MIAMI — Admittedly, I have a special place in my heart for SLAM magazine. I worked there full time for a decade, and spent the last two years as SLAM‘s editor at large before I got drafted by NBA.com. So I’ve spent a lot of time in and around and inside the SLAM world. But yesterday I learned something new about SLAM that I never knew: Ray Allen credits SLAM with giving him daily motivation throughout his career.
SLAM‘s 20th anniversary issue is dropping soon, and as part of the issue, the guys at SLAM talked to a bunch of former cover athletes. When the folks at SLAM caught up with Ray Allen, he brought up something that has apparently been stuck in his craw for years:
I’ve had one gripe my whole career about SLAM and I still keep it ‘til this day. It’s probably one of my sole motivators on a daily basis and I don’t know if I ever told anybody this. When that article came out with all of us on the cover [of SLAM 15], it had the (predicted) accolades on the inside. It said most likely to win MVP, most likely to do this. One of them said most likely to fade into obscurity…..and it was me. I was 21 and I knew what obscurity meant, but I had to look it up because I needed to make sure. It pissed me off because I felt I was going to leave my mark on this league. Whoever wrote that pissed me off and it gave me motivation my whole career. I was like I want to be somebody who I’m going to leave my lasting mark on this league. As much as it pissed me off, it was a good thing because it always made me remember that there were people who thought I wasn’t going to be good. So that was motivation.
Ray was referring to the “Rookies Most Likely…” yearly feature, where SLAM writers assign a bunch of different awards to a bunch of different rooks. That is admittedly a thankless task, because there are only so many rookies, so we always ended up selecting guys who probably didn’t deserved to be singled out, but were basically caught up in a numbers game.
But hey, it could be worse, I suppose. At least Ray Allen figured out how to shoot corner threes.