When I heard SLAM was turning 30 this year — man, first off, I felt old as hell — but of course, I was also hyped. 

Ever since I can remember playing the game, watching the game, loving the game — SLAM Magazine has been right there. I’ve been wearing a rubber band ever since that first KICKS issue.

It was the foundation. The blueprint. The culture. All along. For both basketball and sneakers. For the last thirty years, and however many years it runs from here…

I knew I could also contribute to the anniversary in a unique way. 

To celebrate the impact of SLAM and its 30th anniversary, we’ve partnered with footwear brands across the industry. We’re looking back at some of the most iconic covers and players over the last 30 years, to tell the story of SLAM’s impact on the basketball world, all through some fire collaborative sneakers. 

My favorite part about SLAM is the chapters. The eras. The way that the magazine and the platform meant different things to different people along the way — each decade — but always made an impact and left its mark.

Tonight in New York, we’ll be previewing some of our upcoming SLAM 30th Anniversary footwear to come at the magazine’s 30 YEARS OF SLAM party, with a runway spanning throughout the entire rest of 2024 of more heat on the way. Here’s an early look at what to expect all year long. 


By the time the already-dubbed “King James” appeared on the cover of SLAM #78 at the midway point of his rookie season, the most hyped prospect in league history was already meeting, and even exceeding the hype.

“It’s only the beginning,” read the cover text. 

He was lacing up his first signature shoe, the Air Zoom Generation, throughout his historic 20.5.5 rookie year. It wasn’t just the league that had stamped him as the future, but Nike coined him “generational” off top with a record-setting $90 Million rookie shoe deal. 

The history between SLAM and Bron is also long stamped. The text behind the tongue of the SLAM x Air Zoom Generation is updated from the cover and says as much: “Since The Beginning…” 

Flipping the hues of his first shoes, a rich red suede takes on the base color, while a series of design details celebrating his debut signature all come to life. There’s a nod to his first PE, the “Laser” Generations worn on Christmas Day, which was also the first lasered hoop shoe to hit the NBA hardwood. A detailed lasered graphic highlighting the SLAM logo and James’ upbringing tells the story further.

For the first time, there’s a collar Swoosh placement, just as Aaron Cooper originally designed them. The molded parts on the shoe that drafted off of his much-discussed Hummer H2 are all chrome to honor his 18th birthday gift. We’re only just getting started with this one.



When SLAM #41 dropped in April of 2000, we had just witnessed perhaps the greatest Dunk Contest performance of all time. Vince Carter was famously a sneaker free agent in just his second season, and he laced up the white and red AND1 Tai Chi for that instant classic array of dunks. 

AND1 had been around for a few years as a rising apparel company by that point and their transcendent streetball Mixtapes were moving major, but now, their footwear was taking off too. VC laced up a simple black and white pair of the Tai Chi on the very next cover slot that was available. The header was straightforward:

“The Greatest Show On Earth” 

To celebrate the 2000s era of AND1 and the impact of the Tai Chi on sneaker culture, we’re creating a new version that brings to life SLAM’s heritage colors of white, grey, black and orange, fittingly the exact shades from that cover shot of Issue 41. 

The mesh fade is a nod to another model from the era that I always loved, the Finger Roll, and a way to bring the Tai Chi’s original yin and yang inspired split read to the side of the shoe. As always, the shoe looks best with a suede color along the inside panel — a bright orange suede is seen on the SLAM edition. 

Our 30th anniversary crest can be seen along the inner collar, along with the three vertical stars found on the cover text. The 3M hits throughout tie back to the bright lights of All-Star Weekend, and the impact of The Greatest Show On Earth all these years later. 



Stephen Curry had just signed with Under Armour a few months before he was on his first cover of SLAM in December of 2013. And man, what a run he’s had in the decade since. He’s now the President of Curry Brand, his own damn brand within the Under Armour umbrella.

On the original cover, he’s wearing the Anatomix Spawn, a sneaker that marked a new era of design for UA, and the first model he wore with the brand to start the 2013-2014 season. 

The real story is the shoe that Stephen wore for the cover shoot was a mix of blue, purple and teal. In a full circle moment I couldn’t have imagined, I actually photoshopped the original picture, shifting the purple midsole to royal blue, and the teal collar to a Warriors-matching yellow. This was long before the league let go of their color rules, of course. 

A decade later, and Curry Brand has recently launched the Anatomix Spawn through its Flotro filter, remixing the company’s innovative Flow midsole with a modernized version of the original upper. 

While SLAM #173 was just the starting point of Curry as cover man, the SLAM x Spawn Flotro celebrates all of the covers that the 4-time champ has appeared on in the years since. 

The design incorporates a collage of his covers across the entire upper, with torn edges inspired by everyone’s childhood ritual of tearing out the pages of SLAM to tack up on their bedroom walls. 

The concept is also a nod to the generational impact that Curry has had on the game, inspiring young readers and players around the world to reimagine how they approach the game, extend their shooting range, and experience the joy of hoops.

The heel hang tag features the SLAM logo, while a pearlized midsole references the common 30th anniversary stone. The lace tips are a nod to both the milestone and Curry’s iconic jersey number, simply reading “THIRTY.” 

Stay tuned for more on the full SLAM x Curry Brand pack to come. We’ve got another model on the way, too…



A year after being selected #1 overall in the WNBA draft, SLAM stamped Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu as “The Next Queen of NY” for the mag’s Future Issue

The following year, Sabrina was launching her very own signature shoe with Nike, taking her starpower and impact on the game to yet another level. An All-Star and All-WNBA PG in each of the last two seasons, the 3-Point Contest record setter will once again be running point this season for a loaded Liberty squad that reached the WNBA Finals last year.

The expectations are rightfully high yet again as Sabrina enters her fifth season. There’s also equally high expectations for her follow-up signature shoe, the Nike Sabrina 2.

After her debut signature model broke barriers and saw adoption at all levels of the game, inspiring “anyone, anywhere,” the momentum around her second sneaker makes it one of the anticipated models of the entire year.

We can’t wait to share how SLAM x Sabrina comes to life in New York later this year.



Since he was a teenager, LaMelo Ball has been SLAM Fam. He was doing full-scale photoshoots throughout his high school run at Chino Hills, with his starpower and basketball journey taking him around the globe ever since. 

After his Rookie of the Year start in the league, the face of Puma Hoops saw the launch of his first signature shoe coincide with his first All-Star Game appearance during his sophomore season. It was on Issue #237 that he pulled up for the cover of SLAM in his unlaced MB.01s, hitting the league’s longtime logo pose in a custom LaFrancé jersey from his own clothing line. 

With an iced out, 3D UFO pendant on his neck, the cover declared him “Out Of This World.”

With more to come later this year, look for SLAM and LaMelo to bring to life his “rare” and “1 of 1” personality in the loudest way possible, as we team up with Puma to celebrate Ball’s impact on the sneaker industry and his place in the future of both the game and SLAM’s next chapter ahead. 



As we looked back through the decades of SLAM covers over the years, we also looked at the various milestone issues since the very first cover went to print in ’94.

The 30th issue of SLAM featured none other than Penny Hardaway, with a Scoop Jackson-penned cover story that perfectly captured his immediate rise with the Orlando Magic and his mission to stay on top of the game that he poured everything into. 

Around that same time in the late ’90s, Nike had just unveiled one of their most innovative sneakers ever with Penny as the headliner. The Foamposite One has been one of the most unique and iconic sneakers across the industry ever since, with its molded upper and clear bottom making for an unmistakable look and a global following. 

The SLAM x Penny Foamposite takes it back to one of the earliest sketches from designer Eric Avar, who somehow saw the future when first crafting the shoe in the mid-90s. The molded Foamposite upper found here features a printed graphic inspired by Avar’s concept sketch, with the details dialed in from there. 

For the first time, there’s a Swoosh along the shank, just as Avar had sketched it. The tongue logos alternate between Hardaway’s sleek 1 Cent logo and the SLAM logo. The heel tabs feature the three vertical stars found on every cover throughout the magazine’s 30 years, and a number 30 that also honors SLAM’s 30th Issue. 



When you ask anyone to pick their favorite cover of SLAM, it’s the 15th issue featuring a fold-out cover of rising rookies “set to blow up” that quickly comes to mind for many. One of the deepest Draft classes ever posed in front of a brick wall, and SLAM was right there in 1996 to stamp the collection of future Hall of Famers as next up. 

In partnering with Adidas, we’ll be bringing to life one of the brand’s most forward-thinking designs in company history. Yes, that means the Crazy Two is retroing in the future, for the first time. 

With a molded silhouette drafting from the automotive industry, the sneaker was every bit as boundary pushing as it was polarizing when it originally launched.

You’ll be seeing the outsized proportions of the sneaker come to life in an entirely new way later this year, as SLAM looks back to the shades found along the classic “Ready Or Not…” cover from the earliest days of the magazine.



You already know this was a must. 

As Allen Iverson writes in the foreword of the “30 YEARS OF SLAM” book:

“I am SLAM.” 

The bond and timeline of the two have been linked ever since Iverson was first featured on the cover, while still in college. When Issue #32 dropped though, the impact reached beyond basketball. 

It’s not just an iconic SLAM cover. It’s an image that kickstarted an entire throwback jersey era for the 2000s, and cemented AI as the most culturally impactful icon that the league has ever seen. 

Throughout the detailed Russ Bengtson feature interview with The Answer, there’s a layout graphic featuring Iverson that’s centered around “The 3 of Diamonds.” 

As we all know, there isn’t much explanation needed to explain Allen’s affinity for ice.

The throwback “PHILA” jersey he’s wearing was custom made by a local nearby manufacturer named Mitchell & Ness, to highlight the history of the league in an “Old School Issue” as the NBA was dealing with a lockout that year. It was the chains, the tats, the watch and the earrings that let you know this was still a modern icon of the next millennium. 

Inspired by “frosted” diamond watches, the midsole of the SLAM x Reebok Question Low features a metallic frosted texture that extends up into the shoe’s iconic toe cap. The SLAM logo appears on the heel, while the lettering up the eyelets have been switched out to read Allen’s longtime nickname among his closest friends, “Bubba Chuck.” 

The “3 of Diamonds” logo from the original cover story layout can be found on both the heel of the shoe and through the clear outsole, bringing one of the most impactful covers in SLAM’s 30-year history full circle, celebrating once again that “Allen Iverson is Soul On Ice.” 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here