Friday, April 18, 2014
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An oral history about the company that created the coolest sports posters ever

Remember the awesome pop culture-themed sports posters you had on your walls growing up?

An oral history about the company that created the coolest sports posters ever

Remember the awesome pop culture-themed sports posters you had on your walls growing up? You know, the ones that had your favorite athletes dressed like the Terminator and the dudes from Miami Vice. Like, back before Chris Berman bludgeoned the idea of sports puns by humming the Green Acres theme song for a decade and change? Well, they were brought to your walls by the Costacos brothers and SB Nation has a comprehensive oral history on the creation of their company and the wildly successful idea that changed sports marketing forever.

Amy K. Nelson spoke with John and Tock Costacos, famous athletes, business partners, agents and everyone else that could attest to the posters that went viral before the Internet was a thing.

Nelson's piece includes some incredible anecdotes, like when she was interviewing a one Sir Charles Barkley in Philadelphia dnd John Costacos crashed the interview to surprise Barkley because they've stayed close through the years. Barkley had this to say:

Charles Barkley: John's personality is infectious, like he’s got batteries. I’m pretty sure if I looked up his ass, he’s got batteries.

There's an incredible photo of Sir Charles w/ the brothers giving the finger to the camera.

And then Shawn Kemp talks about playing video games with Ken Griffey Jr.

Shawn Kemp: I didn't know who John was, but it didn't take me very long. Ken Griffey was a very good friend of mine. I'd go over to his house at night and we'd play video games. He had the posters all around his place, so it didn't take me very long to get familiar with how strong they were into the game.

Oh, and the time that Jim McMahon snuck out of the team hotel by jumping from the second floor balcony and wore a Cookie Monster mask to a Costacos brothers Halloween party.

McMahon: Ahh, the big (Halloween) party at the mall.

Ray: McMahon doesn’t do anything normal. We’re out front of the hotel and rather than him just walk out, all of a sudden, from the second-floor balcony, with this sheet thrown over himself, he jumps off the railing.

John: I told him, "If the team can't prove it's you, they can’t fine you."

McMahon: I got away with one there.

John: So here’s this big party, here’s Jim with a Cookie Monster mask.

McMahon: We stopped at a 7-Eleven and got a Cookie Monster mask. Everybody was in all these extravagant costumes, and I show up in jeans and that Cookie Monster mask.

Ray: It was a 5-year-old’s Cookie Monster mask .

Jim McMahon: It was hard to drink. You had to lift it up [to drink] but it was fun. It was a good party. … Good thing I had the mask or everybody would have known who it was. They would have been saying "Aren’t you playing tomorrow?" Yeah, maybe.

If you saw a movie or watched a sporting event between 1985 and yesterday, you should probably spend the next 10 minutes or so reading through the rest of the piece that chronicles the raddest wall art a kid could have circa 1992.

Mike Bertha Philly.com
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