by Ben Osborne

The banner ads are running on our site already, the NYC newsstands are poised, and the bookstores nationwide will be cracking their boxes open next week and stocking their shelves. And as of today, it’s available for purchase online.mj-flying

The situation is simple: the greatest player of our time is going into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and all of us at SLAM—who know full well our mag might not even exist if this guy hadn’t come along to make basketball as popular as it is—wanted to celebrate it by giving him a special issue.

As I say in my editor’s letter in the issue, for a magazine that started when Michael Jordan was retired from the NBA, SLAM quickly became the best at covering MJ. Think about it: the snafu with Sports Illustrated criticizing his baseball career created a long-lasting rift betwen Mike and the mag, and I don’t recall ESPN the Magazine ever caring too much about Mike. Without any other comp in the bball realm, I’ll humbly state that for the better part of our 15-year history, SLAM has been the best mag for MJ fans.

This status is due to a few things I feel blessed to have inherited. There was the devotion to MJ as a player and shoe salesman that led previous Eds. Tony Gervino and Russ Bengtson to give Mike his props in SLAM whenever warranted, which was often. There was also the inside knowledge, relationship skills and unique voice that Scoop Jackson brought to SLAM. Re-reading all his amazing stories in this issue reminds me a, how Scoop, during his SLAM days, might have been tighter with Mike than any other member of the media, b, how dope his writing was and c, how much we miss him.

Most of all, though, MJ’s consistent presence in SLAM over the past decade and a half has been due to the man himself. We cover basketball and basketball shoes, and he is basketball and basketball shoes. Throw in a willingness to speak with us over the years, and we’ve had a perfect match.

Incidentally, many people out there seem to agree with us as the MJ authority. Peep the voting results right here for some proof (and keep voting through August 31 to complete the rout, if you’d like.)

Michael’s induction to the Hall will take place on September 11, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will run a special exhibit through the rest of the year. All of this will be matched with breathless tributes. As the magazine that has covered Michael the best of all, this compilation of priceless photos, classic stories and unique new articles serve as your guide to it all.

So, head to your local magazine retailer (to the best of my knowledge, this will be sold more places and in greater quantities than the typical SLAM or KICKS), and pick it up! For fans of the great Michael Jordan, this will be the ultimate magazine.