Originally published in SLAM 99
The 6th Man: This is Maurice Evans, Detroit Pistons reserve swingman and currently one of our favorite NBA players. We like Mo for a couple of reasons: One, because with the build, the baldie, the single-digit uniform number and the penchant for emphatic dunks, he reminds us a lot of former Pistons backup (and SLAM favorite) Darvin Ham; and two, because someone recently sent us a link from the Detroit Free Press in which the Pistons beat writer asked different players what they liked to read. And Maurice said, “I like SLAM Magazine; that’s one that appeals to us as basketball players.”
Around the same time, we got a link for a Virginia newspaper that ran a Q&A with VA prep standout Duke Crews. Asked to name his favorite magazine, DC spit the plain truth: “SLAM. It’s the best basketball magazine. Anything that’s going on in basketball, you’ll catch in there.”
For the record, this came after we ran Duke in Punks a few months back, so you can’t even call it brownnosing. But then, we knew there was a reason we liked this kid…Anyway, the moment that brought all this together came a few days later, when our ever-helpful friends at the McDonald’s All-American Game passed along the following: Of the 48 players responding to the same topic in the MickeyD’s player questionnaire, we were told, “All but one or two of them picked SLAM. They love you guys.” The feeling, of course, is mutual.
The truth, if it isn’t embarrassingly obvious? We’re feeling ourselves. As much as anything, it probably stems from the hours we’ve already spent (and the next few weeks we’re about to spend) working on SLAM 100. Looking back on 12 years of our history, and the past decade-plus of the game itself, has been pretty cool. We’ve seen, documented and been a part of a lot of incredible moments, and it’s hard not to be proud of our role in covering (and, every so often, influencing) the game and the culture it represents. In that sense, the shout-outs simply serve to confirm what we already knew.
It’s worth noting here that SLAM 100 is gonna be crazy. Seriously. Be ready.
All that said—and pardon us as we get in touch with our inner Kanye—there’s a flipside to our foolish pride. It’s about humility. It’s about the people we cover, the ones who fill out our editorial space, actually appreciating us. As a magazine, we exist to pay respect to those who play the game at the highest level—a level that inspires us to keep playing, keep watching, keep dreaming. Whether you’re a high school star, an NBA role player or just a playground fiend who’ll never get closer to the NBA than your LeaguePass subscription, you’re the reason we do this. We’re about you, and as long as you’re inspired to pick us up every month, we’ll keep trying to do something right.
And maybe, after 100 drops, we’ll get over ourselves…