I remember standing in the back section of Superstar Collectibles, slowly flipping through the display cases.
“Wow,” I thought. “This is the one. This is awesome.”
“Dad! Can I pleeeaase have this? It’s been so long since I’ve gotten one and I’ll pay you back when I get some money and look how awesome it is,” I said in a melted together blur of speech. “Isn’t it awesome?”
The “it” in question was decidedly not awesome. It was an Errict Rhett* poster.
*Two 1,000-yard rushing seasons by age 25, out of the NFL by age 31.
Teary and tragic story short, I didn’t get the Errict Rhett poster. In hindsight, it was a great decision by my dad, because a.) I probably didn’t have space for any more posters on my bedroom wall; and b.) Errict Rhett.
Some kids love learning new things at school. Some are voracious outdoor explorers. Some kids play video games every waking moment. Some have pets to alternately pamper and torture. My thing — my ultimate passion — was the acquisition of random sports memorabilia.
I collected cards (baseball of course, basketball, football, and even hockey). I collected strange 8×10 glossy prints of Derek Jeter throwing across his body or Ricky Watters plowing through the line of scrimmage. I collected full-size posters, emblazoned with Word Art catch phrases and action shots. Looking back, I must’ve given the appearance of the Word Art a lot of weight in my decision, because I had some strange posters: Bernie Williams hung across the room from Mo Vaughn, Shawn Kemp graced my wall for a time, and even Tim Salmon made an appearance.
I’m not in the market for any more wall-hangings at this point in my life, but I’m still fascinated by the array of hilarious, mystifying and fantastic sports posters that emerged in the 80s and 90s.
Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky: “L.A. Story”
Balls, pucks, fireworks, oh my.
Herschel Walker: “H-Bomb”
Terrorism at its sexiest.
Curt Warner: “The Blade Runner”
Who is “Curt” Warner?
Dale Ellis: “The Silent Assassin”
Is Dale Ellis gonna have to kill an opponent?!?
Karl Malone: “Special Delivery”
Karl Malone: Male stripper or devoted public servant? Ah, the delightful ambiguity.
Lester Hayes: “Lester’s Court”
“W. RECEIVER: Sentenced to four quarters of relentless intimidation, bone-jarring hits and masterful interceptions. So be it.”
Don Majkowski: “Majik Man”
Don Majkowski vs. Gob Bluth. Whose “majik” is best?
**Images from SI.com’s Sports Posters From the 80s gallery.