As someone who has lived in San Antonio for the last 6 years, there is nothing bigger than the Spurs. Its one of the only major cities that has a huge population among the top 10, but only one sports team in the major sports. Its clear that while the Spurs have won title after title during the last 15 years, one player has been so vital to their success that he is the biggest celebrity in the city. Today Tim Duncan announced his retirement. His cards are infrequent, but the big ones are now more in demand than they have been in the last few years.
Check out some of the prices his cards with the recent announcement:
This is pretty significant for the NBA, because he might be the best power forward in the history of the game. Not only that, but he has also rarely participated in autographing trading cards for the card companies, something that is almost unheard of in today’s “everyone has a signature card x100000” environment. The best part about Duncan is not just that he was such a dominating force on the court, but also because his cards are so under appreciated for his level of production.
His Chrome RC goes for a ton, as does his Fleer Metal stuff, but in a time where cards were over produced, a top RC like his might be undervalued. You cant get a 9.5 for a bargain rate, especially with how much attention his retirement is getting. Outside of that, the cards just dont have the traction because they arent signed.
For someone as good as Tim Duncan was, you would think his cards should be among the top cards in the game. Some of them highly sought after, but without supply, the examples of 10k card sales just arent there the way they are for Lebron and others. I met Tim a few years ago at a work event, and he was probably the nicest guy I have met in sports. He also made it very clear that he wasnt around for the accolades and the personal achievement. He was there to be a part of the winning culture that the Spurs had built. Personally, I dont buy into “the guy is just a winner” bullshit, as intangibles rarely make a difference unless talent is already in play. Its just something nice a commentator can say to make themselves seem like they are worthy of trust from the viewers.
Duncan was a winner, not because of his intangibles, but because of his results. Results that no other NBA power forward has had in decades. Coupling that with his year over performance should get him more credibility than it does with collectors. People like the razzle dazzle, and they like big personalities. Duncan was never someone who subscribed to any of that, so its no surprise he really never got in big with any of the card companies. Someone with his resume has likely been on everyone’s radar for years, but Tim’s personality must not lend itself to a big deal like that.
I dont follow the NBA very much, but I will say that the Spurs have made me into a fan. Duncan was my guy, and I am sad he has decided to retire. That being said, there is still a pretty bright future in San Antonio, and though I have since moved back to Minnesota, I will forever be a fan.