My guess is kids today (holy shit I sound old, which is fitting since I’m in the space between being younger than Steve Nash but old enough to be Kyrie Irving’s father) are still high on the posters, right? When I was a teenager, there wasn’t an inch of the gray wood paneling in my bedroom that wasn’t covered in them. This was abetted by both my brother and I working in music stores, where we got loads and loads of promo posters and such. Hell, my brother even had his ceiling covered. But I did supplement those with a couple of sports-related ones. At some point early on, I wanted, but never actually purchased, a few of the posters made by John and Tock Costacos, a couple of T-shirt guys that had the idea of making these bizarrely themed sports posters that sometimes used athletes’ nicknames and sometimes just made em up, so far as I can tell.
“We wanted to make the athletes into comic book heroes. They’re larger than life. They’re Superman. They’re Batman,” one of the Costacos said (Kevin Mitchell literally being Batman in one of them). “They’re Hollywood action stars that kick the shit out of 20 bad guys always living to fight another day.”
Riiiiight. I know that’s what I always thought of Lester Hayes and Steve Largent.
At any rate, there’s an exhibition of these curious abominations that’s about to close at the Country Club and Mondrian in Los Angeles, and Sports Illustrated put up a slideshow of a bunch. More can be seen here. The Costacos are apparently still in the poster business, but not with the same batshit level of dementia that you can find in these. There’s about a million baffling details to parse in each one–from the overall theme (Kirk Gibson as a hunter, James Worthy as an attorney) to tiny things (Chuck Person’s too-small chaps, or the intimate caress between Jim Everett and one of his linemen).
So I naturally gravitated toward the two Cleveland posters: Bob Golic as some kind of greased hair metal canine fetishist with an exploding doghouse, and Cory Snyder as a gunslinger with smoking balls, more tiny balls on his belt, and a general look of confusion about where he is (is it all about his ability to throw out runners—I spent far too long trying to figure it out).