Archive for Basketball
Earlier today Jason Collins made the brave announcement through Sports Illustrated that he is gay. And while there have been a bevy of stories written about how the first gay athlete to come out in the big four of American sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) would likely earn millions in endorsements, that doesn’t seem to be what Collins is after. In fact, right now he is currently a free-agent, just looking to sign with a team next season. His decision to make this announcement comes on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombings where seeing how quickly life could be taken reinforced his decision to come out now to, “live truthfully.”
His story is a very compelling one and definitely worth reading, but then comes the question for our industry, “What does this historic announcement mean for Jason Collins collectibles?”
Collectors love “firsts” in sports, but how will they respond to this story, especially considering Collins is an athlete at the tail-end of his career? Stories like this where an athlete that hasn’t been very collectible in the past and suddenly jumps to national prominence frequently cause collectors to go back through common cards from that athlete’s rookie season (in Jason Collins’ case that would be 2001-02). At this time there is very little in the market for his collectible cards from that year online sites like eBay and Amazon, but that will likely change by the end of the week.
Will his rookie cards become $1000 collectibles? Most likely not, but this courageous announcement will likely give them a shot in the arm and create renewed interest in them. There will undoubtedly be fans that see Collins as a source of inspiration and would like to have a collectible of not just the player, but the man.
For those fans interested in Jason Collins rookie collectibles, here is just a small gallery of cards to be on the lookout for from 2001-02 NBA Upper Deck and Fleer brands.
Everyone knows about what Upper Deck was doing out at the Final Four in Atlanta, but what most basketball fans don’t realize is there was a much more exciting competition taking place underground in Carlsbad, California.
Lunchtime at Upper Deck Headquarters has been a little stressful this March as most employees took part in an athletic competition the likes of which can only come along once a year; the Upper Deck Collegiate Sports March Madness Mini-Basketball Pop-A-Shot Challenge™ or the “UDCSMMMBPAS” for short.
And today we saw the field of 78 shrink all the way down to just two fiery competitors as Justin “I Hate Graphic Requests” Schmunk from our Pre-Press group took on Drew “I Hate Redemption Cards” Mills from the Athlete Relations team. The last lunchtime challenge took place in front of a full house today in the employee lounge which was transformed to Upper Deck Stadium for this memorable event. Take a look at who took home the championship (and lunch for their respective department) in this heated contest:
They have become two of the best coaches in the nation and it is only fitting that Jim Boeheim and John Beilein find themselves pitted against each other in what is sure to be a very exciting Final Four match-up. Syracuse has the defense and Michigan has the shooters, so this one may come down to coaching.
Upper Deck is the only trading card manufacturer that ponied up to sign both Jim Boeheim and John Beilein to trading card deals. If the winner of this game was going to be determined by demand for those cards, Jim Boeheim and Syracuse would be the big victor over John Beilein and Michigan. While both have impressive coaching resumes, collectors find Boeheim more desirable and Upper Deck has worked hard to provide an impressive line-up of premium autograph cards of the Syracuse head coach.
Also available are some limited dual signed cards with Jim Boeheim and other top college coaches. Take a look at some of these:
John Beilein on the other hand will surely rise to prominence and higher demand with collectors after this impressive run in the tournament. The good thing for Michigan collectors is that there are not a lot of his cards out there right now and they are all reasonably priced. With the Michigan Wolverines on the upswing, now is definitely the time to buy on Beilein.
As a young kid I remember playing basketball on the driveway for hours saying in my best broadcaster voice, “5 seconds on the clock, down by 1, Carlin with the fade-away jumper, good if it goes…” CLANK!!! I’d retrieve the ball and run the sequence all over again. Today not much has changed. I still love pretending I’m making that game winning shot, but am well aware my dreams of making the pros were just a dream. And having my own basketball card? That seemed like something that could never happen.
This week in Atlanta for the Final Four however, Upper Deck is making dreams come true for the fans who visit Bracket Town and the Georgia World Congress Center by creating their very own personalized Upper Deck cards. Fans have been loving this opportunity to strike a pose and see their one-of-a-kind collectible made within minutes courtesy of UD. Many have been sharing images of their “rookie” cards via Twitter and Instagram as the show got underway this week.
Upper Deck is the only manufacturer that brings these types of experiences to fans around the nation on the show circuit and it is a lot of fun to bring trading cards to life with potential collectors. Take a gander at how these personalized cards look:
This may be our favorite thus far. The cool thing is you don’t know if he may grow up to be the next LeBron James so this card could potentially be priceless. But either way, it already will be to his family.
Speaking of dreams coming true, even Upper Deck’s mascot Coach Cardman is getting into the act. Today he had a tryout with the Harlem Globetrotters at Bracket Town. Based on how well Coach Cardman’s hockey tryout went however, we’re not holding out much hope for his chances of making the team.
The Miami Heat winning streak captured huge media attention around the globe. When would it end we all asked, but the Heat just kept on winning and winning until finally the unthinkable happened. They lost. A remarkable 27 wins in a row before falling to the Chicago Bulls on that road 101-97.
And at the center of it all was LeBron James who many believe locked up his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award during this memorable streak. Upper Deck had a signing session with “King James” the day after the streak ended to have a variety of new memorabilia items and trading cards signed for upcoming releases.
Check out some of the cool images from what got signed by LeBron:
There were a couple items that were extremely cool, like this selection of game-used shoes from the streak:
And then these two promotional posters that LeBron James added some really meaningful quotes to. It seems that even after the streak came to an end, LeBron is focused on his ultimate goal of winning more titles.