The SLAM ad guys and I were in a meeting with some pretty powerful folks (powerful in the basketball-business sense, at least) recently, and at one point, one of the attendees said to us, “SLAM really is the perfect mix of nostalgia and the present.”

Which, honestly, could not have made me prouder, even if he could have mentioned one other timeframe. You want nostalgia? Well, we’ve still got a print publication, for starters! One that kids still buy so that they can decorate their rooms with the amazing images inside. What’s more, each regular issue of SLAM includes an “Old School” story about a past great of the game, and for the second year in a row we’re doing this Throwback Issue, featuring guys who have been on the cover of SLAM in the past (in Kobe’s case, lots of SLAM covers).

You want present? The magazine—which in a typical issue has stories on the best current players in the NBA, WNBA, college and high school—is but one part of all the ways we bring you the game you love these days. SLAMonline has become a 24-7 operation (hopefully you noticed during the postseason) with great content tailored to web consumption (the LeBron James Vine piece, the Mike Scott emoji interview, etc), our social channels are booming (thanks to all of you who helped us surpass 300,000 followers on Instagram and 2 million in Facebook likes!) and now our younger editors are going Snapchat-mad (follow us there at slammagazine), so I’m sure we’ll rock that, too.

I guess the only descriptor the aforementioned business exec didn’t mention is that SLAM represents the future, too. The future of sports media, in the diverse, modern way we cover a game that is treated too dryly by too many people, and the future of the game itself. Like the kid you see at the top of this post. That’s DeAndre Ayton, considered the top player in the high school Class of 2017, whose compelling, from-the-Bahamas-to-San-Diego story Assistant Editor Franklyn Calle skillfully tells in our second-annual “New School” feature. Or Malik Newman, one of the best players in the Class of 2015, who wraps up his stint as our latest high school diarist this month, having successfully followed in the path of guys like LeBron, Kevin Love, Tyreke Evans and Harrison Barnes. Best believe that when DeAndre and Malik graduate to the NBA present, we’ll be right there with them.

SLAM 190 hits newsstands early next week!

slam 190

Ben Osborne is the Editor-in-Chief of SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @bosborne17.

DeAndre Ayton portrait by Atiba Jefferson. Kobe Bryant portrait by Piotr Sikora.