The London Lions Basketball Club has released the first-ever magazine dedicated to the intersection of basketball, culture and the community around the game, entitled ‘BASELINE’.
The first issue was released last month, with 5,000 print copies being available alongside an e-zine which can be found at: https://www.thelondonlions.com/baseline/.
This comes amidst a landmark study from the Lions which shows that 25% of Londoners say that people from fashion and sports are the most prominent cultural influences in their life.
Alongside the release of the zine, the London club are making other moves to strengthen ties between these sections of society, having recently gifted a vibrant new basketball court to a community in Tower Hamlets – designed by artist, Alvaro Barrington.
The London team are aiming to print 10,000 copies of each issue by spring as they are eager to highlight the importance and legacy of print.
The magazine is distributed for free in venue at the Lions’ home games as well as in shops, cafes and restaurants around their home area of Hackney.
The first issue contains interviews with NBA stars from the Toronto Raptors, OG Anunoby, writer and poet JJ Bola and actor and filmmaker Femi Oyeniran who all talk about the influence that basketball has had on their lives and respective careers.
The Lions worked with Kent-based firm, Cene Media, who took care of the building and printing of the publication. Henry Dean was the editorial lead for the launch, acting as editor-in-chief, writer and creative quarterback on the project.
The next issue is due to be released at the start of January with a wide array of features and interviews covering the world of culture, fashion, entertainment and sport.
Senior Vice President of Content at London Lions, Oliver Emery, comments on the magazine launch: “BASELINE is a marker of the Lions intent to embrace the culture around our sport and give a voice to the artists in our community; both locally and within the sport.
We’ve chosen to shun the traditional gameday programme, as we continue to shake the cobwebs off the old guard of British Basketball.
We want to offer more to our fans in venue – as well as opportunities for the community to engage with us in bars, coffee shops and youth centres across the Boroughs. Baseline is our way to do that, working in tandem with our community projects and basketball programming.
The zine also allows us to give our players a voice, bringing some of their more complex stories to life in a way that is harder across our short-form social media channels.
Without a camera in sight, we’ve seen players open up more for written content and we’ve been in awe of their incredible stories on social justice, representation and identity.
The choice to turn to print as part of our content output, whilst others retreat from it, is purposeful and is reflective of our ambitions to create meaningful relationships with new fans.
We want our audience to feel our brand identity through the touch of the paper and be able to dip in and out of our culture, as provided by a physical product.
The initial reception to BASELINE has been phenomenal and we look forward to continuing to work with Henry Dean and the cene team, to bring the art, fashion and community around our sport to life through each episode of BASELINE.”