Many years ago, an aspiring young athlete named Russell Wilson had a poster of Bo Jackson on his wall that read "Bo Jackson, Black and Blue" and portrayed the two-sport star in front of gear of both of his teams, the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Royals.
There was no way anyone involved could have known it at the time, but more than two decades after the Costacos brothers, John and Tock, made that Jackson poster, they have come out of retirement to put Wilson on their first poster in 20 years.
And on Tuesday night at Charles Smith Wines Jet City tasting room in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, Wilson's "Armed and Dangeruss" poster was unveiled as part of the first public event for his Why Not You Foundation, which is dedicated to "creating real and lasting change in the world by motivating, empowering and preparing today's youth to be tomorrow's leaders."
Tuesday night's event was an impressive showing of generosity for a good cause, with money flowing as freely as the high-end K Vintners wines being poured. Auction items, which ranged from signed copies of Wilson's posters, as well as those of former Seahawks Steve Largent and Brian Bosworth, who were both in attendance, to a game-day experience that includes seats in Wilson's CenturyLink Field Suite and postgame dinner with the quarterback at the Metropolitan Grill, raised more than $200,000 in a manner of minutes. Further donations immediately after, which were matched by Wilson, raised more than $100,000. Charles Smith even presented Wilson with a $10,000 check, money Wilson had just paid him for the event. In all more than $400,000 was raised at the event.
"The mission of the Why Not You Foundation is the power to change the world one individual at a time, one child at a time, and we were able to do that tonight," Wilson said. "Through all the powerful influencers we have in this city, in this beautiful community of Seattle and the State of Washington and across the country—we had people fly in from across the country—we raised significant money to give back. That's the mission, that's the goal is to be able to give back. I've been given so much and I just want to give back. It was a special thing.
"It was an emotional night because you got to see so many people make an impact. That's what I love about this community," said Wilson, who initially was going to start a Russell Wilson Foundation that would have fought diabetes, the disease that killed his father, Harrison. "I was initially going to call it the Russell Wilson Foundation, but I didn't want to make it about me or about him… We're not focused on one thing, it's a bigger cause. I just want to make sure I'm doing my part. If we can focus on the individual, if I can influence you in a positive way, and you can influence the next person in a positive way, and that person can influence their kids in a positive way, and their kids can influence the next generation, then we have something. That's when we see change."
In addition to helping a good cause, the event featured a performance by comedian Frank Caliendo, a panel discussion with Wilson, Largent, Bosworth and the Costacos brothers, and people in attendance got to spend time with Largent, a Hall of Famer, and Bosworth, who remains popular among fans despite a career that lasted just two-plus seasons because of shoulder injuries. Bosworth's Costacos Brothers poster was their third-best seller among the more than 800 produced by John and Tock Costacos, Seattle natives who got their start with a Kenny Easley "The Enforcer" poster. In Bosworth's Wizard of Oz-themed poster is a 5-year-old boy wearing a jersey that read "Bozkin." Twenty-eight years later, that "Bozkin," Erik Hoberg, was in attendance reuniting with Bosworth, for whom a return to Seattle is "both sweet and bitter."
"My expectation was that I was coming here to play for 10 years," Bosworth said. "That's why I came in locked and loaded, bought a house… I'm kind of an all-in kind of guy. When the injury happened, and I stupidly didn't listen to my body, I let my pride kind of lead me, which in retrospect was the wrong thing to do. But it made me a better man today knowing that journey I did go on, it had some great ups and some horrible downs, but you've got to pick yourself up. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to come up here and play, the fans were so gracious to us, and they still are."
Among the guests in attendance were John and Patti Wall, a local couple who were finally collecting on an auction item purchased more than two decades ago. In the early 90s, Patti won an auction item that would allow her husband to be a part of the next Costacos Brothers shoot. The problem was that not long after, the Costacos Brothers started running into licensing issues in a changing professional sports landscape and eventually decided to sell their company. John Costacos kept in touch with the Walls, however, and more than 20 years later, he was part of the Wilson poster shoot.
With Wilson's poster finished—it can be purchased here, with proceeds going to the Why Not You Foundation—John Costacos said this might not be a one-time return to poster making for him and his brother. It was the personalities on Seattle's Super Bowl-winning roster that helped inspire the Costacos' comeback, and after making one poster, John Costacos said ideas are flowing.
"I'm not sleeping very well… I feel like this weird, mad scientist, I've got more ideas," he said. "I'm kind of possessed with it, so I feel like it's something I have to give it a go, give it a try. At the very least, I'd love to do more of the local guys."
As part of the inaugural event for his Why Not You Foundation, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was featured in a new Costacos Brothers poster, their first in 20 years, with all proceeds going back to Wilson's foundation.