Charles Barkley’s Earliest Marketcom Sports Illustrated SI Posters
A customer called today, and was wondering if Charles Barkley had a white-bordered SI poster release in the 1980s. I wasn’t sure, so I went back to browse our permanent collection (not for sale…), and lo-and-behold, here’s what I found:
This is Marketcom/SI Poster #4457, featuring a very young Charles unloading a monster dunk on Don Nelson’s Milwaukee Bucks at the old MECCA. There are no other players or identifying details in the frame to help precisely date the photograph, but I’d guess it was taken either late in Charles’ rookie year (1984-85), or early in his second NBA season (1985-86).
Not sure if there are any other Barkley images or variations in the white-bordered series, which ended in 1987; but this is one of the earliest releases in the “color bar” series that replaced the white borders in late 1987:
(Marketcom/SI Poster #7457). Although this poster is also undated (Marketcom often failed to place copyright dates on their posters, presumably to extend the selling life of a design by hiding from the customer the fact that the poster was an old design), this is certainly from the first group of color bar releases – note that the color bar does not extend all the way to the bottom or side edges of the poster. After the initial run of releases, this color bar went right to the edges. Not sure why they made that change – I think I like it better this way!
Barkley fans, these are two of the toughest Charles posters to find. In my ten years in this business, I don’t recall ever seeing the white-border for sale again, and the ’87 color bar rarely comes around, either.
For some great Charles posters that are easier to find, but still highly collectible, check out our Charles Barkley Collection. And for serious collectors, here’s a look at another very rare one – “Uncivil Defense” from Nike as part of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team collection (Nike #5205):