SLAM was founded in 1994. It was right on time—those who remember the early days of SLAM think about the mid-’90s, a period of sports and music convergence perfectly encapsulated in the pages of this hip-hop-inspired basketball magazine. And the best representation of this magazine ever since has been its covers, which have always acted as time capsules of the moments they were created, from Grandmama to Donda Academy.
But the NBA’s 75th anniversary got us thinking: What if SLAM was founded at the same time the NBA was in the 1940s? Of course it was literally impossible—the cultural forces that led to SLAM’s birth didn’t exist for another few decades—but it’s still fun to think about. So we present to you "75 BEFORE ’94," a collection of 75 didn’t-really-happen SLAM covers from the late ’40s until early 1994, when SLAM was actually born. (Note: Since this is in celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary, we avoided tons of non-NBA covers that could’ve been produced over the same time period, including women’s hoops covers, streetball covers, high school/college covers and more. We’ll get those next time!)
So here you go, the answer to that "What if?"...
Hit any of the covers below to learn more about the cover stars.