What are you supposed to do when you’re making an issue that drops deep in the Playoffs, you’re not too confident in any team making the Finals other than the Heat, and you already have the Heat’s best player on your current cover? In our case, we thought about rolling our dice with the amazing Kevin Durant (about whom we do have a great feature written by our main man Lang Whitaker, making his last appearance as Editor-at-Large. In case you missed his goodbye on “The Links,” he’s now busy making NBA.com a whole lot better. Best of luck, LW!), but KD’s Thunder were a bit of a question mark even before Russell Westbrook got hurt. Instead, we took a step back…to look ahead.
And what did we see in our crystal ball? A whole lot of Kyrie Irving. His game is sick, corporate America loves him (you don’t know the half of it yet), and, most importantly, our crack research team (read: those of us who pay attention to the Twitter @messages and Instagram comments we get) has deduced that SLAM fans are huge Kyrie fans. All this added up to hollering at his team about getting him on his first-ever SLAM cover. With the help of the good folks at 24/7 Sports Management, we made it happen.
Once we got Kyrie locked in and tasked Associate Editor Adam Figman with explaining how the future belongs to Kyrie, we rolled with the concept and delivered an issue that became dedicated, largely, to players on the verge. Besides the cover subject, the issue features the potential “next Kyrie” (Trey Burke), the most-beloved WNBA rookie ever (Skylar Diggins), Venezuela’s first basketball star (Greivis Vasquez), a gentle giant ready to turn the Pistons around (Andre Drummond), and best of all, our annual High School All-American team, presented in their glorious custom SLAM jerseys.
Just consider this your 2015 study guide when you pick it up at a newsstand or get it in the mail next week and thank us later.