A quick trip around the wide world of sports, delivered fresh with a dash of collectibles insight.

Burrowing in for the draft

After the NFL announced the 2020 NFL Draft would be taking place virtually, GMs and other high-ranking team personnel are forced to deal with a harrowing new reality: selecting future franchise cornerstones without the benefit of a full pre-draft process. Future titles, careers and fortunes are on the line while, at the same time, projecting future performance is more difficult than ever.

Outside of the first overall pick, unanimously expected to be LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow en route to Cincinnati, the rest of the first round and beyond are wide open. How early will the top QB’s go? At least one mock draft is predicting a QB-trifecta at the top, with Oregon senior Justin Herbert coming off the board second followed by Alabama junior Tua Tagovailoa. That would be a dream scenario for the New York Giants, who could see Chase Young, the consensus top defender in the draft—and arguably number one overall talent—fall into their lap.

While the Giants also have a glaring need at offensive tackle to maximize high first-round investments in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, it’s tough to see a defensive unit that gave up the third most points in the NFL last year passing on a generational edge rusher. If Young is snapped up in the top three, as most mock drafts predict, Clemson jack-of-all-trades linebacker Isaiah Simmons looks like the type of consolation prize at #4 who could help New York fans forget they were even in the running for Young. New Giants head coach Joe Judge should be salivating at the thought of either Pro Bowl-level talent lining up against opposing offenses whenever the NFL returns to action.

Market watch: Not only is Burrow adept at holding onto the football on the field—he turned the ball over only seven times to go with a FBS single-season record 60 passing touchdowns and five rushing scores—the Heisman Trophy winner and national champion also knows a thing or two about holding onto valuable collectibles. Burrow was seen walking off the field with the football used for the final play of LSU’s win over Clemson, a piece of memorabilia worth over $100,000, according to one auction house. Yet another reason Burrow was seen smoking a victory cigar after completing a dream senior season. We’d say he earned a few good puffs.

Collect ‘em All

The sports stories that caught our eye, so delightfully snackable you won’t miss your train stop (or morning ZOOM call).

The certainty of uncertainty

Exactly how will the coronavirus pandemic affect the collectibles industry? Much like every other industry, only time will tell, with too many unknown variables right now. At this definitively early stage—even though it feels like we’ve been in quarantine forever already—there are far more questions than answers.

A nostalgic escape

You could argue sports collectibles have never had a more important role to fill in the hearts and minds of sports fans hungering for connection to their favorite pastimes and an escape from the daily news cycle. It’ll be fascinating to track how the behavioral changes necessitated by a global crisis extend throughout and beyond the timeline of social distancing. Will the future of the collectibles market arrive sooner than expected?

Straight from the source

Just getting into trading cards as a hobby or investment class? Here’s the skinny on card grading and valuation, straight from the most trusted authentication service around.

H-O-R-S-E for hunger

The sports world continues to rally in support of those suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with sports icons donating experiences to fight hunger. How could you pass up a chance to follow in Conan O’Brien’s footsteps in a game of H-O-R-S-E against Magic Johnson? Or witness your best friend getting obliterated by Shaquille O’Neal in a 3-on-3 pickup game with you and four friends, all for a good cause? If you have a carton of spare cash lying around, of course.

All hail the King

If you have yet another wad of disposable income lying around, you have until May 16 to bid on a jersey 18-year-old LeBron James wore in his 5th and 8th games ever as a pro, including his first matchup against eventual championship teammate Dwayne Wade. Rumor has it the jersey could break the $630,300 record set for a basketball jersey…by you guessed it, King James himself. The 2003 Cavs uni has a long way to climb if it hopes to top the $900,000 price tag fetched by a 1-of-1 2003-2004 Upper Deck “Exquisite Collection” card with NBA logo patches from Michael Jordan and James’ jerseys, said to be the most expensive basketball card ever. It was a good run while it lasted, Lew Alcindor, whose 1969-1970 Topps card sold for just over $500K in 2016.

Running to the bank

So much for running backs not getting paid. That is, if you classify Panthers Swiss Army knife Christian McCaffrey as a RB. The newly-minted Pro Bowler went from elite to transcendent in 2019, piling up an eye-popping 2,392 all-purpose yards including 116 receptions for over 1,000 yards. Yeah, the man deserved to become the highest paid “running back” in league history.

Lou Lou Lovin’

With all this extra time on our hands, you might be wondering who the best player on each MLB team was in the 1990’s. OK, maybe you weren’t—that’s besides the point. Well, here’s one writer’s list. Or maybe you’re more interested in the all-time best C, 1B, 2B or 3B for each team.

Market watch: A nearly century-old bat from Yankees 1B legend Lou Gehrig, nicknamed “Bat Zero,” just sold at auction for north of $1 million. The seven-figure piece of lumber isn’t the top of Gehrig’s collectibles market, however. One of four jerseys The Iron Horse wore during the 1937 season, his last MVP-caliber campaign before succumbing to ALS—a disease that would later be named for him—sold in August 2019 for an eye-popping $2.58 million.

No mobility, no problem

Why exactly did Tom Brady slip to the sixth round, pick 199, in the 2000 NFL draft? Hindsight in 20/20, my friend. 20 years later, Mel Kiper Jr. republished his scouting report, a mostly positive assessment that questioned whether Brady’s “lack of mobility could surface as a problem” at the pro level. Nine Super Bowls, six rings, four Super Bowl MVPs and three NFL MVPs later, we’d say the new Bucs QB’s 5.24 40-yard dash was about as irrelevant as he made Drew Bledsoe in New England.

Dancin’ with MJ

Tick, tock. The wait for The Last Dance, premiering this Sunday, is almost over. If you needed another reason to tune into the monumentally anticipated 10-part Michael Jordan documentary on ESPN (9 p.m. ET), a refresher on what made MJ the greatest scorer of his generation might just push you over the edge.

Collectable Kobe

As is the case for most beloved celebrities who pass away suddenly, Kobe Bryant’s collectibles market has been soaring since the tragic helicopter accident that took the lives of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in Calabasas, CA. A collection of items from the late Lakers legend, including a game-worn home jersey from the 1999-2000 NBA Finals, will be auctioned off on May 21 as collectors yearn for a tangible link to a fallen icon.

Own iconic shares of sports history. Coming soon! ?

 

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