I Have Become Obsessed With Basketball Cards

Give me the rock, 3.5 readers.

How the heck did this happen?

Well…about a year and a half ago, I became obsessed with collecting comic books. I suppose that’s a post for another time.

After that I became obsessed with collecting coins. I don’t know if that warrants a post or not.

Then out of a random thought to diversify, I went down the rabbit hole of basketball cards, having been somewhat interested ever since the news reports a couple months ago about how Target had to stop selling cards (from sports to pokemon) because people were getting into fights over them.

My initial reaction was why would people care but apparently, these have become big business.

Part of me is sad about that. When I was a kid, my town had an old, run down movie theater, with a perfectly placed comic book and baseball card shop next door. It was a pretty common past time, for parents to take their kids to a movie then stop in at the collectible store after. Frankly, it’s my last memory of a store of that kind making any money. Pre-internet and in a good location where parents were hard pressed to say no.

I was never into sports, not as a kid, not as an adult. There was a teacher/football coach who really encouraged me to try our for football, but academics were my thing so I passed. In retrospect, sometimes I wish I had. Maybe I would have embraced exercise and built up muscles and cardio at an early age to carry with me through life…but then again with my luck some dumb kid would have knocked me the wrong way and I would have ended up a paraplegic. Yes, my Eeyore-ish ability to talk myself out of doing things for fear of the worst case scenario has existed since childhood.

Anyway, while I was never into sports, I did like stopping in at the shop. Oddly enough, I wasn’t that into comic books either unless they were funny. I was always a humor buff. Sneaking downstairs to watch SNL and at the comic shop, I’d bypass Iron Man, Captain America and so on to grab copies of Mad Magazine.

On occasion, I’d buy packs of baseball cards, not so much out of a love of the game (it was non existent) but from a junior tycoon thought that I’d tuck them away and maybe when I’m an adult, one of those cards would make me a millionaire. (Huh, come to think of it, what did I do with those cards? Damn it, Ma, you just HAD to have a clean house, didn’t you?! What?! Oh, yeah, sure, it’s my fault ‘cuz you warned me 1000 times if I didn’t clean up my room you were just going to go in and throw everything away.)

Sigh. How many collectible fortunes have ended in the junkyard in the name of spring cleaning?

Anyway, if you check the prices, they are ridiculous. We’re talking hundreds, even thousands, in some cases for a single card if the player is popular enough…or in other cases, for a box.

Collectors speculate on cards like brokers speculate on stocks. The key seems to be to try to grab up rookie cards of new, popular players in the hopes that they’ll be the next Jordan or Lebron. It sounds like losses, even big losses are possible. After all, maybe that rookie having a moment now will fizzle out in the future. The game always has players that fans know, but only a handful of athletes per year gain household notoriety. The key is to get that rookie card for that decade defining player. Your algebra teacher doesn’t know random point guards, but in the 80s, they knew Bird and Magic, in the 90s they knew Shaq, in the 2000s they knew Kobe, in the 2010s they knew LeBron.

Anyway, I think like most obsessions this too will fizzle out for me. I’m interested but ultimately can’t afford it. I splurged on a Zion Williamson card and will keep my fingers crossed that this kid will end up a megastar, in movies and everything…so that he can be happy, of course and oh if I could sell my card and buy a summer house in Bermuda that would be a nice bonus.

But that’s it. I had to put my foot down and cut myself off. I can see the potential for people to throw away obscene amounts of money on this and not make a penny in return. They have livestreams where people can buy like, a share of an unopened box, i.e. it’s preagreed that you’ll pay like, some absurd sum and then the box will be opened live on the internet and you’ll be randomly assigned a certain amount of cards from the box. With my luck, I’ll be assigned like, the player who keeps running around backwards, accidentally scoring points for the other team. (Coincidentally, that would have been me if I had played sports, why I never got into it in the first place.)

Anyway, I just wanted to ramble about my latest obsession. I would not advise getting into it. Part of me does feel bad for the kids. I remember when you could get a pack of cards for like a buck and they would come with a stick of bubble gum so hard it would cut your gums, but that’s what kids could afford and you’d put them away…and some kids would dream of becoming sports stars and kids like me would dream of becoming card tycoons…but the point is kids could afford it and now…with these prices kids will be shut out…sad because cards should be for the kids first. (I know I’m a hypocrite because I bought a card at a high price and will lock it away in the hopes it will appreciate like a mutual fund.)

Enough from me. Here’s an unboxing video from KOTQ

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