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For the Love of Basketball - March Madness

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

March Madness. Yearly March is one of the most exciting months for basketball fans. This year March madness has been amazing, exciting, and entertaining to watch both the women's and men's basketball brackets. As I write this article, I am excited for the final four brackets to start this weekend as we head into April. I am looking forward to the matchups of the women's bracket, the defending champions and undefeated South Carolina versus Iowa, and the other matchup is LSU versus Virginia Tech. The men's final four brackets are Florida Atlantic versus San Diego State, and the other matchup is Miami versus UConn.

There is something special about watching an athlete early in their careers, high school and college. The joy you see on their faces while playing, the love and passion you see them play with, and the willingness to leave everything they have on the floor, is something truly to love. It's an honor to watch athletes perform their talents at the highest level they can, with much respect for each of them.

You see the progression athletes make within their game over the years. I started to think about the collector's progression of collecting player's cards. When does the collecting journey of a player start? How does that journey begin? What moment sparked the thought to want to collect a player's cards?

Beginning your collecting journey of an athlete during the early stages of their playing career can be an exceptional collecting experience. The memories of the moments you see in real-time of the athlete you are collecting - followed by getting their cards for your collection can be incredible. Just wishful thinking - maybe in the Jetsons world - where we could almost instantly have a card printed on-site or within days mailed to us, wishful thinking. Just think about the possibilities of being able to capture moments in an art form in the palm of your hand, as close to real-time as possible, and remembering moments like the Villanova men's championship-winning shot by Kris Jenkins in 2016 or the Notre Dame women's championship-winning shot by Arike Ogunbowale in 2018. It would be amazing to have a card of those game-winning shots and a piece of history in the palm of your hand.

The ties between watching sports and collecting truly intertwine more than people realize. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards basketball shooting pose photos of cards for players like, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson because it ties to all the years of memories I have watching these players play. I started watching Stephen Curry during his college years at Davidson, and watching him play then was just as special as watching him play now. I also gravitate toward cards of players dribbling, like Allen Iverson and Kyrie Irving. AI's crossover is all that and a bag of chips; his crossover was so mean that anytime I say or hear crossover, I automatically think about AI. If you look up the definition of Basketball Handles in the dictionary, Kyrie Irving's picture would be next to it. Watching Kyrie handle the rock is like watching your favorite movie; it never gets old, and it's always good.

But for most college athletes during this stage of their careers, very few cards are available. They typically are a Sports Illustrated for Kids card or a non-licensed card, which tend to be less popular for collectors. Collectors often have to wait until the player's first licensed rookie card is released to start their player collection. Personally, I do enjoy collecting Sports Illustrated for Kids cards, and the non-licensed cards have grown on me. Now with NIL, we will continue to see more availability of collegiate player's cards. Enjoy the finals for March Madness, and Love What You Collect Always.

Peace and Love

Erica Massenburg

@Love What You Collect

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