Friday, July 1, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1998-99 Topps Finest Basketball #236

Today's airbrushed victim is a strange case and a strange man. It's also my first, and probably last, non-baseball card to be featured here. If you haven't caught the news from ESPN yet in between mentions of the "Who Is Playing What Position?" 24-hour drama over in Boston, the NBA has locked out its players again. This is the honest-to-goodness last time I will mention the National Basketball Association until those morons come to their senses, or at least until David Stern finally gives up his mob rule over the league.

Gawen DeAngelo "Bonzi" Wells was, is, or theoretically could be an NBA shooting guard who spent 11 seasons in the league before being basically banished for being an intolerable headcase. Bonzi was acquired in what seemed to be a draft day steal for the Portland Trail Blazers from Detroit and had stretches of dominance in the Rose City before going nuts on coaches, fans and even a cop.

Why did Topps airbrush Bonzi's photo? I have no idea! Yes, this is his rookie card, but look at the back. It's a legitimate in-game NBA photo. Did they only have one to use? Did it occur to them to use it on the front of the card, the thing that most people care about? The mind boggles... like the game.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I guess I have the distinct advantage of having grown up with the Blazers in my daily life, but this is a no-brainer to me. The team name is not very well positioned and seems to be a bit on the short side, but the worst atrocity committed is that the stripes are out of order. That's supposed to be a red stripe on top of a black one, not the other way around! How does that even happen? Someone must have known what a clown Bonzi would become and decided to mess with him.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here - but not this one - please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

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