Since I started collecting back in the mid-90s, my focus has always been on collecting ‘any and all Indiana Pacers cards, past or present’. The mid-to-late 90s Pacers will always hold a special place in my heart and in my basketball card collection. Guys like Mark Jackson, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose, Dale and Antonio Davis, and of course the great Reggie Miller are my favorite players of all-time, and I doubt that will ever change. After that era of Pacer basketball, players like Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, along with lesser-knowns, have come and gone. While exciting to watch, now that these players have moved on, I can’t say I go and regularly look through my collections of these guys like I do the cards of Pacers from the 90s.
How this impacts my collecting habits today? Well instead of collecting any and all Pacers, I’ve found myself shifting my focus to other favorite players not wearing a Pacer uniform, along with the key guys on the current team (currently Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, etc…). And so my Tim Duncan collection has taken off, I’ve added autographs of other greats such as Tony Parker and Paul Pierce to my collection, and I’ve put together small collections of Kevin Durant and Grant Hill. I’m pleased with this shift so far, and while I’ll always collect the Pacers, I won’t have to look back in 10 years and try to remember how I ended up with so many cards of Ike Diogu or Shawne Williams. Plus, I’ll still have these guys covered in my All-Time Pacers autograph collection.
With all that said, I’ve picked up some recent Duncan inserts to add to the collection. Pretty excited about the Star Power Plus in particular.
After losing in six games to the Thunder in what may have been the most entertaining series of the playoffs, the question comes up- are the Spurs, as they are currently assembled, done as a serious title-threat going forward? Tim Duncan becomes a free-agent, although both sides have basically accepted Duncan is a Spur-for-life. The core continues to age while the Thunder grow into their collective prime. Durant is amazingly only 23.
The Spurs have always been a favorite of mine to watch- they can seemingly plug in young unknowns (Gary Neal, James Anderson, Danny Green, etc…) and disposed-of veterans not producing on former teams (Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson), and these guys will step in and produce. It is the San Antonio way. It is the Greg Popovich way. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Spurs in contention. In a shortened season where the older teams were supposed to struggle, the Spurs posted the league’s best record. Who says they can’t contend again next year, using the same formula? The key pieces will be back, along with emerging young star Kawhi Leonard.
Who knows if the Spurs can stop the emerging Thunder (and potential defending champ?) in the next few years. The fan in me isn’t ready for the breakup of the Spurs, or the end of Duncan’s career. I also wouldn’t bet against Duncan or Popovich.