Originally published in SLAM 119
The 6th Man: Celtics. Threesome. Haven’t you seen this before? Not on SLAM, you haven’t. Last fall, when everyone (these cats did more photo shoots than Victoria Beckham before the season even got going) was shooting these guys, we did one guy. Our guy. Kevin Garnett.
And it was all good: the KG cover was gorgeous, and he lived up to the hype, infusing the Cs with the energy to lead them to the best record in the game and possibly earning his second MVP award (he didn’t get our vote, but that can be chalked up to the stiff competition this year. We gladly acknowledge his impact).
Now it’s springtime, and we—and the NBA—have come full circle. The 82-game Eastern Conference exhibition season is over and the Playoffs are here. And who’s the best story? Still, again, the Boston Celtics.
The Western Conference has more dope teams, and will have, on balance, more entertaining games. Still, it’s hard to say who the most compelling team is over there, and even harder to pick one to put on the cover when first- or second-round knockouts can be newsstand death (not that we’d know anything about that…Er, except for that little Shaq and Dirk problem last year).
Aiming for safety and sales, our team of the Playoffs had to be Boston. The NBA’s most successful franchise, contending for the first time in nearly two decades…and with three future Hall of Famers leading the way. So did we get the killer photo shoot this time? Not exactly, but we looked at more shots than we ever would’ve gotten on our own, and we picked a winner. Combine some typically on-point photo research (thanks, Monique) with a typically insightful story (thanks, Khalid), and we’ve got yet another great cover story.
Speaking of the Playoffs, while deadlines preclude us from providing much more discussion or analysis of the tournament in our magazine pages until our Finals cover comes out in July, SLAM will be all over the postseason on our website, slamonline.com. Online editor Sam Rubenstein has got our impressive team of columnists and bloggers covering every single game of the Playoffs. Don’t miss it.