by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
SLAM has had fun with little-know guys like Rafer Alston on our cover when no one knew who they were, or been ahead of the curve on future standouts like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Andrew Wiggins. We’ve also done breakout NBA players, groups of rookies, etc. Because of all this, a player with the NBA lineage, near-legendary college career and Lottery-pick status that Stephen Curry boasts has usually been on a SLAM cover well before they start their fifth season.
But for one reason or another, whether it was ill-timed injuries, struggling Warriors teams, a fear on our business end that Stephen wouldn’t move copies for us or low shoe company support, young Mr. Curry has never had that moment. Until now.
The barriers to this moment fell, one-by-one, ’til his march towards superstardom and big press exposure seemed inevitable. The right-ankle issues that cost Curry 40 games in the lockout-shortened ’11-12 campaign dissipated to the point that he missed only four games last season. *knocks on wood*
Underrated GM Bob Myers made some shrewd moves, surrounding Curry with the best talent in his career and teaming him with gifted players’ coach Mark Jackson to give the Warriors an exciting, up-and-coming roster that harnessed its enthusiasm and became a legit Playoff team last year. And now they’ve added former All-Star and Olympian Andre Iguodala. This is no news flash, but the Dubs are a team on the rise.
Meanwhile, aided by insane, social-media friendly scoring outbursts like he had at MSG against the Knicks or in the Playoffs against the Nuggets, Steph’s popularity skyrocketed. Our small staff isn’t tracking this stuff in an official way, but our everyday exposure to Trash Talk letters and emails as well as all the @ messages we get on Instagram and Twitter told us something very clear: The people wanted a Stephen Curry cover!
All of the above was more than enough for me to start the ball rolling on this as far back as July, reaching out to Stephen’s people and discussing what a SLAM cover shoot involves. Stephen was as interested in being on our cover as we were in having him on it, so it quickly became clear we’d get it done no matter what sneaker company he signed with when his Nike contract expired. The fact that the brand turned out to be Under Armour was just a last little bonus to the whole thing. Not that we like Curry more or less as a player now, but UA was so excited that a shoot was in the works that they teamed our idea up with one of their shoots, and gave us some special access to an entire day with Stephen. This is how we created the dope video that leads off this post.
As for the photos and words we generated on that very special day, not to mention a print version of our #SLAMTop50, revealing feature stories on Kawhi Leonard and Dirk Nowitzki and my first-ever stab at a full-blown NBA Preview (written in about 32 minutes to try and prove a point, but still), well, I hope you’ll pick up the print edition asap to enjoy it all.