by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
When we posted this year’s Champs cover two weeks ago today, the reaction was pretty awesome. Via the site, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, readers expressed their approval. And then LeBron chimed in: “S/O @slamonline for the cover! #SlamIsFam #StriveForGreatness #EarnedNotGiven #Witness.”
I was on vacation at the time, and given how the job my co-workers and I do has largely become a 24-7 operation, my goal was to take five days as off as possible. Then my phone started blowing up. And in no time at all I went from trying not to be in touch with the office and not talking about my job with the folks I was away with, to excitedly showing our site and Bron’s post to pretty much everyone I was with.
I wasn’t trying to brag or be obnoxious, and for the rest of the week I did do a good job of properly relaxing, but for a couple-hour stretch, I just felt too proud to ignore the feelings.
Yes, Bron was shouting himself out, too, and no, I don’t think he reads every issue of SLAM from cover-to-cover, but here’s my position…
For going on 20 years, SLAM has been the magazine of the player. We give the players’ side of things, we’re a constant in backpacks and string bags across the country, and getting in SLAM—or even better, getting on our cover—remains a massive goal for every youngster who starts hooping seriously. But they don’t all look through our mag for self-serving reasons. They do it because we’re good. And if the Best Player in the World likes us enough to put a post like that out to a combined 12 million people via IG and Twitter, well, we must be doing something right.
And I think this latest issue, with one of our more unique cover looks (shouts to Creative Director Melissa Brennan, as always), lives up to what has made Bron and so many others happy customers over the years. We’ve got our great Finals recaps, with in-person reports from all seven games, making it a must-have for Heat fans (and, arguably, Spurs fans, since we certainly show the game Western Conference Champs a ton of respect in the issue). We’ve got features on breakout Playoff performers Harrison Barnes and Reggie Jackson. We’ve got an Old-School on baller/politician/scholar Tom McMillen. And perhaps best of all, in this era of fleeting media, we’ve got the Year in Photos, with sick shots of the game’s best players, all but begging to be ripped out and saved or put on your walls. The issue will be out today in NYC, nationally later this week and in subscribers’ mailboxes next week. Buyers will not be disappointed.
And don’t think we’re slowing down. I got my little vacation in and the whole crew had a long 4th of July Weekend, but we are back to work in a big way. KICKS 16 is on deck, and then we’ll go back-to-school with a whole new look in SLAM 172. We just want to live up to what the King says: #StriveForGreatness.