Throughout the 2012-13 season Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira has been making tremendous progress. In fact so much so that he has now been identified as the potential 4th pick among centers in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft.
Considering I missed the game when his team played here in Valencia I decided to send him a card by mail and hope for the best.
Only a week and a half later I got it back, not with a signature on the front, but instead with a personalized message on the back:
"How are you doing? Nice to hear you like my game, if it's your dream to play at this level you have got to give it 100%. All the best!!"
Although I had promised myself to stick to only two sets of custom cards for the time being, some spare material gave me an opportunity I couldn't miss to design and make these precious cards.
The players in this set are Justin Doellman, Bojan Dubljevic and Vitor Faverani - the current star players on the Valencia Basket team.
The cards are made of gold foil on one side and silver on the back and the design is marked by black silhouettes of the players printed on transparent sticker. I cut the corners at a 90º angle to give it a hint of a plain gold ingot.
15 November 2012 - Today I received another amazing card, this one signed by Toni Kukoc.
A great and, I believe, very underestimated player, the Croatian Sensation (or the Spider from Split) was a key member of the second three-peat championship Bulls team in the 90's. Awesome autograph for my collection!!
11 November 2012 - My local team Valencia Basket received Caja Laboral today and one of their players is former Chicago Bulls forward Andrés Nocioni. Even though it was pouring and the players were rushing from the team bus to the players' entrance I did manage to get Nocioni to sign this card. I had especially purchased this card on COMC.com for this occasion and it really turned out to be a perfect card for signature.
NOTE: the white stain on the Bulls logo is a scanner issue
February 2012 - A New Zealand-born trader in the States was desperately looking for Kirk Penney cards. It so happened that Penney played for Spanish team Fuenlabrada (Madrid) and I thought I'd try and get him a surprise.
I made a custom card with a copy for each of us and sent them by mail to the team address. It was only a few days later that I already received them back.
Within a few weeks the card arrived with the US trader and on the Beckett forum he posted a thread showing the card as well. read more...
15 January 2012 - This is one of my earliest custom cards. Australian player A.J. Ogilvy was recovering from an injury and did a signing session before the game. I didn't have anything to sign so I made this card. Printed with my own inkjet and then stuck it onto a decoy card. No back side.
26 August 2011 - I got this autograph when the Spanish national team played a preparation game in my hometown against Australia.
The game was a great experience and I had the greatest seat ever, sitting front row right behind the Spanish bench. I litterally could have patted them on the heads if I'd wanted to, lol.
After the game most players (Serge Ibaka, Sergio Rodriguez, etc.) went straight into the bus, but I noticed that Rudy slipped out the arena from a different exit straight to the public parking lot. I managed to catch up with him and he was going to sign my card but it turned out that the marker had run out of ink, so he just said "doesn't work" and gave me the card back. Fortunately I had another marker with me (take that as an advice) and on second attempt he did sign. That was a close one!
BTW: in all the hassle I didn't notice (much) the girl that was accompanying him. Turns out it was his girlfriend, top model Helen Lindes, lol.
Click here to read more about this in my post on Beckett.com.
December 2009 - Geert Hammink is one of the few Dutch players to have been active in the NBA.
I contacted him via email to ask if I could send in a card for signature and he was absolutely fine with that. I sent him the Collector's Choice and the Classic Four, the two cards I had in duplicate.
What I received back was not only the two cards I had sent him, but also three further cards that he put in himself. Awesome!
I met Jake the Snake on 8 September 2002 when I attended the FCW Wresteblast III in Geleen, The Netherlands on invitation of my friend Sitoci who also performed at the event.
The whole happening was quite cosy, the venue being a tiny sports hall with a small audience of perhaps a couple of hundred from Holland, Germany and Belgium.
After the event Sitoci brought me and my friend over for some afterpartying and that's where I met Roberts and a few of the other guys as well. He was a funny guy, incredibly drunk and called everyone a c*cks*cker, lol!
Unfortunately I only recovered this autograph ten years later and its condition has deteriorated quite a bit, but I cherish it anyways for the great memories and for it being my only wrestling autograph.