Looking at cards not only brings back memories of specific seasons, games, or plays, it can also remind us of different times in our lives.
Three cards made their way to my mailbox recently, each from different eras in my collecting history, and also three different eras in my life.
Arena Vision is a set I don’t specifically recall seeing when the set came out during the 2000-01 season, but I’ve now added two recently, the first being a Jalen Rose a few months back. The three major card companies were all pumping out great products. The Spurs were in the early stages of what many consider a dynasty. They’d won their first NBA Championship a few years prior, and were about to win three out of the next five starting in 2003.
In 2000 and 2001 I was in early high school, and my collecting was about to really ramp up. I was all over collecting message boards like The Bench, Sports Card Forum, and Hobby Insider, and mostly building my collection that way, along with trading with one of my best friends. I also started going to local and regional card shows with my Dad. I usually ended up finding great Pacers that I didn’t already have at these shows, and I really looked forward to them. I’ve always been a dollar box digger at card shows and when stopping at shops. Definitely where I find the most enjoyment.
Next up, the early Panini era. Past & Present needs to make a comeback. What a well executed set in the two years it existed, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it would be a hit if it came back. The designs are phenomenal and they are great for in person autographs as well. No reason this couldn’t be another lower end release. The Treads insert set is a large one at 35 cards, but that’s another reason to love it. Team collectors are more likely to get representation. Other insert sets were even larger.
Looking at my collecting history, I was a few years into this website, and was heading into a period where I stopped collecting mostly altogether for several years. That makes this fun to go back into that period and pick up cards of my favorite players that I missed. I opened a box of 2011-12 Past & Present, but mostly missed the 2012-13 release.
Personally, I had just met my to-be wife in late 2012, and while she’s always supported my hobbies, and I have several of them, card collecting took a backseat during this time in my life. I’m sure others can relate.
Fast forward to what most consider the ultra-modern card era. Court Kings is a product I always enjoy, although the box prices are out of my price range for the number of cards included. This Points in the Paint insert from 2018-19 is well done. The right border colors fit in nicely with the rest of the card, and you have early career Devin Booker looking up at Duncan going to the basket, almost in awe of the all-time great. That means this photo comes from Duncan’s final season and Booker’s first, and I think I’ve narrowed it down to the specific play in the first quarter from this game.
After a resurgence in my collecting and blogging activity in 2017, I had another period away from the hobby in 2018 and 2019. Not the best time to be away since I missed out on the Tatum/Luka rookie class, but it gives me another opportunity to go back and discover what I missed, insert-wise, which is always my collecting sweet spot.
Which era of collecting do you prefer? What was happening with your favorite teams and players that made that time memorable?