Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 11:21 am  |  45 responses

SLAM 170 is On Sale Now!

SLAM is turning 20, and we’re celebrating with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and more!

by Ben Osborne / cover illustrations by Donghai Xu

First, a note about the calendar. The first SLAM I or anyone else bought came out in early 1994. It didn’t even have a cover date on it. It was an experiment, really. It could have sold out in a week, or it could have languished on shelves for months, never to be printed again. There is zero exaggeration when I say a mag like SLAM had never existed before. The “’94” launch makes this special 20-year anniversary issue a smidge early. But here’s the thing: Dennis Page and friends built the magazine in ’93. The first Slamadamonth—soon to be displayed in a new section on this site with 169 others—happened in November, ’93. And, our good old-fashioned publishing calendar has always created a challenge for this issue that drops in June. All these factors combined to make us want to celebrate right now. #SLAM Magazine 20th Anniversary Logo

This is also the time of year when the game’s true greats separate themselves from the merely good/entertaining. There is no doubt SLAM honors both. Stephon Marbury was on multiple covers. Sebastian Telfair was on multiple covers. Steve Francis. Latrell Sprewell. Jason Williams. We don’t apologize for any of those.

All those cats were fun as hell, and for much of the long NBA season, the unique skills and personalities that players like that possessed help make so many games worth watching. But people who think that SLAM is about style over substance are dead wrong. The three players who have been on the most covers in our history are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Why? Because they combined the style and flavor that entertains with the accomplishments—many of which happened in June—that makes their impact everlasting. They are the players who combined it all in the ultimate package. They are the players we had special illustrations commissioned of. And in many ways, they are why we are still here.

Besides reflections on how these cover subjects helped shape the history of SLAM and its readers, this very special issue includes quotes from dozens of other players who have been on the cover, a feature on the long path the aforementioned Telfair has taken, SLAM photographers’ favorite shots ever and so much more dope stuff.

Look for all three covers on newsstands this week, and be sure and stay locked to this site as well as our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds for more anniversary goodies.


Related: A bunch of NBA players speak about their SLAM cover experiences.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne


  • Ismael Sandiego

    Hot Damn! Congratulations SLAM!

  • alex80

    I bought my first Slam#1 @ tower records back in 1994, LJ on the cover and the Reingman on the back, love at the first sight

  • Jay Brodes

    i want the mamba cover!! we better get good pics of all three!!!

  • melomania232

    So Lebron is gunna get two covers in a row

  • LangWhitaker


  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Love the MJ Cover! Don’t want to be a party pooper but if you guys were planning on having Lebron on the the 20th Anniversary issue did you really need to put him on the cover of issue 168 as well? lol

  • Peter Walsh

    We really out here!!

  • richard

    which cover do overseas readers get in Singapore stores?

  • GR3

    which one do subscribers get?

  • danpowers

    great cover, love it. but it should put jordan as the emperor, kobe as the king and lebron as the prince


    What? No A.I.!? Travesty.

  • Maurice Bobb™

    Bang! SLAM puts it in!

  • Pingback: Ballislife.com – Slam Magazine turns 20 years old | My Love Letter To Slam & the 90s

  • MarcoRafael

    I think these covers suck personally, from a design stand point that is. MJ, Kobe and Lebron though, no problems with the people on the cover, but c’mon SLAM!

    Y’all are better than this. SLAM 162 is perfect example of you’re cover prowess Carmelo with New York in the background.(http://www.slamonline.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/162.jpg) And also the Kobe vs. Kobe cover? Brilliant.

    But these are TACKY. Rising sun graphic as a background? TACKY/AMATEUR. The Lebron, Kobe and MJ images weren’t even done cleanly and you say they were commisioned illustrations?. I can tell they just took the pictures put ‘em in Photoshop, applied the Cutout/Posterize effect, imported them to Illustrator and applied Live Trace and change the colors to orange, black and white.

    SLAM you make CLASSIC covers. You are #1 in mind when basketball magazines are concerned. Not HOOP, not DIME , not SI, nobody can touch you guys, but man what a let down. I hope these covers don’t reflect what’s inside the magazine, but for me these covers are NOT 20th anniversary worthy.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    I’m an editor not a designer but these illustrations actually took a ton of work and we worked with some people who simply couldn’t execute what we wanted. If something like this would be easy for you than you have a bright future in graphic design.

  • MarcoRafael

    Credit to those who worked hard on these, I’m not knocking the amount of work you guys put in, but the outcome is really TACKY if you compare it to your other work. This wouldn’t be easy for anyone Ben, but man SLAM can get better commissioned illustrations than these.

    Anyway I guess I’m just disappointed because I expected something classy and memorable as 20th anniversary covers.

    Props to those who put in the work on the covers and the stories. :/

  • Mars

    After tonight I gotta say LeBron showed us that he truly deserves this cover as he has shown he is truly different from the last two kings. His teammates are finding out that he is a true teammate. People wonder why a guy that can do it all still passes the ball?? Why? Because he’s his own man, and his game is truly different from anything we’ve ever seen before.

  • RKJ92

    There’s only one King sir.. and he is not a prince.. .

  • Slick Ric


  • Benji Ziegler

    Great covers! But do subscribers up here in Canada get all three covers?? Thanks in advance

  • Name

    SLAM is quite obnoxious. Readers know the history, it’s been rammed down our throats since the 5th anniversary cover with Marbury.

  • danpowers

    mea culpa ;)

  • Brad Long

    Holy crap..20 years?!?!? I thought I felt old helping my son hang a Kevin Durant SlamUp in his room. I’m straight fossilized now.

  • Lucas

    If we are subscribed to the magazine do we automatically receive all three covers?

  • MarcoRafael

    What about the non-slam readers who don’t know the history? Or the new/recent SLAM subscribers? Don’t they get a chance to know history?

  • Goggi

    Congrats on 20 years!!

  • Lucaa

    Which do subscribers get?

  • emlon din

    cos its easier to comment than to work like that. you build your own site and we will comment too!

  • smith, blocked, smith, stopped

    dear lang, slam 170 is going to be part of my own immaculate collection !!

  • AndyK415

    Lame. Expecting much more memorable covers.

  • AndyK415

    Totally agree. Terribly disappointed that for a monumental cover they have superhero comic graphics.

  • Evan Boland

    Hey man, I was just wondering if it was possible to get shots of SLAM China’s 100th issue covers. On SLAM’s FB Page they have a shot where two of them are visible, the Kobe and Lebron covers. There are two more covers one being Rose and someone else. They look awesome and I’d love to see all four covers like we got to see all three of the 20th anniversary issues. Thanks alot!

  • Joana Artoza

    where can i order this magazine ??
    i need a feedback ?plssss.

  • Joana Artoza

    nice cover !!

  • Benji Ziegler

    no, 168 and 170. kyrie was on 169

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  • Jlango

    I’m in Kansas and have received the wack ass Kobe cover. Not a Kobe fan at all. Lol.

  • Mehmet

    Where can i get it in Germany?

  • Tato

    Today i bought this issue, but sad because it was another regular issue, the same size, without something special, i don´t but this issue could be better in many ways…

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    It is actually the biggest issue we have done in almost two years, page-wise, plus it has the pullout magazine, and a LOT of the content is different than a regular issue.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne
  • thea sandra g yulo

    san to pweding bilin?

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