The selection committee took their sweet time to think about who was worthy to be inducted into the first ever Sports Retro Hall of Fame. There were a lot of top notch nominees (you can see them here) but unlike the Baseball Hall of Fame, where guys like Brad Radke and David Segui actually received votes, we only wanted the best of the best. These are things from the world of sports that had a lasting impact on our childhood, transcended their era, and molded us into who we are today. Without further adieu I’m proud to announce the inductions into the 2013 Sports Retro Hall of Fame.
NHL 94 for Sega, the Charlotte Hornets pullover Starter jacket, Ken Griffey Jr’s 1989 Upper Deck Rookie Card, the Nerf Turbo, and the Michael Jordan vs Larry Bird “Nothing but Net” McDonalds commercial. Take a bow.
We are now going to say some things about each well deserved inductee.
NHL 94 for Sega
Earlier in the month we did a breakdown of the hockey video games in Swingers and Mallrats, and even though neither movie actually used NHL 94 for Sega (which is a misconception for most people) it was the inspiration behind it. You know you are ballin when Swingers does a two and a half minute scene about your game.
As a kid you weren’t worried about the TV ratings of a sport, you care more about what color popsicle you’ll get (I’m a purple guy), the TGIF lineup, and having fun. When we weren’t out playing Rundown, kick the can, or riding bikes we were playing the hottest new game system: Sega Genesis. NHL 94 was the best hockey game and was the Madden Football before Madden got so popular. The game play was groundbreaking and unlike anything else on the market. It was the first to have “one timers”, “the move” (if you knew it you could score every time), and goalie control. As a 14 year old this blew my mind.
Considering how impressionable we were at the time playing this game probably had more impact on our lives than any guidance counsellor or teach did. Because of this it is a no brainer first ballot Sports Retro Hall of Fame inductee.
Charlotte Hornets pullover Starter jacket
This article on Starter jackets being the originators of swag pretty much sums up everything you need to know about why Starter jackets are so awesome. The Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket gets singled out because it was the coolest of the cool.
During the 1992-93 season the Hornets, only in their fourth year in the NBA so they had some new to the block coolness, had Alonzo Mourning, Grandmama, and Muggsy Bogues. They made the playoffs, they were an expansion team, and they were hotter than a Brazilian women’s sand volleyball team. As impressionable young teenagers jumping on this bandwagon made you cooler than if you drove to school on a pogo ball.
There were tons of fads in the 90’s but nothing came close to the levels of popularity of the Charlotte Hornets pullover Starter jacket. I guarantee if you were to rock one of these for a night right now that you’d instantly become the most talked about person in the bar.
Ken Griffey Jr’s 1989 Upper Deck Rookie Card
Between the ages of 6 and 16 collecting cards was the greatest thing ever. The feeling of touching the unopened packs and creating a system for guessing which pack was going to yield the best cards was commonplace. All of this was done in the hope of landing that one gem, the big fish that will turn your collection from good to great. The card that best exemplified this was the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr Upper Deck Rookie card.
It was the greatest card that a kid from our generation could pull and as someone who never got the opportunity to pull one, it’s still one of the biggest disappointments of my life. For the longest time the card was valued at $100 (according to Beckett) and for someone who is 10 years old that feels like a million dollars.
Ken Griffey Jr was so awesome that he is still my favorite player ever that never played for a team that I rooted for. This is the card that started it all and has no equals.
When we were kids there was no such thing as the Internet (until later on) so we had to find ways to amuse ourselves. Naturally when you get a group of boys together from the neighborhood you are going to
talk about jerking off play sports. Since many of us didn’t have pubes and our hands could barely hold none the less throw a regular sized football we had to figure something else out. Insert the Nerf Turbo, a foam football that let you air the ball out like you were Jeff George.
Sure there’s tons of cool stuff on the Internet now, but you know what’s cooler than anything else? Throwing a football 50 yards when you are 12 years old. “Go Deep” was the play call pretty much every time and the fact that we completed those deep passes about as often as Mark Sanchez didn’t matter. Airing it out was half the fun.
There are few things in my life that I think are as awesome as the Nerf Turbo and this is about as well deserving as it comes. When considering settling down for good with a lady friend ask yourself this. Does she treat you as well as your Nerf Turbo did? If the answer is yes then she’s a keeper.
Michael Jordan vs Larry Bird “Nothing But Net” commercial
The Michael Jordan vs Larry Bird “Nothing But Net” commercial is the gold standard for commercials. At the time I was 13 years old and my life revolved around playing football with a Nerf Turbo, collecting cards, and playing/watching basketball. Like everyone else, I wanted to be like Mike. The NBA was by far the best league of all the major sports at the time and who better to put into a commercial than two of its biggest stars, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. They could have been selling plumbing equipment for all I cared. Had that been the case I’d probably be slinging some wrenches right now.
After watching the Super Bowl ads of years past that have left me as unsatisfied as I have left many of women, like a fine wine this commercial only gets better with age. Having Larry Bird and Michael Jordan doing a trick shot competition for a Big Mac is brilliant and if McDonald’s were smart they’d just re-release these commercials and watch the good press come in.
The Nature Boy Ric Flair so eloquently stated “to be the man you’ve gotta beat the man”. Well no commercial has come close to beating this one and is why it is a first ballot Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
We’d like to thank all of you who sent in nominees as well as votes as you helped make this happen. When we first asked for suggestions for the Sports Retro Hall of Fame we said that we’d be giving out Bacon Sports koozies if one of your nominations was inducted. I’d like to congratulate Kevin Wager (@KevShocker), Reggie (posted in the comments and on Twitter), Tom Hamm, and Brian Roberts on winning. Tweets us @BaconSports or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned as we plan on dropping some other Hall of Fames that are sure to put a smile on your face and get you to relive your childhood.
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