Well, well, well. Where to begin. I guess this post should start with a disclaimer. I am going to talk, alot, about SLAM the magazine and SLAMonline in this post and what they have meant to me since the inception of the mag back in 1994. Part of the reason I created this blog was due to the fact that several of my fellow posters at the SLAM site were opening their own and it seemed like a good place to put out some of my own thoughts and ideas.
The 1994-1995 NBA seasons were the two most horrible years of basketball for me as a fan and a basketball lover in general. My idol, (as well as millions of others) ,Michael Jordan, left my favorite team on some out of the blue whim to pursue his dream of playing baseball. (It wasn't until much later that the talk of the Sternbot forcing Mike's hand to keep him from handing out a year long suspension for gambling even made sense to me) The Bulls went from being world-beaters to just another generic ball team. It was almost like I was in some dense fog from the day MJ packed up his Jordans and took the Brand Jordan product to the baseball diamond for the first time. I was out of it. Coincidentally, he retired on my 23rd birthday in 1993 (made it even worse). So there I was, a fan without his hero, my team stranded without it's life preserver and my love for the game was sinking deeper than a Bernard King fadeaway. And then, one day, something amazing happened.
I was in a local Borders store reading through some magazines before I headed off to my late-night job building pagers, damn that dates the beginnings of the mag, and while I was looking through the racks for a couple more mags to get through the last free hour of the day, I saw these jagged red letters and a basketball perched in someone's hand behind a pile of SI's and pulled it out thinking it may have been another MJ tribute magazine which flooded the racks for months. Well, to my surprise, it was Larry Johnson on the cover, in a great pose, and I had watched him in a few Hornets games but really remembered him more from his time at UNLV. So I sat down, flipped through the mag, and started to feel some strange urge to go watch a game, or play in one, to quench the desire I stated to feel for the game again. I was hooked from the jump. I went through that issue probably 15 times reading and rereading article after article and couldn't wait for the next issue to drop. Surprisingly, on my weekly stops at Borders, I kept seeing that first issue sit and sit and sit, and after one day counting the copies on the rack, realized that besides my copy, only one other copy left that rack. I couldn't believe it. How the fuck could no one else who even remotely like ball, not be interested in reading this mag. I got one of my boys to buy a copy and he liked it (not as much as me) but thought it needed more pictures. Moron. I told him to suck a dick, and go read Good Housekeeping or Playgirl and don't ask me anything else about the magazine. I know it's been years, but I think SLAM was published quarterly initially (or seasonal) and I swear it seemed like 6 months would pass by waiting on the next one. After enjoying the next few issues that were released, issue 6 brought everything full circle for me, with MJ's return the subject of the cover story. Damn, that was big. I didn't have to want for long either, as I opened my subscription with the mag, and saw MJ's mug on the cover 8 more times over the years.
Years passed, issues came and went, more Bull's titles were won and my basketball life was running on a full tank. SLAM was now a part of my monthly life just like the utility bill was and the editors & writers were like silent voices who translated life in the league, on the streets or in the dorms to the casual or die-hard fans. The "intranets" was the next big medium SLAM tackled and while the first few years of SLAMONLINE revolved around a group of loyal readers waiting on Lang Whitaker to post his "blog of the day" (Lang was ahead of his time) The Links, it provided an up to date report each day of the goings on in basketball, pop culture and whatever else crossed his mind that day. I would read about Lang and his daily life with his wifey, Starbury the dog and felt a connection to his world as it seemed like a true fan of the game I loved had a vested interest in providing honest feedback to the Linkstigators. Waiting on the new Links to post each day around 3:30p was what would get me through the later part of each work day and provided unlimited enjoyment in a thankless work environment.
A year or so ago, SLAMONLINE expanded it's site content and now there were several "blogs" to read each day and getting the views of the other writers and editors on a daily basis made the SLAMONLINE experience even better. By the way, my name that appears on this blog and used as my ID when posting on the SLAM site was a direct rip from an article that mentioned Heat point guard Jason Williams from the SLAM site (probably Lang's comment). SLAMONLINE is now my favorite site at work and home, most viewed, most posted on, etc. I would like to thank all the SLAM guys who keep us entertained and informed, Lang, Sam, Russ, Ryan, Ben, Mutoni, Khalid, Max-Myles, Holly and everyone else involved that keeps the site going and the mag still relevant. And to my fellow former Linkstigators and the new crop of SLAM posters, Cheryl,(ASPOV), Izzo, Tariq, DP (play wit it), Co Co, Reggie Evans, Sesa, Brooklyn Boy, Chukaz (we still see you young man), dBlizzy, Bodie, Hisham, Tariq, Shia and the rest of you guys (and girls) keep the jokes coming, the comments light and the stories fresh. SLAM is what brought back my love to the game and I'm forever in it's debt. I know some of you guys will call me some sentimental fool but that's fine because as a great man once said "Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?" SLAM, thanks for the great years. White Hot Eboy.