Anthony Adds Another Hat To His Collection As Editor-in-Chief Of SLAM Magazine

by Casey Holdahl
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With the NBA being on hiatus and much of the country under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony found himself with something he doesn’t often have: free time. So when SLAM Magazine approached the 16-year veteran about serving as Editor-in-Chief for their edition focusing on police brutality and systemic racism, particularly as it pertains to athletes, he figured it might be a valuable way to use some of that free time, at least if certain conditions were met.

“It was a great opportunity for me to just be able to, from a creative standpoint, take over the full magazine,” said Anthony on a Zoom call with reporters Monday afternoon. “I told them 'Look, the only way I will be involved in this is if you let me take the gloves off and you let me be creative and you let me tell the stories that I want to tell.' That's what happened.”

The result is a special edition, whose proceeds will be donated to organizations and charities that serve the Black community, focusing on “social justice and activism as seen through the lens of basketball” and featuring Anthony and his son, Kiyan, on the cover. For Anthony, putting his son on the cover wasn’t about a dad giving his son preferential treatment, it was a symbolic statement about how he feels he can best support the issues important to him at this stage in his life.

“It was a lot going back and forth about what I wanted, a lot of different ideas for the cover and just stories,” said Anthony. “And then I said, you know what, I'm going to put my son on the cover because it's about the future. I'm going to continue speaking on what I have to speak on, but I'm the past and I'm the present. To have my son in the front of that, with me standing behind him, letting him know, letting the world know, that I don't just have my son's back, I have this next generation's back as well. And those are the people who need to be heard.”

Along with a letter from Anthony regarding his thoughts and feelings about the systemic racism that has tormented the Black community for centuries, Anthony collected and edited testimonials and stories from the likes of Bill Russell, Spencer Haywood, Sheryl Swoops, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Thabo Sefolosha.

“I’ve had opportunities to do stuff with certain magazines and certain outlets, but never this in depth,” said Anthony. “It was two weeks of just like, nonstop. And when you're dealing with all the stories that I put in there -- handwritten letters from Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mahmoud (Abdul-Rauf), Craig Hodges being able to tell his story, Oscar Robertson speaking at this point in time and where we at right now and the WNBA roundtable and the younger generation with HBCUs and talking about that. Every single thing, it took a lot of time. It took a lot of time, a lot of overtime but it was something I was very careful with, because I really wanted the stories to live on its own and everybody have they own voice and they own platform.”

For Anthony, the opportunity not only provided a way to use his time to good use use, it ended up being a learning experience. He was familiar with some of the stories before stepping into the role of Editor-in-Chief, but through the editing process, he gained new knowledge and perspective.

“I had a list of stories that I wanted tell that haven't really been touched on and really been told before. You go back to Oscar Robertson, people know of Oscar Robertson but they don't really know his story,” said Anthony. “It was educational, at the end of the day, because when you hear somebody like Spencer Haywood, right, and when you hear his story -- a lot of people don't know his story, a lot of kids don't know his story, the younger generation don't know who Spencer Haywood is -- so to hear is perspective on what he had to deal with when he first came in, coming out of high school and being one of the first African American players in the NBA, that story alone, people need to hear that.”

And thanks in part to Anthony, anyone who picks up a copy of the July issue of SLAM will be heard.

“All the other stories, the creative, the concept, I came up with that in two weeks,” said Anthony. “It took a lot of work but also it was fun, it was therapeutic, it was educational, it was creative and that's what I wanted when I was going to the magazine.”


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