Slam Magazine turns 20 years old | My Love Letter To Slam & the 90s

Slam Magazine Issues 1 & 2 (autographed by Kemp), NBA Jam Session, Supers Slam 2 & the SI updated version of Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me

Watching all the NBA players I grew up watching become TV personalities, coaches and GMs over the past few years has made me feel real old. Seeing Grant Hill and Jason Kidd retire a couple of weeks ago almost gave me a mid-life crisis because all I have now from my high school days is Juwan Howard in a suit on the Miami bench to represent my generation and teen years.

I don’t get to buy Skybox, Fleer, Topps and Upper Deck basketball cards anymore.  I don’t read boxscores from the Warriors and Lakers games two days after it happened in the newspaper. I don’t get my fantasy team stats every Thursday in the mail and call in on Sunday to make roster changes.  I don’t arrive at Sam Goody or Wharehouse Music on Tuesday mornings to pick up the latest hip hop CDs including all of Shaqs. I don’t get to collect Starting Lineup basketball toy figures.  I don’t get to go to Suncoast video stores and ask if the NBA has released a new NBA Superstars or Super Slams on VHS.  I don’t have the joy of hearing John Tesh’s music and watching a double and triple header on Sundays on NBC.  The only consistent joy from those days that is still the same today is I can still go to a store and pick up a copy of Slam Magazine.

MAGAZINE. Yes, a printed tangible medium that looks, feels and functions the way it did 20 years ago.  It’s not a PDF that gets lost in my downloads folder on my computer, it’s not an app that takes up too much memory on my phone, it’s not a piece of disposable digital crap.  It’s simple ink on paper that I’ve been been archiving, along with my records, laserdiscs and other great forms of media, for two decades.

I can still remember the day I bought the first issue at a Walden Bookstore in Florida.  I thought it was some type of SI special edition at first because it didn’t even have a date on it. It just said “Slam No.1” on the spine and a “Display until May 2nd 1994” on the front.  I opened it and fell in love with the hip hop feel, the articles (Do the White Thing), the pics (Webber in Slam of Da Month), the ads (House Party 3 or Hos With Attitude anybody), the sneakers (Reebok Shaq II), the Pulp Fiction briefcase glow.  I remember flipping through those pages for months in the back of class eagerly waiting for another issue to come out.  The follow-up would eventually come with Shawn Kemp gracing the cover and I made the statement on that day that Slam Magazine is the greatest magazine of all-time.

I never subscribed to Slam because I always enjoyed the “journey” of finding and personally picking up and buying something I wanted.  So for the next 7 years I bought just about every issue of the magazine.

Then came the new millennium.  I just received my Masters at FSU and was heading into the Dot Com Boom. On the side, I was creating and managing multiple hoop websites and editing videos (years before YouTube and when bandwidth was costing me hundreds of dollars a month) and desperately tried to get a shoutout from the magazine because I was already featured in Sports Illustrated and numerous other mags.  No luck and no love.


Years later, Dime magazine came out and they even featured 4 of my projects in numerous issues but I remained a faithful Slam fan and only bought issues of Dime when my work is in it (but I did spend hours standing in Barnes and Noble and Books A Million reading Dime front to back).  Then in the May 2009 issue of Slam they wrote a 4 page article on an organization I was a major part of and my name was left out but that didn’t stop me from buying and framing copies of the “Don’t Sleep on Dwyane Wade” issue.  I didn’t lose any sleep over it but I was a little disappointed.

Flashforward a couple more years and as a member of Ballislife, I get to work with the good people at Slam on numerous projects from promotional campaigns to the Ballup Streetball Tour to the Ballislife All-American High School Game.  A game that makes me feel old as hell because i’m having lunch with All-American Glen Robinson II while thinking about the day I bought a Glen Robinson autograph ball when I was a little younger than Robinson II. A game that makes me just as old as seeing “Slam No. 170” on my office desk and thinking it was 20 years ago when I first had a Slam magazine on my school desk.

So congrats to Slam for 20 great years and a big FU to Slam for reminding me how old I am and for going 170 issues without a shout out.  Maybe one day but until then I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing… 1!

The following is a digital supplement to the first issue of Slam Magazine











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