Originally published in SLAM 11
The 6th Man: On the calendar, the game had all the significance of preseason hockey. Two teams with dyslexically identical records playing for the bragging rights of, what-California? Indeed, when the Lakers (24-19) were preparing to meet the Warriors (19-24) in late January, no one much cared. The game wasn’t even going to be on national TV.
Then I heard the news. I called Scoop Jackson. I knew he’d already heard.
“This is Scoop.”
“What’s up, cool.”
“What up, dog.”
“Hangin’. Yo, you hear about Magic?”
“You know I did.”
“Well, I got some good news and I got some bad news.”
“You gotta put your foot in a Magic story.”
“Done. Bad news.”
“Well…you got about two days.”
“Damn! I got…I can’t…A’ight, it’s Magic, after all.”
In life, you make exceptions. When a player, hell, when a human like Earvin Johnson makes as monumental a decision as his, and even though you have no room for him in a magazine that’s ready to ship, and your boss is breathing down your neck because the printer is breathing down his neck, you make room. You just do.
We made room. I won’t get into what Magic means to me personally, or the game, or whatever. There’s not enough space here to give him the respect he deserves. Read Scoop’s essay on page 28. Ditto for me.
Anyway, there are some cool things happening at SLAM. Anna Gebbie (you remember, the tall one from two issues ago) has become the new managing editor, and Russ Bengtson joins Scoop as senior editor. Together, we’re gonna be workin’ overtime to turn this mag up a notch or two.
Starting right now.
P.S. Congratulations Iceman and DT. You guys earned it.