• Oct 02, 2013
  • by Chase McAnulty

As students of the game and fanatics of sports history, we often find ourselves scouring through the archives for inspiration and figuring out our own way to take elements and apply them to our own design. It becomes an obsession especially when you feast your eyes on that perfect piece that resonates throughout your body. It’s a feeling of inner joy and satisfaction, a memory tucked in your mind from your childhood that tickles your spine.


Throughout the 80s and early 90s the Costacos Brothers made over 700 posters matching popular culture with some of the most elite athletes of that era. In fact, the idea actually began with t-shirts after John Costacos, age 23 at the time and student at the University of Washington. He came up with an idea to print t-shirts for an upcoming game against Stanford, traveling to a road game one weekend to sell them. The shirts caught on and it was projected that he sold over 20,000 in one week.


John would take that money and came up with a plan to make dynamic posters for professional athletes with his brother Tock. Little did they know that it would turn into a multi-million dollar empire that would make them the centerpiece of every kids bedroom and stick them front and center amongst some of the greatest athletes in sport.


Here is our top ten favorite Costacos brothers posters of all-time, hopefully you can remember some of these and smell the memories.


  • 10. Christian Okoye – Nigerian Nightmare

  • 9. Karl Malone – The Mailman

  • 8. Dee Brown - Boston Dee Party

  • 7. Ickey Woods – Dirty Dancing

  • 6. Patrick Ewing – Madison Square Guardian

  • 5. Brian Bosworth – The Land of Boz

  • 4. Jose Canseco & Mark McGwire – Bash Brothers

  • 3. The Griffeys – Next Generation

  • 2. Jim McMahon – Mad Mac

  • 1. Bo Jackson – Black and Blue


So there it is…..how many did you have on your wall? What are some of your favorites. You can’t forget about Kenny ‘The Enforcer’ Easley or the ‘Roboback’ Eric Dickerson, how about ‘The Reignman’ Shawn Kemp or Deion Sanders ‘Prime Time’ posters? These were legendary pieces of art from back in the day. If you want to learn even more about the Costacos Brothers and dig deep into the archives of what they meant to pop culture, check out this incredible documentary of Poster Boys at sbnation.com and get inspired!