice work SLAM, as always.

  • http://whut Ugh

    @PG – You clearly didn’t read all those old issues, then. Slam has been running the “folks say X doesn’t do Y on the court, but true fans know better” type lines since LJ. They’ve always been pushing bullsh1t, they just have funnier puns and better covers than ESPN. Hell, they even had Scoop!

  • http://www.slamonline.com big_ticket

    one of the best covers ever in my slam collection,my 94th issue out of 161 nice!!

  • IndyB

    I really hate people who post in all caps. I mean I really, really hate them. Hey Ugh, that title is for you sucka! Bron still getting that ring when the season starts! Choke on your hate!LOL

  • AGPA Blog

    Check out my own view and write up on the cover of ish 161 at http://aglossypagedaddiction.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/slam-magazine-drops-their-momentous.html

  • Garrett

    Where can I get the issue? Looked everywhere.

  • http://www.InternationalOutfit.com KingZ_777

    Ugh is mad cux his mama got canckles.

  • LeeAnn

    Hey all you haters…..game on….he’ll be back…king james has only started to build his crown jewels show case…..so get your hate on….he’s goin for gold in the olympics…. what you gonna say then…
    Go LeBron….I guess people just can’t wish the best well.. To Bad So Sad…. he has earned what he has gotten….

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne
  • Ricky

    Best slam cover ever, I cant wait to pick up this issue

  • LeBron James

    Best Slam magazine ever!!!!!!TeamLeBron

  • everything

    whos on the slamup poster?

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

    asterik LOL

  • http://slamonline.com Wes

    I couldn’t have wanted anything else.

  • http://slam flight9

    66 game season bron. Heat will not repeat. I repeat the heat will not repeat.

  • bdogg

    why didn’t we get a special olympic issue like 2008 or is it going to be the kicks issue??

  • ms Georgia Red

    Ish 161: The first one Cavs fans DIDN’T read.

    P.S. This month’s cover was just beautiful; it says so much.

  • Wanda Lee

    My grandson, Nick King, Little Simba, is featured in this issue and I’m having a heck of a time finding SLAM where I live. If anyone knows where to find them in the Memphis/Bartlett TN area please let me know. I’m so very proud of him, his mom and his dad and granddad.