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Friday, May 29, 2020

10. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 29029 - 290230

In this grouping 290229 - 290230 we take a closer look at Mychal Thompson and  the iconic "Boardroom" which  we  assume represented the NIKE "Pro Club" membership as of 1982.

290229  Mychal   1982/83

One of the last type 1's that I needed for my collection it is rarely seen up for sale on EBay. It shows Portland's Mychal Thompson in a tropical island setting. The joke here is that Thompson came from the Bahamas.  He was the #1 pick in the 1978 draft. In the 1981/82 season he averaged 20 points and 11 boars per game.  

290230  Boardroom    1982

A collection of 28 of the top stars of the NBA during the early 1980s. This poster was printed in 1982 per the date on the back of the poster. The mailing label on the mailing tube from Nike indicates that it was mailed in Sept of 1982 putting a firm date on all the posters that proceeded it.  The ID of the players on the poster is shown below and was printed on the back of the poster.

9. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290224 - 290228

This group 290224 - 290228 includes Dodgers 3rd baseman Ron Cey, Jamaal Wilkes, a poster of NFL quarterbacks, a poster of NFL "speedsters" and from the 1970s running series "Runners on the Beach.

290224 Penguin Power   1982/83  (1984-86)

A six-time All-Star, Cey was named the World Series MVP after leading the Dodgers to victory during the 1981 World Series. We date this poster as 1982. The Penguin poster is available in both  the NIKE number + Poster title and the NIKE number + poster name / player name variations.

290225 SILK   1982/83  (1984-86)

Jamaal Wilkes, "SILK" of the early 1980's Lakers is available in both  the NIKE number + Poster title and the NIKE number + poster name / player name variations. 

290226 Field Generals  1982/83

Field Generals features 8 of the star quarterbacks of the 1980s including (from L to R) Dan Fouts, Marc Wilson, Jim Plunkett, Eric Hipple, Archie Manning, Vince Evans, Jim Zorn and Bert Jones.

290227 Speedsters  1982/83

Included on this poster are 13 of the top receivers in the NFL in the early 1980s ( L to R) Pat Tilley, Nat Moore, James Lofton, John Jefferson, John Stallworth, Art Monk, Stanley Morgan, Chris Collingsworth, Ahmad Rashad, Steve Largent, Harold Carmichael, Fred Scott and Nolan Cromwell as the motorcycle policeman.

290228   Runner on the Beach   1982/83

This poster features a man running on the beach at sunset with his dog and a seagull flying overhead.

8. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290220 - 290223

The group 290220 - 290223 includes Jam session, a who's who in 1970's basketball, Rosanne Williams and her two NBA sons Ray and Gus, John McEnroe in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and baseball "Firemen" Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter.  

290220 Jam Session  1982/83

24 of the NBA' s biggest stars from the 70's and early 1980s

(L to R rear row) Dan Roundfield, George "Ice Man" Gervin, Phil Smith, Darrell "Dr Dunkenstein" Griffith, Reggie Theus, Elvin Hayes, Maurice Lucas, Mychal Thompson, Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Bill Cartwright, Truck Robinson, Robert Parrish, Rudy Tomjanovich, Bernard King, Paul Westphal, Austin Carr. 

( L to right front row) Campy Russell, Alvin Adams, Dennis Johnson, Calvin Murphy, Norm Nixon, John Drew, Lionel Hollins.

290221 The Williams'  1982/83  (1984-86)

Ray, momma Rosanne and Gus Williams sitting for family portrait. Available in both title only and title & player name variations.

290222  59th St Bridge (McEnroe)   1982/83 ; (1984-1986)

The first of several posters for the bad boy of tennis, John McEnroe posed in front of the 59th street Bridge. Available in both title only and title & player name variations.

290223 Fingers and Sutter    1982/83 ;   (1986)

Top relief pitchers Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter won the AL and NL relief pitching awards in 1981. Therefore this is likely a 1982 released poster . It is available in both title only and title & player name variations and we think the latter was rereleased in 1986 since it is dated 1986 by the 1994 upper Deck/Nike set. .

7. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290213 - 290219

290213 through 290219 contains Basketball posters Sugar, Truck and Moses and 1980 World Series champs MVP and Cy.

290213 Runner in the Clouds  1982/82        

Runner on a mountaintop at sunset

290214 Sugar   1982/83

Michael Sugar ray Richardson dressed for a night on the town in NYC. Richardson was the #4 pick in the 1978 draft. With Manhattan in the background this picture was set up while he was still with the Knicks who he played for from 1978 through 1982. 

290215 UNK

290216  UNK

290217  Truck  1982/83

Leonard Eugene  Robinson - better known as Truck . Had his best season  in 1977/78 when he averaged 22.7 points and led the NBA with 15.7 rebounds per game.

290218 MVP & Cy     1982/83,  1984/86

Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton MVP and Cy Young award winners from the 1980 World Series Champ Phillies. Initial poster must have been produced at the end of 1980 or beginning of 1981 season. Available in both title only and title & player name variations.

290219 Moses          1982/83    (1984)

Moses Malone parting the sea of basketballs. Malone was selected in the third round of the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. The league  merged with the NBA in 1976. He landed in Houston Rockets. Malone led the NBA in rebounding in 1979, and was named league MVP.  He led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981, and won his second MVP award in 1982. He was traded to Philadelphia in 1983 where he repeated as MVP and led the 76ers to the 1983 championship. 

Available in both title only and title & player name variations. Dated 1984 by the Nike/Upper Deck card set. We think that is the reprinted variation

Thursday, May 28, 2020

6. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290206 - 290212

Continuing our look at the early Type 1 Nike poster cards the group from 290206 through 290213 includes Darryl Griffith, Paul Westphal and Darryl Dawkins.

This grouping continues the  evidence that in some cases there were multiple printings of these posters / poster cards as evidenced by the change in the information on their backs. Variation (a) has poster number and poster title whereas variation (b) has poster number, poster name and player name.  

Why there are 5 numbers missing from the first 10 is unknown. One theory is that Nike was cutting players that weren't living up to their contracts around the time of the Darryl Dawkins lawsuit in 1982 (see below) and these posters were eliminated before they were printed and distributed.  The exact comment from the NY Times was "....Nike had also terminated contracts with about a half-dozen athletes who had used Nike's logo on another brand of shoe."


290206  Dr. Dunkenstein  1982/83  (1986)

Darryl Griffith reported that he posed for the iconic poster after he signed with Nike in 1980 after leaving Louisville. 
Utah selected Griffith with the second overall pick in the 1980 NBA draftHe posed wearing a white lab coat and a doctors head mirror creating the character Dr. Dunkenstein  which was his nickname from his Louisville days. The poster card is dated as 1986 by the 1994 Upper Deck/ Nike card set but we know he posed for the photo in the 1980/81 season so 1986 must be  the second printing. .

This was also the first indication that there were multiple early printings of some of these poster cards (so we would also think posters) As you can see on the back of the poster cards, there are two different listings the first simply stating 290206 Dr. Dunkenstein and the second including / Darrell Griffith. 

We have only identified 9 posters where we have found two similar variations [just title vs title and player name ] between numbers 2902002 and 290225, but others may exist. We do not yet know for sure which one was printed chronologically earlier, but the best bet ae the ones without added complete names since they appear much rarer.  

290207 - Unknown

290208 - Goin' Home      1982/83 

Paul Westphal depicting a player going home after practice in a school yard. Nike photographer Kuhn has noted that the first poster he shot was 290208 "Going Home" with Paul Westphal. "I think the first poster I shot was Goin’ Home with Paul Westphal. We were in LA at an urban basketball court. This was in the late 1970s" 

290211 Chocolate Thunder    1982/83

Rim destroying Darryl Dawkins signed with Nike in July 1980. In return for wearing Nike shoes Dawkins, along with 25 other N.B.A. players, was made a member of Nike's Pro Club. In May of 1982 Dawkins broke his contract terms by wearing a pair of "Pony" sneakers. The subsequent lawsuit by Nike described in an Aug 1982 NY Times article indicated that " Dawkins's shoe switch came in the middle of the National Basketball Association playoffs -when his feet would be most conspicuous - and left Nike with 20,000 useless ''Chocolate Thunder'' posters.

This has been one of the rarer poster cards probably for the aforementioned reasons. This is the only example I have ever seen of this poster card.  

290212 - Urban Runner    1982/83

Runner caught in the sunlight running across downtown Seattle 

5. NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290201 - 290205

From Type 1 checklist there should be 69 Type 1 poster cards with Nike numbers of 290201 through 290249 and 290850 through 290869. Eight (8) of the original 49 have not been identified or possibly never existed. All of the second group of 20 are known and include the first Michael Jordan posters.  

The earliest posters were first issued in the late 1970s. Nike's Peter Moore, was responsible for creating the layouts back then with the assistance of Seattle-based photographer Chuck Kuhn. We have dated several of these by their presence in the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt collection.


Photographer Kuhn has reported that Peter Moore who was Nike’s creative director came up with all the ideas and Kuhn would shoot them. "I started doing photographs for Nike through an agency in Seattle called John Brown Associates. I shot basketball, football, baseball and a little bit of tennis. I worked with Nike for around 15 years. Initially the posters were shot for in-store use, but then the demand was so high that Nike eventually began selling them."

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Based on this input, our assumption is that these posters were not originally ( in the late 1970s ) given the 6 digit 290XXX numbers until the decision was made to sell them as a product and the need arose to display them on countertops in stores. Then the posters already in existence were given a catalog number and the "poster cards" were invented and distributed for advertising purpose we already discussed. This happened around  1982/83 . The order form that was  available in 1985  ( per Bruce Fisher) is shown below.

For sake of continuity we will list and discuss all of these in their "NIKE number order " created by the 6 digit stock numbers. We have included on the checklist the best info we have on when the  poster cards  were first issued .

290201 Supreme Court    1982/83

The Hewett collection (see ref below) dates the poster as 1977-79. We believe this was the first poster issued for sale to the public by the NIKE poster business in late 1982

Enshrined in the Smithsonian, this poster features members of Nike’s Pro Club, a group of Nike-endorsing NBA players, wearing long, black judges' robes. Note they are all wearing white sneakers with the NIKE swosh. From left to right this group includes: Phil Chenier, Campy Russell, Dennis "DJ" Johnson, Truck Robinson, Lionell Hollins, Elvin Hayes, John Drew, Artis Gillmore,  Phil Smith, Bernard King, Gus Williams, Alvin Adams, Calvin Murphy, George "Iceman" Gervin, Paul Westphal, Maurice Lucas, Austin Carr 

290202 Iceman     1982/83 , 1984-86


Reportedly the first Nike personality poster done in 1978. George "the Ice Man" Gervin with a pair of frozen basketballs. 

Nov 2020 - we have now found the second variation of Iceman as is shown below. This is the first nike poster card with two different data sets on the back . 

290203  Unknown

290204 No Finish Line (lake)      1982/83  

The initial advertising poster is labeled 1977 by the Hewett collection.

The first of the "There is no finish line" (TINF) posters

290205  Unknown