Swagged-Out Athletes of the '70s and '80s

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterMarch 5, 2014

Swagged-Out Athletes of the '70s and '80s

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    Mark Avery/Associated Press

    There’s something endlessly fascinating about the '70s and, particularly, the '80s. So many of us were actually born in the '80s, yet it still seems like a decade inserted into human history by aliens. 

    Between 1970 and 1989, so much changed in the world that it’s almost unrecognizable by today’s standards. Even though sports themselves haven’t been altered substantially, the men who play them professionally have. 

    Which is why looking back at photos from the era is so entertaining. Here are 50 photos of the swagged-out athletes of the '70s and '80s. 

50.

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    Associated Press

    Date: January 1978 

    Pictured: Ed “Too Tall” Jones & Tom Henderson, Dallas Cowboys 

    The one-time Cowboys teammates get in the chill zone together at their New Orleans hotel. Three days later they would face—and defeat—the Broncos in Super Bowl XII. 

49.

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    Associated Press

    Date: January 1974

    Pictured: Muhammad Ali & Joe Frazier, Boxers 

    There’s no love in Frazier's eyes, who greets Ali with a chilly handshake after he was defeated in a 12-round heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden the night prior. 

48.

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    Associated Press

    Date: July 1980

    Pictured: Phil Simms, New York Giants 

    Seeing Phil Simms as anything other than the pale, bland commentating blob we know him as today is pretty jarring. It's almost as if this guy used to be human. Almost

47.

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    Associated Press

    Date: December 1981

    PicturedJim McMahon, Brigham Young & Marcus Allen, Southern California

    McMahon and Allen are pictured together at the Pigskin Club, in D.C., alongside the chairman of the awards committee, James Carter. They were both invited as leading Heisman candidates that year—Marcus would go on to win the trophy. 

46.

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    Associated Press

    Date: March 1982

    Pictured: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers

    The Great One geeking out with actor Jamie Farr, who played Klinger on M*A*S*H. 

45.

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    Associated Press

    Date: April 1974

    Pictured: Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    The former Steeler is looking fine in a velvet blazer at Three Rivers Stadium, signing with the team after being drafted. 

44.

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    Associated Press

    Date: January 1988

    Pictured: Bruce Jenner, Olympian 

    Jenner is pictured back in the day when cigarette companies still sponsored athletes, apparently. (Not to mention prior to that horrific plastic surgery) 

43.

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    Associated Press

    Date: December 1973

    Pictured: Ed Jones, Tennessee State & Walter Payton, Mississippi State 

    Jones and Payton pose near trophies awarded them after being named All-Americans. No clowning around here—these guys look serious as a heart attack. 

42.

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    Sal Veder/Associated Press

    Date: October 1973

    Pictured: Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders 

    Former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler rocking the hell out of a team jumpsuit while reading over some fan mail. 

41.

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    Marty Lederhandler/Associated Press

    Date: July 1981

    Pictured: Sugar Ray Leonard & Thomas Hearns, Boxers

    Leonard and Hearns are pictured after announcing their bout for the undisputed welterweight championship. The fight was billed as “The Showdown.” 

40.

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    Fong/Associated Press

    Date: April 1980

    Pictured: Anthony Munoz & Brad Budde, Southern California

    The former USC teammates congratulate each other after each being selected in the first round of the draft. Munoz went to the Bengals, Budde to the Chiefs. 

39.

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    Associated Press

    Date: February 1976 

    Pictured: Dock Ellis & Willie Randolph, New York Yankees 

    Ellis and Randolph have some fun outside Shea Stadium after both signed with the Yanks. 

38.

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    Wally Fong/Associated Press

    Date: January 1980

    Pictured: Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw & Gerry Mullins, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    If you want to make an argument against the Steelers being the greatest team of the 70s, I’ll listen, but I won’t agree. If you want to argue against them being the swaggiest team of the 70s, I won’t even listen. 

37.

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    Nancy Kaye/Associated Press

    Date: January 1986 

    Pictured: Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears 

    Jim McMahon does his Jim McMahon thing during a taping of Late Night with David Letterman. Dude had a headband for every occasion. 

36.

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    PAUL SAKUMA/Associated Press

    Date: December 1984

    Pictured: O.J. Simpson (Retired) & Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams 

    Just a couple of Hall of Fame running backs clowning around. Dickerson looks like a cool guy with swag to spare. Unfortunately Juice just looks like a double murderer. 

35.

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    Mark Foley/Associated Press

    Date: August 1974

    Pictured: Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Philadelphia Flyers 

    Schultz is seen pouting at a Superstars tournament in Florida—he lost his oar during the rowing event and had to be towed back to shore. 

34.

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    Sean Kardon/Associated Press

    Date: November 1983

    Pictured: Marvin Hagler, Boxer 

    You didn’t think Floyd Mayweather was the only boxer with style, did you? In his prime, Marvelous Marvin would give Mayweather a run for his 'Money' in the swagg department. 

33.

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    Associated Press

    Date: August 1989

    Pictured: Kevin Greene, Los Angeles Rams 

    Former NFL linebacker Kevin Greene gets handsy with photographers outside Tokyo’s International Airport. The Rams were in town for an exhibition game against the 49ers. It's a shame he didn't leave those pants—and that hairdo—back in LA. 

32.

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    Associated Press

    Date: April 1975

    Pictured: Bobby Clarke & Wayne Stephenson, Philadelphia Flyers

    They didn’t call these boys the Broad Street Bullies for nothing. Looks like all that brawling on the ice left Clarke short a few teeth. 

31.

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    Charlie Bennett/Associated Press

    Date: January 1986

    Pictured: Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams & Walter Payton, Chicago Bears

    These two didn't let the fact that they were set to face off in the conference championship game on Sunday stop them from sharing a few laughs at a press conference on Friday.

30.

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    MARTY LEDERHANDLER/Associated Press

    Date: June 1982

    Pictured: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

    Hall of Fame Laker point guard Magic Johnson poses with coach Pat Riley after winning the NBA Championship. Magic’s arm is resting on his MVP trophy—his second in three years—and his ass is resting on his brand new Corvette. 

29.

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    Ron Heflin/Associated Press

    Date: July 1986

    Pictured: Tony Dorsett & Tony Hill, Dallas Cowboys 

    Those totally 80s tracksuits are a study in contrast. You’ve got Dorsett rocking a timeless Adidas number, while his teammate’s was probably out of style by the time this photo was developed. 

28.

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    Ed Bailey/Associated Press

    Date: June 1989 

    Pictured: Phil Mickelson, Arizona State & Julius Erving, Retired 

    Good gravy! Dr. J looks as amazing as ever in this photo, but Phil Mickelson is the real story. Since when do colleges admit 12-year-olds?

27.

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Date: September 1984

    Pictured: Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals 

    It’s safe to say that the former Bengals quarterback has never looked weirder than he does in this photo. 

26.

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    Associated Press

    Date: September 1970

    Pictured: Phil Jackson, New York Knicks 

    Before he became one of the greatest coaches in sports history, Phil Jackson was one of the most awkward, lanky white guys in NBA history. That mustache though? Perfection. 

25.

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    Associated Press

    Date: February 1986

    Pictured: Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears

    One of the more colorful characters we’ve ever seen in the NFL, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is pictured with Hugh Hefner outside the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills. 

24.

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    David Pickoff/Associated Press

    Date: June 1985

    Pictured: Wayman Tisdale (Oklahoma), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Chris Mullin (St. John’s)

    All three were in New York for a pre-NBA Draft news conference—Mullin was kind enough to wear his finest button-up…t-shirt 

23.

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    Associated Press

    Date: March 1975

    Pictured: Muhammad Ali, Boxer 

    Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dons his training boots—along with one of the sweetest pair of plaid pants I’ve ever seen—one day after defeating Chuck Wepner in Cleveland. The headline in the paper is clearly visible, and not by accident. 

22.

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    Associated Press

    Date: November 1980

    Pictured: Ron Jaworski, Philadelphia Eagles

    Jaws is looking clutch with that full beard. 

21.

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    George Widman/Associated Press

    Date: November 1988

    Pictured: Randall Cunningham, Mike Quick & Reggie White, Philadelphia Eagles 

    For some reason, these three got together to record a “rap music video” with eight teammates. Apparently, the chorus begins "Buddy’s watching you," a reference to their coach Buddy Ryan. Not exactly a timeless classic. 

20.

31 of 50

    Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press

    Date: September 1979

    Pictured: Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox 

    The beloved Boston hero is pictured here talking with his son, Carl Jr., in the visitors club house at Yankee Stadium. 

19.

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    Harry Cabluck/Associated Press

    Date: November 1972

    Pictured: Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    "WOW!" is likely the word you’re currently searching for. Wow…wow…wow…and a lot more wow. 

18.

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    Associated Press

    Date: July 1975

    Pictured: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers 

    Talk about a cool customer. Kareem in the 70s was nothing short of epic. 

17.

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    Bob Galbraith/Associated Press

    Date: January 1987

    Pictured: John Elway, Denver Broncos 

    Gold star to anyone who guessed Elway was on his way to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl in this photo. That explains his outfit, but offers no insight into why his wife, Janet, is wearing a tent. 

16.

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    Associated Press

    Date: August 1974

    Pictured: Moses Malone, NBA

    A dapper Moses Malone is pictured here taking media questions after becoming the very first basketball player to go directly from high school into the NBA. 

15.

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Date: January 1972

    Pictured: Larry Csonka & Jim Kiick, Miami Dolphins 

    Former Dolphins teammates screw around with toy pistols outside their hotel in New Orleans. Csonka and Kiick were in town ahead of the Super Bowl. 

14.

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    Associated Press

    Date: April 1974

    Pictured: Julius Erving, New York Nets 

    This is, quite simply, one of the greatest locker room photos of all time. Dr. J is just working it from head-to-toe. The afro, the gold medallion, the turtleneck-sweater combo and the wicked plaid pants are just too amazing for words. Add to that the Harlem Globetrotters basketball spin and it’s like the first time I heard the Beatles

13.

38 of 50

    Dave Pickoff/Associated Press

    Date: February 1974

    Pictured: Joe Namath, New York Jets 

    In the last year of his contract with the Jets, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath lounges on a bed at the swanky Plaza Hotel. The photo-op had to do with an endorsement deal for a line of women’s bed and bath fashions. 

12.

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    Associated Press

    Date: September 1981

    Pictured: Sugar Ray Leonard, Boxer

    No disrespect to Sugar Ray, but the only people who should ever dress like sea captains are actual sea captains. He looks straight-up insane in this getup. 

11.

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Date: April 1979

    Pictured: Lee Corso, Indiana University 

    ESPN’s Lee Corso has been old for so long, it’s hard to imagine he was ever…not old. Corso actually played college ball at Florida State back in the mid 50s and then went on to coach. This photo was taken about five years before he retired from football and made his move to broadcasting. 

10.

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    RF/Associated Press

    Date: April 1975

    Pictured: Walt “Clyde” Frazier, New York Knicks 

    Check out Clyde giving a disapproving stink eye to the inconsiderate mook who decided it was appropriate to grab someone else’s mink coat and rub it against his ample chins. 

9.

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    Marty Lederhandler/Associated Press

    Date: February 1987

    Pictured: Keith Hernandez, New York Mets & Phil McConkey, New York Giants 

    For some unknown reason, these former major leaguers both appeared on the Dr. Ruth Westheimer show together. What I wouldn’t give for a clip of that spectacle. 

8.

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    Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press

    Date: January 1987

    Pictured: Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants 

    Exposed chest hair? Check! Popped collar? Check! Gold chain? Check! Cigar? Check! 

    Giants linebacker LT checked every important box in this photo, taken not long after the team arrived in California for the Super Bowl. 

7.

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    Associated Press

    Date: February 1981

    Pictured: Richard Petty, NASCAR 

    There are few people in the entire length of human history who can hold a candle to Richard Petty's cool. 

6.

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Date: January 1977

    Pictured: Tony Dorsett, University of Pittsburgh 

    Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett turns the idea of business casual on its ear with a dynamite denim suit still echoing through the ages.

5.

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    HC/Associated Press

    Date: July 1970

    Pictured: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    The Hall of Fame Steelers quarterback receives a rubdown from the head trainer at the team’s rookie camp. Hopefully, he enjoyed that youthful glow while it lasted. 

4.

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    Harry Cabluck/Associated Press

    Date: January 1979

    Pictured: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    Here we have Bradshaw again—only nine years later. This photo was taken at the Orange Bowl in Miami, one day before the Steelers beat the Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII. That is one confident man right there. 

3.

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    Associated Press

    Date: January 1977 

    Pictured: Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier & Muhammad Ali, Boxers 

    The AP's caption for this photo says, “No other information available.” No other information needed.

2.

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    Associated Press

    Date: May 1977 

    Pictured: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins 

    The Hall of Fame Bruin absolutely epitomizes the 70s in a brown leisure suit and Bee Gees-inspired shag. 

1.

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    Associated Press

    Date: April 1989

    Pictured: Deion Sanders, Atlanta Falcons 

    As  you can see, Hall of Fame cornerback “Neon" Deion Sanders came into the NFL with as much—if not more—swag than he ultimately left with. He was wearing approximately 30 pounds of gold on draft day.