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Slam May/June 2018

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

United States
SLAM Media Inc.
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6 Issues


access_time3 min.
the sixth man

“I never really have time to look up,” Donovan Mitchell said. It was a chilly February afternoon in Utah. We were in a completely empty Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City taking photos and shooting video to create a magazine cover and capture some content with the hottest rookie in the NBA. In a quick, introspective moment, Donovan gazed at the banners, the advertisements, the upper deck of the arena, taking in the size of it all and peering around aimlessly. Then, about 1.5 seconds later, we started the on-camera interview, and the moment was gone. NBA stars don’t get many moments like that—moments to clear out the noise and ingest the scope of what’s taking place during their lives. Their schedules aren’t necessarily packed, but naps in hotel rooms…

access_time3 min.
trash talk

Raptors are making the finals. That’s right. You heard it here first, we beating the Celtics in 5 in the conference finals (no disrespect to Kyrie). Isaias, Vancouver B.C. via email P.S. tell Kobe to send me a pair of A.D.’s. size 8.:) Just to show how insane I am, I have come up with a new idea. Elon Musk has said that flying time from New York to Shanghai could be cut to 35 minutes by his new space rockets. So we could have world league pretty easily, once his rockets are built. Basketball could have a World Basketball League pretty easily quite soon. It could be called WBA. Rory Fyfe Smith via email In!!!!—Ed. Dear SLAM Magazine, I am a die-hard hawks fan and I have recently been wondering why they decided to rebuild. It breaks…

access_time2 min.

ALMOST NOBODY LIKES the one-and-done rule and its effect on college basketball. Except maybe John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski, who recently have had a nonstop stream of one-year players at Kentucky and Duke, respectively. But one-and-dones have cheapened the game at almost every level. There was a period when great players could go straight from high school to the NBA—recall Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, etc.—but the League didn’t like that and in 2005 created a rule demanding players be 19 and/or a year removed from high school before entering. Thus, we got athletes who had no interest in college educations showing up on campus for a year of wheel-spinning. We got recruiting and teaching scandals galore. We got a mockery of higher education and a cynical, but free, finishing…

access_time1 min.
picture me ballin’

DEVONTAE CACOK, UNC WILMINGTON With his field goal percentage at an even 80 percent last year, the Seahawks’ Devontae Cacok set a superb single season record. The 6-7 forward attempted only one jump shot in his second season and nailed it. Now as a junior, he has more numbers to show off with a league leading 13.5 rebounds per game, along with 17.7 points per contest. At the start of 2018, Cacok brought down a season-high 24 boards and scored 26 points in a win over James Madison. The Seahawks finished with a disappointing 11-21 record this season, but Cacok’s monster numbers were certainly a bright spot. MEGAN GUSTAFSON, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Junior Megan Gustafson finished this season with her name in lights and her numbers setting records. The 6-3 standout’s 25.6 points…

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fred vanvleet

GROWING UP IN Rockford, IL, Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet adopted an underdog mentality at a very young age with a stated goal of proving people wrong. “It’s been like that my whole life,” VanVleet says. “Growing up with three brothers, with that many boys in the house, you’re always fighting for respect and attention.” An All-State player, VanVleet spent four successful seasons at Wichita State, but went undrafted in 2016. After making an impression at Summer League and in training camp, he landed an NBA contract and a roster spot with the Raptors. This season, VanVleet has been a revelation for Toronto, leading the team in fourth quarter minutes through February. In a 34-point home win over Cleveland in January, VanVleet came off the bench and scored a career-high 22 points.…

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change up

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS later, it’s almost impossible to imagine a career like Chris Webber’s beginning the way Chris Webber’s career began. The No. 1 overall pick in 1993, traded on draft night. The 1994 Rookie of the Year, traded just weeks into his second NBA season. A transcendent talent just one year into a 15-year contract, already looking for a new start in his career. For Webber, that fresh start came in Washington, and those who remember his four-year run in D.C. are still wondering, What if? To set the stage: After that single ROY season with Golden State, Webber decided he’d had enough of playing out of position and a difficult relationship with Warriors coach Don Nelson. So he sat out the start of the ’94-95 campaign, forcing Golden State’s hand. The…