You can tell just how popular a professional athlete is by how they are perceived in countries outside the U.S. If they have a world-wide appeal, you know they are special. Such is the case with Kobe Bryant and we all saw that during the Olympics in Bejing where he was mobbed pretty much everywhere he went.
Upper Deck partnered with Kobe for a number of years and we produced some amazing collectibles together.
The thing about those collectibles however is that it is not just American collectors who chase them. There are collectors in Europe, Asia and Australia as well who are all extremely passionate about collectibles of the “Black Mamba.” We were recently contacted by a collector named Thomas who lives in Kloten, Switzerland who has one of the most impressive collections of Upper Deck Kobe Bryant cards that we have seen. We were able to speak with him about his Kobe cards and this is what he had to say:
UD: What made you want to get started with collecting?
Thomas: “I am a big basketball fan and I really love the NBA. When I started collecting, my biggest goal was to find an authentic Kobe Bryant autograph card from Upper Deck. Now I have more than 85 autograph cards of Kobe. I’ve worked hard to get a great collection together so I could be featured on the Upper Deck Blog like my friend Alexander was.”
UD: Is it difficult to be a collector in Europe when there are no trading card stores to visit?
Thomas: “It is, but I am pretty active on eBay. Also, there is a great community of collectors out there on a side called ‘Das Cardboard’ based out of Germany where we are able to share stories about what we are collecting and what we are looking for. That forum was really helpful to me as I got started and everyone on there is really great.”
UD: What are some struggles you’ve experienced with getting cards?
Thomas: “Well many of the sellers from the U.S. and Asia are very careful when dealing with European buyers unfortunately. Having connections through the forum I mentioned earlier and a 100% positive feedback rating on eBay helps however. I also work through some American trading card forums to get cards I am after sometimes as well.
UD: What made you interested in collecting Upper Deck Kobe Bryant cards?
Thomas: “Upper Deck makes great cards that are designed perfectly. I really like the 2007-08 NBA Chronology series the best and a lot of my autograph cards come from that set. I really miss Upper Deck NBA cards. I hope you guys come back soon!”
UD: What are some of the cards you are most proud of?
Thomas: “I’m glad you asked. Take a look at some of my favorites!”
UD: If collectors want to track you down to offer you some Kobe Bryant cards they come across, how should they contact you?
Thomas: “That would be great! My username is Kobe3408 on www.HobbyKings.com, www.SportsCardForum.com and www.Basket-Cards.com. My username on www.Dascardboard.eu is Kobe2408.