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Archive for the ‘SLAMonline Project’ Category

For the first time in the ‘Top 50’ countdown SLAM has positioned a player with three years history of being in the Top 50 NBA players. Arguably Ray Allen could have peaked in the Top 10 earlier in his career but with his age catching up to him and skills perhaps slipping somewhat it will still be an honour to be placed on this list.

The article’s author Johnny Nguyen has put together what is likely the most academic piece of writing that has appeared up to this point.

The brief introduction, the quote, the breakdown of technical and physical abilities shows that Nguyen has done his research as well as being a big basketball fan.

Last season Allen became the player who had scored the most three-point shots in NBA history. Many have dubbed him the greatest three-point shooter ever.

Ray Allen rising up for one of his famous three-point shots

Despite Allen’s popularity we can already see some of the commenters beginning debates. Many people believe that No 49 Andrew Bogut has received nominations for him to be placed above Ray Allen, but equally support is being given to Allen. There have already been arguments brewing over which player will be next on the list.

These comments have no bearing on who else will be featured on the list as it has previously been decided, but it is interesting as a writer to have people commenting on the various players that get their position and how they feel about the writing style. Many critics of the writing get very angry if there is an incorrect fact or if they feel the writing is not up to SLAM magazine standard. This is provides good practice for if these contributors were to take on more full time positions at national newspapers or if they were reporting on factually important stories. Their research has to be clear and facts have to be correct or it could get picked apart by readers, senior editors and if they were writing for a more cut-throat paper it could cost them their job.

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This is Bogut's second appearance in the Top 50 list

Number 49 on the Top 50 NBA player list is an Aussie called Andrew Bogut. Bogut is presented as a should-be hero by his profiler Todd Spehr, for the same reasons that other international players are.

By glancing at the previous blog entry, you may notice that the spotlight focuses on an athlete who was not born in the United States of America. Luol Deng has become popular in his split homes of Britain and Sudan. Without doubt the same has happened for fans of basketball in Australia with Bogut but not to the same extent but Spehr references other NBA players; Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol have become more than just basketball players, they are now considered celebrity in their respective homelands of Germany and Spain.

This is where Spehr’s written profile of Bogut is weak. He writes about Bogut with an overly blaze conversational tone, this tone can be used to great effect but it should still be able understood by someone who has never understood the game of basketball before.

This is one of the negatives of the genre and style that SLAM is famous for. Luckily for its readership it’s rare that this device ever has negative conotations but on rare occasions it can creep into online articles as nbk – a regular commenter mentions “this write up is good but it said nothing about why he is number 49, or even what he does positive on a basketball court”.

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Despite following SLAM magazine there are online contributors that do not have big roles in the printed publication, this task will be an interesting exercise in looking more closely at the writers and their techniques.

The basketball player SLAM seem to think played well enough to earn himself the final spot on the “Top 50” list is Luol Deng. Deng is a Sudanese born, British bred, North Carolina taught 26 year-old who plays the small forward position. The gentleman who has the pleasure to review his talent is Bryan Crawford.

Crawford like many SLAM contributors writes in a conversational style narrative. It is a very personal story of how Deng has changed his mind about the player’s talent and worth to his team the Chicago Bulls.

The story of how Deng came into the league, got injured and then earned himself a very lucrative playing contract is all presented in tone that can be seen as a general consensus opinion, but it is obvious that Crawford shares and values this opinion. He then expands the story into how all of the people that shared his opinion has changed and that Deng is now a positive contributor to the team he plays with.

Part of the reason Crawford saw fit that a biography of Deng’s life and career was essential is that this is Deng’s first appearance in the Top 50 list. SLAM are now posting a graph to show each player’s position in previous years and the fact that there are no previous appearances may be a discussion point for fans of the site.

Previous years have shown that the lower end of the Top 50 chart doesn’t matter as much as when the Top 15 is drawing in. When you look at the amount of comments the players receive the comment box will garner interest if a certain player is a surprise entry but discussion tends to surround which player will be on the list later.

Luol Deng (at this time of writing) does receive over 80 comments which is a lot considering he is not considered an elite player (by fan standards) and his high comment rating will probably have more to do that it is the first time he has made the list and also to do with the fact that this is the first Top 50 issue for the 2011 edition.

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SLAMonline.com is the website support for the basketball magazine SLAM. The magazine originated in 1994 and was a combination of all things basketball and hip-hop culture as the two were both reaching the peak of their respective popularities. This marriage still remains today. However the average readership has shifted since going from an underground New York publication to a national magazine with worldwide readership.

LeBron James of the Miami Heat is likely to top this years Top 50 list

The editors will have written for the urban youth although the audience will have been white American males between the ages 16 and 24. This has opened up somewhat since the magazine’s incarnation but the average amount of readers between 13-20 is at 67% (2011 SLAM Media Kit). Some of this has to do with the original readership being ten years older but also the marketing of the magazine has changed with it’s various owners over the years. This includes Primedia which already had a stable of national and international publications including Soap Opera Digest and an entire Action Sports Division featuring titles such as Skateboarder Magazine and Surfer.

The magazine represents itself as the “everyman’s” opinion of basketball. It has the benefit of not being a direct affiliate of the National Basketball Assocation (NBA)(although the two have a good working relationship), the sport’s primary league, and therefore the magazine’s editors are able to offer opinion rather than filtered facts that appear on the official NBA.com. SLAM also delves into other basketball worlds by covering a a vast range of college and high-school basketball teams and players. In the modern world where almost everything is available all of the time, the die-hard basketball fan wants to hear about the latest up and coming basketball star before anyone else. Therefore they focus the final third of the magazine to be more or less entirely dedicated to players before they turn professional. This technique has also paid dividends for the magazine as many of the players who eventually become top athletes then return to the publication for interviews having already built up a good relationship.

SLAM is a growing brand and the website is a clear understanding of the idea that print is dying. It’s a more regularly updated tool that has guest writers and bloggers that offer insight on a wider range of basketball than the magazine can. For the past five years the website has rundown the ‘Top 50’ players. The editors take note of statistics (of which basketball seems to have an endless supply), player impact on their respective teams and most importantly; personal opinion. This ‘Top 50’ ranking is currently being unveiled and similar to previous years each contributor to the site enjoys the privelage of writing about at least one player. I will be blogging about most of these releases and will pick up on various positives of each submission as well as how I think they could have improved each post, I will highlight favourite comments from the readers and provide an overall summary once this is concluded. Hopefully during this process I will entertain and inform you of a world that I am a big fan of, the global society of international basketball fandome at it’s best.

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