http://www.slamonline.com/online/the-magazine/toc/2012/06/slam-160-on-sale-now/#1Sometimes, you have to swing for the fences. About a month ago, when thinking of story ideas for SLAM, I sent Ben a very simple email asking if he’d thought about featuring Anthony Davis? Of course, I thought a story on college basketball’s latest clear-cut future franchise player was already in the works. As it turned out, they were trying to land the shot-blocking sensation for the cover, but there were roadblocks to getting it done since he had no agent at the time (and still doesn’t—making him the last big-time prospect in this year’s Draft not to). I replied that I had a way to get in touch with Davis, and right away, I got a phone call from Mr. Osborne:
“You sure know how to get me to call you, don’t you?”
“Yes, Ben, I do”
From there, it was all about taking unorthodox channels to get to what would turn out to be one of our most coveted cover story subjects to date. At one point, I was to hear from Davis’ parents. After a long, worry-filled week of no response from the ‘rents, Ben and I began to get a tad bit nervous. The closing of the magazine was near and still, we didn’t have our cover subject locked in.
On about the last day we could set something up for this issue, I got a phone call from an unknown number. The area code was 312. Chicago. I snatched up the phone like it was a field mouse and I was a hawk swooping in for the kill. And wouldn’t you know it? It was Anthony himself, being gracious and understanding in helping us meet our deadline.
Now you have to understand, Davis is only 19, so when you’re betting everything on a 19-year-old’s word, without the benefit of an agent or handler, things can go off the rails in a flash because, to a man that age, things happen and they invariably do happen.
But like a smooth tactician on a hot streak in Vegas, we rolled the dice. I flew into Lexington the night before the scheduled shoot to get everything ready and woke up early to make the donuts.
As a writer who has covered sports and hip-hop extensively, I can tell you that celebrities are notoriously late to just about everything, especially photo shoots and interviews. In this game, there’s a whole lot of “hurry up and wait” before you wrap a shoot or interview. That’s just the way it is. But right as the clock struck 9:30 a.m., which was our call time, in comes Ant. And this was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend to boot!