This article is part of a series that I am starting in order to share some of the great players that I have chosen to collect in my personal collection. NBA "stars" in my opinion go well beyond the Lebron James' and Michael Jordan's. There are players that make an impact on both the game and that players around them that are stars in their own right.
To kick off the series I am focusing on Thomas Bryant, a Center for the Washington Wizards.
UPDATE: I'd like to thank Thomas for a video message sent to me after I published this article (embedded below):
Player to Watch: Thomas Bryant
Thomas Bryant was a rookie just last year when drafted #42 to the Utah Jazz, who soon traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Most of us recognize him in his Laker's uniform because that's what all of the cards have him pictured in from the 2017-18 season.
Bryant fell out of the NBA-public eye, as many rookies do each year do, when he was assigned to the Laker's G League team last year. But unlike so many others, he didn't let that be the end of his story. He worked hard and made a splash in the G League and was named to the All-NBA First Team. Making great moves got him noticed and claimed by the Wizards for the current 2018-19 season.
Starting off the bench on the Wizards, his infections energy and celebration of the team's successes has spread great energy among the team. And it has led to an increase in his playing minutes for the team as well. And as he gets more time on the floor he's able to show not only his energy, but abilities that set him apart. The most significant of which to date was on December 22, 2018 when Bryant shot a perfect game! 14 for 14 shots on the floor for 31 points (the second highest ever shots made without a miss in an NBA game). The last time a perfect game with that many buckets was two decades ago from Gary Payton. And the 14 he got has only ever been surpassed by the legend himself Wilt Chamberlain. Pretty awesome company!
Thomas Bryant is exciting to watch, and someone you want to see win. I've always liked collecting cards and memorabilia from players that were regarded good people, not just good players. And after hearing about the impact Bryant has had on his Washington team, it's clear that he's both. You can catch him "raising the roof" during the games - a throwback to the practice I remember doing myself back in my high school days.
"Siri, show me the best gif of all-time." pic.twitter.com/qbcij834xn— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 31, 2019
The excitement doesn't get much better than this, as you see Bryant raising the roof as teammate Bradley Beal talks with ESPN after the game.
If you are looking to expand your basketball card collection and want to incorporate a player with a lot of future upside potential, Thomas Bryant is a strong choice. He's on his way up, and continues to be himself. The card companies also didn't produce him in as many sets as they did other rookies in the same class like Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell. There are only an estimated 200 different cards/sets/parallels out there of him right now. Here are a few highlights from my collection:
My favorite card in my Thomas Bryant collection to date is this Revolution Lava RC card numbered to just 10. It's a beautiful card and the most limited RC card of him in the gorgeous Revolution set (even more so than the Galactic).