Betnijah Laney, Diamond DeShields and Arike Ogunbowale pose for the first cover of WSLAM. (Courtesy of SLAM)

SLAM, one of the most prolific basketball storytelling brands of the past 27 years, announced Wednesday the launch of the first-ever WSLAM Magazine.

While SLAM has long told the stories of the top women’s players in the game, WSLAM will have 82 pages dedicated to the very best of women’s basketball. The magazine builds off of the success of the WSLAM vertical that launched in 2019 and now draws an online audience of 300,000 readers.

“We always had a vision of wanting to do a magazine, especially because SLAM is so cemented in the print world,” said WSLAM director Camille Buxeda. “Just in two years we were able to make that happen, so it’s been a really exciting year.”

“Our WSLAM vertical has been creating and curating amazing women’s basketball content for two years, and we’re incredibly excited to add an annual print magazine to that content slate,” Adam Figman, Chief Content Officer of SLAM, said in a release. “The magazine is filled front to back with amazing and important women’s hoops stories, and the issue is the first of a franchise that we hope continues for many years.”

SLAM’s print subscribers will receive the magazine for free. The special issue will also be available for purchase on SLAM’s ecommerce site, slamgoods.com, for $8.99. SLAM will use the same production, design and sales resources allocated to its magazine issues for WSLAM.

The goal is for WSLAM to become the one-stop shop for everything women’s basketball and culture. Buxeda has already seen a growing interest in SLAM’s women’s high school and college coverage, with many continuing to follow top recruits like Paige Bueckers as they transition to the NCAA level.

“These are superstars in the making,” Buxeda said of the high school athletes. “I think [our coverage] really allows audiences and new basketball lovers to understand who the next ones to watch are because, in the end, that’s the fandom that’s going to transfer.”

But first, the inaugural WSLAM Magazine will focus on telling the stories of players in the WNBA at the intersection of culture and basketball.

(Courtesy of SLAM)

From a look into Tina Charles’ incredible season to a review of the Houston Comets paving the way for some of the best in women’s basketball, WSLAM highlights many of the most important moments in the WNBA’s 25-year history. The magazine also emphasizes stories that go beyond player statistics, including the WNBA’s role within social justice movements.

“It’s a little bit different from what I would say SLAM normally does, which is really focus on the now,” Buxeda said. “This is an homage to the past while looking to the present and future.”

“You gotta start somewhere,” Chicago Sky guard Diamond DeShields said. “I think that we do a very good job of paying homage to those that came before us. I wish that they would’ve gotten to experience this, and then I’m sure the next generation is gonna look at us and be like, ‘Dang, I wish they would’ve gotten to experience what we have.’ It’s just about the role they played, being the first.”

While the magazine may focus on the WNBA’s past, its cover features three present and future stars: DeShields, Arike Ogunbowale and Betnijah Laney.

“They really represent the faces of the next 25 years,” Buxeda said.

The players also recognize the importance of honoring those who came before them.

“They definitely paved the way for us,” Laney said. “To find ways to pay homage any way that we can … I think as we continue to evolve, we want to make sure that everybody knows what they did for the game, what we’ll do for the game and what that will mean to the players in the future to keep having the league evolve.”

Just as today’s WNBA players build on the past, Buxeda hopes that WSLAM’s print edition will inspire the next generation of women’s basketball stars.

“I think it connects people a little bit more than just reading it on a screen,” she said. “It’s a physical copy and representation that young girls can really put on their walls and say, ‘I want to be on the cover of WSLAM one day.’”