My name is Jon and I'm the Basketball Card Guy. A lot of people have asked about who I am, and how I got started collecting basketball cards. So here's a brief summary:
My Start in Card Collecting
I've been passionate about collecting basketball cards since I was a teenager in the 90's. But my introduction to card collecting started before that, when my father gave me his 1959-63 baseball cards from when he was a kid. Going through them, learning about the players, organizing and putting them in cases– I just got hooked.
But even though I had these great vintage baseball cards, my true passion was basketball. And my favorite player: Michael Jordan. I remember watching Jordan on TV and eventually got to see him play in New Jersey against the Nets - scoring what was a career high that night. The plays he made and the Bulls team he defined made collecting basketball cards exciting.
I also happened to be collecting in the hay day of inserts– cards that were special in some way and not put into every pack. Instead they were "inserted" into random packs at specific odds. Inserts were my favorite thing to collect, as the cards all employed specialized technologies from holograms to die-cutting, 3-D lenticular printing, and even laser cutting. Each insert was a work of art and basketball had one of the largest saturations of different inserts you could find.
Building My Collection & My First Card Job
So before social media, and in the early days of websites, I started to build my collection by going to trade nights at a local high school, attending card shows at the Westchester County Center (New York), and visiting local card shops. When I was 14 years old, with working papers in hand, I landed my first real employment at a card store that had just opened up. The store was in a local mall and the owner of the store was soon trusting me to not only work in the store, but to operate it alone, and close it up at night. It was a lot of responsibility for a 14-year old, but I rose to the challenge and it was something I really enjoyed doing. It was an amazing learning experience that really showed me all ends of the card business and strategies for collecting.
Learning Marketing in College
I went off to college and studied media and marketing and had internships in interactive media and web design. I brought what I was learning there back to cards by building websites for card stores and eventually creating my own proprietary databasing system through which I have catalogued my entire collection. I've always found a way to bring my passion of card collecting into the advancements I was making in business. Basketballcardguy.com is my first personal jump into e-commerce, and it's a way to trim down my personal collection and share it with other collectors out there.
Always a Hobby Over a Business
Even though I learned the card business early, it has always been a hobby first to me– and still remains that way today. I've met a lot of guys that were just in it for the money and I just felt like they were missing the point. I've always bought and traded for cards I personally loved and have found that many people have the same tastes. I always say that if you are buying something love it you can't go wrong with it.
I also tell people that if you are looking at cards as purely an investment you are looking in the wrong place. You should invest in something you enjoy having. The great thing about cards over stocks is that if you like them, you actually have something physical in hand while you are invested in them. But if you don't get a thrill out of having a game used jersey or an autograph from a star player, then you are probably much better off in real estate or some other investment area that you might get more enjoyment out of.
My Personal Collection
My main personal collection is still Michael Jordan, but I do collect other players as well. Please visit my want list to see what I'm looking for if you are looking to sell or trade. I have over 4,000 Michael Jordan cards including some of his most sought after autographed cards, patches and jerseys, as well as his 1986 Fleer Rookies. I used to love breaking open packs, back when they were just $2-$3 each. I still remember the day I pulled a Michael Jordan Hot Shots out of Flair- a beautiful die cut flame card. I still have the card to this day.
I also collect Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Thomas Bryant cards. For a time I was also a Chauncy Billups Super Collector, collecting his main rookies as well as exquisite autographed patch cards.
I'm Always Accessible & Willing to Help Fellow Collectors
I receive countless messages from new collectors every day via email, and on social media. I hear from people wanting to learn the value of cards that they have, and others itching to get into the industry and want some advice. So don't be a stranger! I'm happy to talk or message with anyone so please feel free to reach out if you want to and I'll do my best to get back to you ASAP.
If you are a member of the media looking to schedule an interview with me please use the contact form to do so.