The NBA may have locked out its players last year, costing untold thousands guaranteed paychecks and forcing upon its fans a truncated 66-game season rife with pulled hamstrings and back-to-back-to-backs. We're more than aware of how badly the NBA botched this even as we tell you that there is no better time to be an NBA fan. Why?
Every NBA box score, ever, is online. And every cover of SLAM Magazine, ever, is scanned all nice and pretty for you to peruse over. There's also the whole embedded video thing where you get to watch dunks and dunks and dunks.
Grantland's Robert Mays put together a must-read feature about Defense Department retiree Dick Pfander, whose lifelong obsession with pro basketball box scores resulted in Basketball-Reference.com's new ability to feature quick access to every single box score you would ever want. Here's a quick take on Pfander's much-appreciated obsession:
It wasn't until the early 1980s, when Pfander retired, that he decided to make a concerted effort to track down each of the ones he was already missing. The search went on for a few more years until, eventually, just one box score remained — a game during the first season of the BAA between the St. Louis Bombers and Detroit Falcons. Traveling with his wife on business to Lansing, Pfander used a bit of free time to make his way to a state library. He can't remember the paper, but while cranking the dial of the microfilm viewer, he scrolled just past what he knew was a box score. Like that, almost half a century's worth of work was done. To date, his collection includes nearly 54,000 games including the regular season and playoffs.
And now we get to look at each and every one of them. Sometimes on phones, even. Apologies for the Pollyanna take, but it's a lovely statement about our times that one man's life's work (which saw him traveling from library to library, meticulously tending to his collection for decades) can now be encapsulated on a site accessible from the same thing that allows you to play Angry Birds while you wait for your plane to come to a complete stop at the boarding gate.
Planes are pretty amazing, too. While we're at it.
SLAM Magazine, which is nearing its 20-year anniversary, has made an indelible stamp on how we think, focus, learn from, and cover the game of basketball. The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby already pointed this out, but it bears repeating that you probably have three-quarters of the covers that Trey highlighted in his SLAM post in your parents' basement right now. Assuming you're not reading this from the basement, in which case I'd point out that things will get better. I promise.
Trey already went over the best and brightest from my six-year turn of reading SLAM religiously, but I would like to add in this fantastic picture, coupled with the reminder that we should never use popular song lyrics in titles unless we're really, really sure that song won't turn unintentionally hilarious by the time the next presidential election cycle starts:
Long live SLAM Magazine.
Scan away, have fun, count your blessings and make sure ISP bill is paid off.