This week SLAM Magazine, also known as the basketball bible, celebrates its 150th issue.Â And in a move that could only be ordained by the Man above, or at a minimum, the basketball gods, SLAM tapped Allen Iverson to bless the cover.Â He agreed.Â In this special issue, Iverson, who celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday, exclusively sat down with SLAM and discussed everything from why he walked away from the game to a planned comeback.
Here’s an excerpt from SLAM, written by Tzvi Twersky, explaining why AI, who has perfectly personified what SLAM represents for the past 17 years, was the only choice for the 150th cover:
Look at the cover. Now look back here. Now back at the cover. Now back here.
For our 150th issue, a milestone by any magazine measure, we discussed a slew of big namesâ€”current and retiredâ€”but ultimately elected to feature Allen Iverson on the cover.
Why, you may ask? Why feature a team-less 36-year-old (happy birthday, Allen!) front and center? Why feature a man who some say is broken, beaten and has no ball left in his future? Why feature a man whose reputation has been pulverized beyond recognition since he last played in the NBA in 2010.
The answer is textbook stuffâ€”at least according to our school of thought. Itâ€™s not about his past. Itâ€™s not about his present. Itâ€™s not about his future. Itâ€™s about the sum of all three.
Past. Over the course of our first 17 years and 150 issues, Allen Iverson was inarguably one of the best and most entertaining players in the League. From his 24,368 points to his 5,624 assists, Iverson demanded double-teamsâ€”and fansâ€™ attention. And while, sadly, the internet has boiled him down to simply a practice parody, we still remember the fully formed Allen Iverson. The bundle of emotion, energy and highlights. For all of that, respect due.
Present. Take a look around the 2011 NBA Playoffs. From the exposed tats, to the hairstyles, to the unfettered emotional outbursts, to the ways players carry themselves, itâ€™s clear that Allen Iversonâ€™s influence still permeates the League. Heck, itâ€™d be fair to say that during SLAMâ€™s lifetime, no player has had a greater influence on the game and its surrounding culture than Iverson. The youngest of fans may not know this, but AI birthed a generation of clonesâ€”many of whom now populate the NBA.Â For all of thatâ€”for LeBron and Derrick and Dwyaneâ€”respect due.
The new issue is currently on newsstands.Â Pick yours up today!Â I’m eagerly awaiting mine to arrive in my mailbox!