The Flagg Collection #4 – “Mr. Hockey and The Great One” (Nike 1990) – Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the fourth entry in this blog series, I’m bringing you a rare Nike classic with a controversial history. The content isn’t controversial at all – “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe and “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky, in uniform, together on the ice in a classic pose, what could be wrong with that?

gretzky-howe-nike-1990

It was Nike’s use of the image that was the problem. According to a story I heard told way back in the late 1990s, this poster was discontinued and recalled by Nike soon after publication in 1990, due to a licensing issue with the picture. It seems the photo was part of a private shoot done for, I believe, the Coca-Cola company, and was not supposed to be released for any other use outside of Coke advertising. Apparently, the lawyers got to Nike, and the poster had to be discontinued and withdrawn from the market.

That didn’t stop a small quantity from getting out to the market, and we managed to obtain a stack of about 20 of them back in the day. They’re all long-gone, sold off to prime customers over the years, until we only had this last one left – and into the personal collection it went. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

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