Pokemon’s first generation kicked off a worldwide phenomenon spanning video games, movies, and even a trading card game. Twenty years ago, illusionist and psychic Uri Geller sued Nintendo for roughly $80 million, stating that the design for Kadabra, which was inspired by Geller, used iconography reminiscent of that used by the Nazi party in World War 2. Following the lawsuit, Nintendo was banned from printing Kadabra on Pokemon cards, and hasn’t done so for two decades. Now, Uri Geller has lifted the twenty-year ban, restoring Nintendo’s right to use the character in future productions.
Uri Geller posted to social media about his change of heart over the holiday weekend. “I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago. Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to #Nintendo to bring my #kadabra #pokemon card back. It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all,” he shared.
I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago. Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to #Nintendo to bring my #kadabra #pokemon card back.— Uri Geller (@TheUriGeller) November 28, 2020
It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all!https://t.co/Rv1aJFlIKS pic.twitter.com/5zDMX5S8WA
Kadabra is the middle evolution for Abra, preceding Alakazam. In its design, Kadabra holds two mental spoons, bent at the top. This design is directly inspired by Uri Geller, as the illusionist is known for his ability to bend metal spoons via a unique trick. The name even translates to “Yungeller” in Japanese. It wasn’t this that rubbed Uri Geller the wrong way, but rather the lines on the psychic Pokemon’s body, which he thought were indicative of German SS imagery.
Twenty years later, and the Pokemon trading card game is still wildly popular. With the ban finally lifted, it’ll be interesting to see when and how Nintendo decides to use Kadabra moving forward. Nintendo is quite familiar with legal disputes and rights issues, as we just saw the company file a cease and desist on a major Smash Bros. tournament. For more topical news and updates, stick with Shacknews.
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Uri Geller lifts 20-year ban on Nintendo's right to print Kadabra on Pokemon cards