Originally published in SLAM 118
The 6th Man: Back in the day (like, earlier in the millennium), we would devote a good number of our precious pages of the issue that came out around now to All-Star Weekend, reliving the best photos and moments of the weekend even though it was several weeks after the fact. Of course, that was before we blew out our coverage on slamonline.com, on which we can and do give the weekend wall-to-wall coverage, live. And we’re not the only ones; cool as All-Star remains, the NBA media at large now quickly enjoys it, then moves on to the trading deadline and Playoff predictions, and we have followed suit.
That said, there is one player whose 2008 All-Star Weekend should not be so easily forgotten. That player is our latest cover subject, Dwight Howard. From smiling with the kids at Saturday morning’s adidas/PeacePlayers International clinic, to his had to see-it-to-believe-it dunks Saturday night, to his outrageous stat line during the main event (yes, it was an All-Star game, but a line that includes 31 minutes, 7-of-7 field goals, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 1 win is bananas no matter what the competition), Dwight was a star amongst stars. Throw in the sincere requests for a cover from our aforementioned site’s beloved commenters, and the time to give Dwight his proper, exclusive, front-page love had come. And that didn’t mean some boring shot of dude. Hell no, we wanted to make Dwight fly. SLAM lover and absolute trooper that Dwight is, he obliged without a fuss (look through the whole issue and you’ll see that was no small thing). Besides his willingness to be suspended in the air for the better part of an hour, the game’s best young big also got his photo editor on for a minute (above) to help make sure the shot was as dope as possible. Big thanks to Dwight and all the others (too numerous to name, but y’all know who you are) who made this shoot happen. If this issue isn’t enough of a keepsake for all you Dwight fans out there, be sure and enter the Sure Shot contest in Hype—the winner gets the ball we used in this shoot, signed by Dwight himself.
Lastly, after several months of chasing, we got Larry Bird to do an interview for our Old School feature. Magic, you got next…