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Slam SLAM's LeBron

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Slam is the fastest way to bring home the entire world of hoops from playgrounds to high schools, college and the NBA.

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United States
SLAM Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
the sixth man

THIS ISSUE IS DROPPING either a little late or a little early, depending on vantage point. From one perspective, it could’ve and should’ve been released immediately following the 2016 NBA Finals, when LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a title and cemented his status as a forever icon in his home state of Ohio. From another, it should wait until after Bron steps away from the game, because how can you ever properly applaud a career that’s still ongoing? Both good points, but I don’t care much about either. To handle the first—it wasn’t made last year for some magazine business reason or another, a publishing schedule thing or something unimportant like that. And regarding the second— well, nah, SLAM has no interest in waiting until the man hangs up…

12 min.
royal flush

“I’M NOT REALLY THAT experienced holding this thing—it isn’t too familiar.” It’s Cavs Media Day in late September of 2017, and LeBron James, gripping a basketball, has jokes. Seated on an apple box in a massage room-turned-SLAM photo studio, Bron fiddles with a rock as he poses for the portraits you see on these pages, palming the ball the way you or I might control a softball. Dad jokes aside (for which he gets a pass, considering, ya know, he’s a dad), LeBron not only looks plenty comfortable taking photos for the cover of a magazine—he looks plenty comfortable all day long. He speaks eloquently about social issues during a press conference; he laughs with teammates as he strolls around the photo and video set-ups; and he somehow never once seems to…

10 min.
since day one

HISTORY GETS A BAD RAP. It’s easy to think of history from the perspective of a student in a classroom, nothing more than a collection of boring stories and irrelevant facts. But that misses the point. History is really just another word for perspective. History is a tool. History is useful as hell. Where SLAM and LeBron James are concerned, history is something else: essential. We cannot talk or think about this 32-year-old, four-time NBA MVP without thinking of the 16-year-old high school sophomore we met and wrote about before almost anyone outside of northeast Ohio knew who he was. There were exceptions, of course—even then, the college coaches, potential agents and sneaker company reps were already in the mix—but for the most part, LeBron was still an unknown. That changed, for…

11 min.
ohio player

THIS STORY IS ADAPTED FROM THE SEPTEMBER ’01 ISSUE SLAM NO. 054 To say we go further back with LeBron than any other media outlet isn’t some self-absorbed hyperbole (though it might be that, too), it’s fact. Here’s the first ever national magazine feature on Bron, penned when he was a wide-eyed incoming 11th grader who was just getting started. “ARE YOU THE ONE I’m asking for the autograph?” This from the waitress working the dining room at the Diamond Grille, the old-school steakhouse standing on a hill just seconds from downtown Akron, OH. There are four people seated in the booth, only one of whom is 16 years old, 6 feet, 7 inches tall, and dressed like he just stepped off a basketball court. That would be LeBron James, and yes, he is…

19 min.
super lotto

THIS STORY IS ADAPTED FROM THE AUGUST’ 03 ISSUE SLAM NO. 071 As solid as LBJ’s relationship with SLAM has always been, even we were a little shocked when he decided to throw on that headband for the cover of SLAM 71. Mix that and the MJ jersey, and you have one of the hottest SLAM—nah, magazine—covers ever. THE HEADBAND WAS HIS idea. We didn’t ask, didn’t even recommend. Of course, we didn’t discourage, either—if the most talked-about high school player of all time wants to rep us voluntarily, we won’t tell him not to. It’s a small thing, granted, but it helps explain why we like the kid. LeBron James didn’t have to rock the headband, just like he didn’t have to agree to the photo shoot (45 minutes scheduled, about 90…

13 min.
unreasonable doubts

THIS STORY IS ADAPTED FROM THE MAY ’ 04 ISSUE SLAM NO. 078 Overhyped? LOL. During the early part of Bron’s career, it quickly became clear that anyone who thought this guy couldn’t handle the pressure was wildly incorrect. And we were happy to remind anyone who had doubted just how wrong they were. SEPTEMBER 15, 2003. IT STARTS OUT as a bet. Twenty people—handlers, reps, family—standing around, looking, talking, planning his next engagement. He’s on the court, still fresh, no sweat yet, but about to build one. His uncle Randy is tossing him the ball, after misses, out the net. He looks over his right shoulder. Twenty people act as if they aren’t paying attention. “I’ll bet anyone $20 that I can hit 6 out of 10 threes off the glass.” Twenty heads rise.…