Archive for basketball

First Warriors game offers excitement, victory

Posted in Dad Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Eight years old. So many questions. So eager to experience the sport live.

That was me in 1988 when my father took me to my first Major League Baseball game. It was in Oakland and the Athletics hosted the Baltimore Orioles that day. I can remember generally the events of the night. But it would be years before I could appreciate the intricacies of the game.

Oddly enough that age and description is also true of my son, who last night got to experience his first Golden State Warriors game. I grew up a baseball fan but enjoyed the other sports.  My son seemingly has taken a liking to basketball, and who can blame him.  It’s easy to be a kid who gets swept up in a sport that everyone in this area talks about because the local team has been the best team in three of the last four seasons.

I told my son about a month ago that I had purchased tickets for us to go see Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durrant and Draymond Green play – remember, this was before Demarcus Cousins was actually scheduled to debut, so he really hadn’t heard of him.

As we got closer to the date, he kept asking about the game, and increasingly paid more attention to the games as we watched on television.  Then last week he told me that he already had his outfit picked out, one consisting of a Steph Curry shirt, some Warriors sweatpants, and a pair of Curry Under Armour shoes.

His thirst for this one single game really tugged at my heart strings. I’m a divorcing father of two, a boy and a girl.  The kids are quickly approaching the tween years, and I am pushing 40 in less than 18 months.  I’m not going to call it a mid-life crisis, but there has been an emphasis for me to make memories with the kids, especially as it pertains to stuff I know … which is this case is sports.

I watch games with them; I include them in much of my card shop trips, and try to take them to as many baseball games as I can during the summer time.  But this Warriors game was special because the damn tickets are pricey, and for the first time it was not I who was asking to go to a game – it was my son.

We woke Sunday morning, Feb. 10, 2019, and one of the first things my son asked was if we could go to the card shop before going to the Warriors game … because he wanted to look at basketball cards.  And later that day we headed to Oakland and got to the arena about 10 minutes before the doors opened to the facility. We stood in line with thousands of others, and once we got into Oracle Area, we basically went straight to our seats so we could watch the players warm up.

There was DeMarcus Cousins shooting three pointers with the hood of his black sweatshirt pulled over his head.  And moments later came Steph Curry taking jumpers both inside the arc, and even half way between the arc and the half court line. Later Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant took the floor, takings shots all over the court.  This was not only my son’s first time seeing the Warriors, it was MY first time seeing this version of the Warriors. I’ve only been to a handful of Golden State games over the years and have not seen them since 2005, a night in which the Warriors hosted Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.  And every time I had seen the team before this time with my son, I had seats in the upper level. On this night with my boy, we were 18 rows from the court, behind the north basket. So this was a sort of “firsts” for both of us.

The game started slow pace for the Warriors as the Miami Heat took a commanding lead early, causing my son to look at me like he was a bit worried.  At one point Golden State was down 19. I leaned over and told him I was worried too, but explained that Golden State could easily close this gap because they have so many good players.

And that’s what happened. Golden State cut it to 10; and then had it down to 5 at halftime. GSW then took an 8-point lead through three quarters, setting up a fun final quarter in which Miami would close the gap and re-take the lead on the back of Josh Richardson who scored 37 points. The Heat even had the lead in the final moments of the game after stellar play by Dwayne Wade, who was playing his last game in Oracle Arena.  In the end, though, the Warriors triumphed after Cousins hit a pair of free throws in the final minute and Golden State’s defense helped prevent Miami from scoring a tying bucket as the buzzer sounded.

The game was close, but it made for an exciting fourth quarter which had my son smiling all the way to the car. The look on his face is one I won’t soon forget.

It was a great experience. We saw Curry hit — and miss — multiple three pointers; watched Durant dominate at times; witnessed Klay hit big three pointers at each end of the court, and watched Cousins and Green both play their brand of gritty basketball. And we got to see an NBA Legend in Wade make his final trip through Oakland.

Hopefully this game was the first of many he and I can attend. But unlike baseball, basketball games are much more expensive these days – the price I paid for the two tickets (plus parking) was about as much as I had spent on my Game Five 2018 World Series tickets. That financial hit makes it tough to get out to a mid-season game.

They have NBA Prizm where?!

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As a kid, it was not uncommon to run down to the corner store, whether it be an independent liquor store or a 7-Eleven and find sports cards for sale.

Hell, it was at 7-Eleven stores that I had two of my best pulls, a 2002 Topps Heritage Willie Mays auto relic, and a 2001 Upper Deck Hall of Famers Walter Johnson cut Autograph — the latter of which I sold and helped get me through a year of college.

But times have changed, and cards at these stores have pretty much disappeared.

So imagine my reaction when I picked up my kids Wednesday night from their moms house and stopped at 7-Eleven to buy some milk and saw this …

That is a TON of retail Prizm and Hoops … and at the same price you’d find it at Target, which is only a mile down the road.

I had the urge to clear the shelf … but I resisted. My son and I opened a fair amount of both Prizm and Hoops, and are working on the sets.

And so I walked away, but that sight is likely one I’ll never see again. I am curious though if this particular store will be selling cards going forward, or if this franchise decides to sell these since Warriors players Stephen Curry and Kevin Durrant are in the wrappers — I do live in the GSW market.

For what it’s worth, I have not seen cards at any other 7-Elevens recently.

Thrift Treasures 113: Circumstantial Evidence

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today I will show you evidence that even in 2018, anything is possible when it comes to thrift stores.

Please direct your attention to the photographs shown here as they depict the evidence — the circumstantial evidence — that led to the purchase of the “Treasure Chest” brought forth in the previous case of Thrift Treasures.

The bag in which these items are contained is not original to these collectibles. It is a Wal-Mart brand food storage container used by a Goodwill in San Jose, Calif., to hold these cards for sale. The cards themselves, as you can see, are at least two decades old, some of them three decades.

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss this bag as containing commons — items no one would want. But a closer look reveals that some of the commons are 1985 Chong Modesto Athletics minor league cards, about 20 of which bear the signatures of the player or coach pictured.

While most of these guys never made it to the Majors, the fact that their signed cards exist, and that they were saved from a trash can, is a amazing. The basic set is best-known for housing an early Mark McGwire. However there was no McGwire to be found.

Here are the signed cards:

Twayne Harris // Paul Bradley // Kevin Stock

Jim Jones // Steve Howard (MLB) // Oscar De Chavez

Stan Hilton // Dave Wilder // Damon Farmar

Antonio Cabrera// Doug Scherer // Bob Loscalzo

Joe Strong (MLB Debut at age 37 in 2000 – Marlins) // Eric Garrett // Allan Heath

Mike Fulmer // Kevin Coughlon // Jim Eppard (MLB Debut, at age 27 in 1987 – Angels)

Pete Kendrick // George Mitterwald (Spent parts of 10 seasons in MLB) // Joe Odom

There also were a handful of unsigned A’s minor league cards …

One of the first cards I actually noticed when I picked up the bag was a 1985 Topps Tim Belcher Rookie Card which is signed in ballpoint one and personalized “To John, All The Best!” Belcher was a solid MLBer who spent 14 seasons in the Majors. He placed third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1988, and sixth in Cy Young voting, both seasons with the Dodgers.  He won 15 games three times during his career.

In addition to these cards, there was a partial set of these 1987 Fleer Award Winners — including this Tony Gwynn card, which is epic for two reasons: First — he’s wearing a single earbud.

And Secondly …

Made you look!

The remainder of the bag contained little more than commons. But there was a nice flashback when mixed in with the newer press lock baggies was this old school — thinking 1990/1991-ish — nearly full pack of penny sleeves. I’m not sure about you, but seeing the original packaging on supplies from the junk wax era brings about all sorts of memories. In my case, I distinctly remember rummaging through a relative’s bedroom for coins so that I could secure my first pack of soft sleeves.

Speaking of nostalgia, within this food storage bag there were two of these “Sports Card Collector’s Guide” books that give a very broad over view of collecting in the early 1990s. These things were all over the place, usually packaged with what we would equate to a card collector’s starter kit usually sold at retailers like Toys R Us.

The items within this food storage bag aren’t worth a ton, but certainly they are worth more than the  price tag. And when you consider that they were found with the aforementioned Treasure Chest, they certainly added value as circumstantial evidence for the purchase of the box, which as I noted in my previous post, had contents unknown to me at the time of purchase.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $3.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

What’s in that box? “Basketball Floor Box” edition

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

By now if you’re a frequent visitor of the sports card aisle at Target you’ve seen these not-so-fancy looking repack boxes distributed by Fairfield. The boxes show you a piece of wood and boast that the lumber is a piece of game-used floor from the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.

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For $12.99 you get a piece of floor, three packs, a memorabilia card, a Kevin Durant rookie, and a pack of Teenymates. I’m not a basketball collector really, but I will say that the floor piece intrigued me. The Target I was at had two of these boxes, one of these had a plain piece of wood and the other had a two-tone piece that appeared to have some paint on it. I decided that I was intrigued enough to buy it and bring this post to you to share what was inside.

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We’ll start with the wood.  Funny enough when I opened the box the wood tumbled into my hand and I immediately thought it was a piece of a train track from my son’s toy bin. I wondered if there was any stamp of authenticity, but there was none.  Instead I later found in the box a small folded COA that spells out that the floor is from the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.  The COA references “nbalab.com” which is Web site I’d never heard. And even to this day if you type up the address, you get a stale home screen, the words “Coming Soon” in the corner, and some verbiage about what the site hopes to bring to the world. In short, I’m still not sure if there is a direct association with the NBA other than the use of the logo and the three initials in the name. What does this mean about the authenticity? Got me. I guess if we have questions we can just e-mail Bill, as it says on the COA. Personally, I’ll take it for what it appears to be: A unique piece of wood purported to be from the NBA all-star game and from the court on which legend Kobe Bryant played. What’s it worth?  Less than $12.99.

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My memorabilia card came in the form of a 2008-09 Upper Deck Ben Gordon white swatch, which feels like some sort of patch and not your basic fabric. That’s a win … I suppose.

The Durant rookie is a 2007-08 Topps Retail factory Set Orange exclusive. They can be had for about $4 on COMC.com … if they were mint, which this one is not due to the fact that it bounced around inside the package.

My three packs actually surprised me as two of them were 2014-15 Prizm retail. I was fully expecting three 1990-91 Hoops packs. Only one of those Hoops packs made it into this box and both Prizm packs had Prizm parallels, which is a win I suppose. The Hoops pack was what you’d expect — a bit of a memory flashback from when I was a kid. And while not much of anything in that set is worth anything, I did get a Michael Jordan base card, which is always fun to see.

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I’ll spare your time with the Teenymates. Move along, nothing to see there.

Would I buy another? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should buy one if the piece of purported floor intrigues you.

Cardboard bucket list item acquired; Welcome Michael Jordan auto

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  
 There are few players who played their respective sport at the level at which Michael Jordan did. And when it comes to the hobby, there is probably no other name who commands the premium that Jordan does.

When it comes to Jordan, I never tried to compete with other collectors to get his cards. Yes, I own his 1986-87 Fleer rookie.   

I own his Nike postcard “rookie”  

I also recently added a Gem Mint 1994 Collector’s Choice baseball rookie to my collection.  

I also own a dual-relic baseball card.  

But the one glaring hole in my collection — not just Jordan collection, but my entire card collection — has been a Jordan autograph.

Well, that problem has been solved.

Let me introduce you to my newest addition. The latest bucket list card marked off the list. Here is the 2013-14 UD Black “Old School” Michael Jordan autograph, limited to just 23 copies.  

Jordan autographs are readily available, but they are pricey.  And they come in so many variations that I wanted to make sure that when I acquired one it was one I actually wanted to hold onto.

The price point for this one was on par with what one would expect to pay for a Jordan auto. And while I would have preferred a Bulls card (always two to three times what I paid for this one) or a White Sox card (doesn’t exist) this on-card example is far superior to the signed floor cards that are all over the market.

And so, my Jordan auto has arrived and taken its place in my collection. It might be times to settle down on the big purchases and start purging again, just as I did in 2010 after I acquired my 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card.

Thrift Treasures 82: Bill Walton auto w HOF inscription for $2.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , on February 27, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Bill Walton’s autograph is lot a tough one to obtain. Many times the hall of Famer’s autograph can be had for under $20.

Well, today I found one for the price of a retail pack. This is a signed first-edition book that was released in 1994.

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Total cost of this treasure: $2.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 75: 100 parallels for $2.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

One thing I really enjoyed about the Ultra brand produced by Fleer during the 1990s and 2000 was the parallel cards. I really enjoyed the gold and platinum parallels of the base set. If for no other reason that some of them in the early 2000 were die-cut. So, imagine my delight when I walked into a thrift store today and located a baggie of 100 2000 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion Parallels for the low price of $2.99.

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Sounds great, right? Now what if I told you these were not just any Ultra Gold Medallion parallels. They were WNBA Ultra parallels. OK, I just lost 95 percent of the audience.

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Like many of you, I have almost zero interest in women’s basketball. I’m not knocking it, I’m just saying I don’t watch it. But there are a few names that have stuck with me over the years, and as it just so happened, three of them were in this lot: Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and Chamique Holdsclaw.

For fun I decided to use the Beckett Online Price Guide to see what this lot “books” at. Yes, I realize that “book value” has lots its footing in the hobby, but I still find it useful at times, and in this case for entertainment value.

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The Swoops and Holdsclaw cards were the highest valued ones with a high book of $8 while the Leslie was tagged at $5.  My entire lot of 100 cards? High book of $219.75. Boo-Yah! (Some sarcasm here.)

What’s interesting to think is that someone who owned these cards before me had to buy multiple boxes of this product to acquire this many parallels.  I mean they were released one per pack. And the packs were probably in the $2.49-$3.50 range at the time. Think on that for a bit.

Total cost for these treasures: $2.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE