ESPN The Magazine's NBA Preview: 30 Dramas To Watch

ESPN The Magazine debuted their NBA Preview earlier this month on SportsCenter. With five split run print covers and 30 digital posters, this year’s preview compared the teams to television shows. We checked in with ESPN The Magazine Art Director, Rami Moghadam to take us behind-the-scenes. Here’s what he told us about this extensive project:

“Planning this year’s NBA Preview, we knew we were facing a challenge. The Golden State Warriors were yet again projected to be the team to beat. On top of that, we built last year’s NBA Preview around the Warriors. We asked ourselves: If the outcome is such a foregone conclusion, why does anyone care? The answer we landed on is that the NBA is a perpetual motion machine of drama.

So we decided to build this year’s issue around precisely that, drama. We identified the drama point for each team, then ranked the teams not by how good they would be, but by how central their drama would be the coming season. 

Thinking of the 30 NBA teams as individual dramas inspired us to create 30 TV-drama inspired posters with the help of photo illustrator Eric Heintz. Posters for the Lakers (Strangest Things), Thunder (Better Call Paul), Warriors (Empire), 76ers (CSI: Philly), and Celtics (Baller) graced our five covers.

Working with photographer Peter Yang, who shot all features for this issue, we brainstormed ideas to help these dramas come to life by recreating scenes from the shows. To supplement these visuals, we commissioned Alejandro Parrilla Galan to illustrate a set of playful icons, further linking the worlds of basketball and the various TV dramas we were referencing.

In our most ambitious effort in recent memory, we made sure every single page took inspiration from the concept, even redesigning our Forward section, appropriately renaming it The Big Ticket, while also building a custom digital gallery to house all 30 posters”

-Rami Moghadam
Lead Art Director, NBA Preview 


Senior Creative Director, Digital & Print: Chin Wang
Art Directors: Rami Moghadam, Eric Paul
Associate Art Directors: Linda Root Pouder, Munehito Sawada
Senior Designer: Christopher DeLisle
Designer: Tiffany Middleton
Director of Photography, Digital & Print: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography, ESPN The Magazine: Karen Frank
Senior Photo Editor: Nick Galac
Photo Researcher: John Klein

Digital Gallery
Art Directors: Heather Donahue, Rami Moghadam
Senior Front End Developer: Joey Maese

Editor-In-Chief: Alison Overholt