ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before I got hired here at NBA.com by The Powers That Be, I spent over a dozen years working at SLAM magazine. I had several different jobs during my time there, including helping come up with cover concepts, and I learned a ton about how to make a magazine cover that matters. That rectangle of real estate on the cover will sit there on the newsstand and be the best bit of advertising you can create, so you need to be creative, and informative, and memorable, and about a dozen other things. (My favorite cover I worked on? I can’t pick. I was there from issue 46 through issue 156. You choose.)
One of the most famous SLAM covers ever was issue 15, well before my time, which featured a gatefold cover of the 1996 NBA rookie class. Here’s what that cover looked like…
This was shot at that year’s rookie photo shoot day, outdoors against a brick wall. By the way, notice the way Kobe Bryant is standing, with his left hand behind his back? He had a cast on his wrist so they had him hide it with his pose.
Yesterday, SLAM announced their newest cover, and with such a stacked rookie class, it only made sense to pay homage to another awesome class and, in turn, an amazing cover.
This image was shot at this year’s NBA rookie photo shoot, during a lunch break when they pretty much kicked everyone but the players out of the gym and confiscated cell phones so there wouldn’t be any image leaks, and then hustled everyone onto the set and got this great frozen moment.