Great 8

BASKETBALL STARS LEFT FROM MY CARD COLLECTING DAYS

I grew up in the 90’s collecting sports cards (regarded by many as the “Golden Age” of sports card collecting). Baseball, football, basketball, whatever. If it came in a pack and I had some coin in my pocket, it was a done deal. And out of the three majors, I collected basketball cards the most. I had a subscription to BECKETT BASKETBALL CARD MONTHLY so I could watch my Vin Baker and Nick Van Exel cards’ value go up and down (and then further down) each month.

And of all the cards of all the players that I collected during my “hay-day”, most of those guys are not playing anymore. They either retired or just couldn’t cut it on an NBA roster anymore. Either way, here are 8 of the guys that I used to collect their cards when I was younger that suited up for an NBA team this season.

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#1 – SHAQUILLE O’NEAL – Shaq’s cards were some of the ones that I would trade away some of my other faves (Shawn Kemp, Chris Webber, Hakeem Olajuwan) to get my hands on. I remember really wanting his Upper Deck rookie card (pictured below). And as a 13 year-old card collector, it was probably 25% for the card’s worth, and 75% for how cool the card itself looked. And after stints in LA, Miami, and Phoenix, we Clevelanders are hoping for one more ring out of the Big Diesel (and maybe then my cards will go back up in value).

Current Team – Cleveland Cavaliers

Team I Remember Him Being On – Orlando Magic

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#2 – ALLEN IVERSON – I didn’t have as many Iverson’s as I did others. But the ones I did get a hold of I would trade for a king’s ransom to my best friend who LOVED Iverson. And even though I wasn’t that into his cards, he was single-handedly responsible for me (and every other 14-year old) spending hours and hours in his driveway trying to do this move.

Current Team – Philadelphia 76ers

Team I Remember Them Being On – Philadelphia 76ers

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#3 – KOBE BRYANT – When I think about collecting Kobe Bryant cards, there is only 1 card that sticks out to me: his Topps Chrome rookie card (pictured below). This was the holy grail of rookie cards and I ripped open way too many Topps Chrome packs in search of this elusive card. I remember looking in my Beckett and seeing that this was worth $400 (at the time) and just knew that I could pull one. Too bad I probably spent about twice that looking for it and all I got was a Keith Van Horn and a Tyrone Hill.

Current Team – Los Angeles Lakers

Team I Remember Him Being On – Los Angeles Lakers

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#4 – GRANT HILL – He came out of Duke and burst onto the scene in Detroit and subsequently into my card collection.  His career was defined/marred by injuries and so his cards were never that expensive (which allowed me to grab a couple).  And if after all that you’re still not sure who Grant Hill is, just watch this video (he makes the in-bounds pass). His Suns are “burning” up the playoffs and showed us against the Blazers that he can still get up and play some “D”.

Current Team – Phoenix Suns

Team I Remember Him Being On – Detroit Pistons

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#5 – JASON KIDD – Not going to lie, never was much of a Jason Kidd fan. I didn’t dislike him or anything, I just didn’t really get that much exposure to him, so I didn’t follow him that closely. I did have a friend who really liked Jamal Mashburn and I had a card with both Kidd and Mashburn on it and so I was able to score some sweet Shawn Kemp cards from him. But give it up for Kidd, unlike some other guys on this list, he’s still making it happen in Dallas (aside from yet again, another early playoff exit). Maybe I should have held onto that card.

Current Team – Dallas Mavericks

Team I Remember Him Being On – Dallas Mavericks

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#6 – KEVIN GARNETT – Now THIS was a guy whose cards I wanted to get my hands on. Despite playing for a mediocre Minnesota Timberwolves team, Garnett would almost always be on SportsCenter’s highlight reel either swatting a shot into the 4th row or dunking over some dude. I remember my friend had this one Garnett that was worth about $25 and I REALLY wanted it (Me – “If it’s worth $25 in 1998, imagine what it will be worth in 2010!”). He cleaned me out of a lot of my good cards, but I got it, and even though he’s a Celtic now (Cavs fan, sorry), I still like watching Garnett play.

Current Team – Boston Celtics

Team I Remember Him Being On – Minnesota Timberwolves

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#7 – TIM DUNCAN – For some reason, I just never collected Tim Duncan cards. I think I might have accidentally gotten some in a pack or something, but I’m sure they were promptly traded. And even though he might not have been as exciting to watch as some other players, the guy has had a great career. But despite all his success as a player, I think this is Captain Personality’s crowning achievement as a professional athlete (and pitch-man).

Current Team – San Antonio Spurs

Team I Remember Them Being On – San Antonio Spurs

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#8 – MARCUS CAMBY – I mostly knew him from his playing days at UMass, but I remember following Camby when he was drafted by the Raptors in ’96. He wasn’t my favorite player or anything, but I kept an eye on the Raptors and he was one of their biggest names (I’m pretty sure I only followed the Raptors because Jurassic Park was one of my favorite movies at the time). He’s established himself as a defensive asset and even now is doing damage to opponents in Portland (even from 15 ft away). Now, if I could only find that rookie card, I could cash it in for my big $1.75 pay day!

Current Team – Portland Trailblazers

Team I Remember Them Being On – Toronto Raptors

Who do you remember? Do you have any fond memories of these guys?

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