1952 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Sells For $5.2 Million, An All-Time Record For Trading Cards

A 1952 Mickey Mantle — one of baseball cards’ holy grails — has sold for a whopping $5.2 million, setting a record for the most expensive trading card ever and nearly doubling its value since a 2018 sale.

The card is one of nine known in existence in its condition. It sold to Rob Gough, an entrepreneur and actor, who started the DOPE clothing and CBD line and whose credits include the 2018 film “Billionaire Boys Club.”

This particular card is graded as Mint 9 by PSA — the go-to grading service for cards — and sold for $2.8 million in 2018 to an unidentified buyer, who then sold it to Gough in a deal brokered by PWCC Marketplace, a leader in the trading card investment market.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said in a press release.

The sale further illustrates the trading card boom that has hit the industry in recent years, with 2020 being a particularly strong year for sports cards. Cards these days aren’t just a hobby — they’re seen as investments, in the way people play the stock market.

It’s now a playground for the rich to either invest or live out their childhood dreams.

“I’ve dreamt of owning a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle since I was a kid collecting cards,” Gough said in a statement. “It’s the Mona Lisa of sports cards and I’ve been searching for this high graded example talking to industry experts, dealers, auction houses, friends and I’m ecstatic that I’m now the proud owner of this iconic card.”

A combination of factors led to a red-hot sports card market in 2020: ESPN’s “The Last Dance” made the market boom for Michael Jordan-specific products. The pandemic led many fans and collectors to rediscover cards. In many cases, even normal modern sports-card products were hard to come by at big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.

Source: Yahoo Sports

Houston Rockets Player Christian Wood Admits Girlfriend Left Him After Going Undrafted, Now Has $41M Contract

Houston Rockets star Christian Wood has revealed that his girlfriend left him the same night he went undrafted as a 19-year-old in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Christian Wood is enjoying life in Houston now but the story was different five years ago in 2015. The then 19-year-old sophomore out of UNLV had anticipated hearing his name announced during the 2015 NBA Draft, and later celebrating with loved ones at Caesar’s Palace. However, things did not pan out well, and it was a night to forget for young Christian Wood who went undrafted. 

In an interview with The Ringer, Christian Wood spoke about his career so far and the horror night in which he went undrafted five years ago. Wood was pegged as a late first-rounder during the 2015 NBA Draft by most mocks, but those hopes soon faded as he went undrafted. He had rented an event space at Caesar’s Palace and had invited a few dozen family and friends. His worst fears came true when he went uncalled in the second round. 

And while Christian Wood went undrafted, his despair that night reached a tipping point when he was dumped by his girlfriend. Wood reveals that he dropped her off at the airport after the draft and never saw her again. In the years that followed, Wood became an NBA journeyman and even signed with the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017. He was later waived by the Fujian Sturgeons which Wood reveals was a ‘new low’. 

Five years since the fateful night saw Christian Wood undrafted and dumped by his girlfriend, the 25-year-old has redeemed himself and has become one of the rising stars in the league. After bouncing around and playing limited minutes for the Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks, Wood finally had a chance to make his mark in Detroit. Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 62 games for the Pistons but was eventually let off.

Christian signed with Houston Rockets in the off-season, signing a three-year, $41 million contract. While it is still early days, the 25-year-old has already shown signs that the Christian Wood contract could be a steal by Houston, having averaged 27.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 40.0 MPG for a depleted Rockets squad.

Source: Republic World

Rob Van Dam: How To Move Up In WWE Through Backstage Politics

In this exclusive clip from “Retrospective” with ECW legend Rob Van Dam, “The Whole F’n Show” explains how to build up a wrestling career in WWE, navigating the politics with the McMahon family, taking care of ‘the guys’ to earn your opportunity, and Shane McMahon telling RVD ‘the one thing’ he fell short on in getting a push while John Cena was on hiatus from the company.

Instant Classic – The Story Of Eddie Guerrero Vs Rey Mysterio Jr (WCW Halloween Havoc 1997)

Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio Jr. at WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 is considered one of the best matches that ever happened in a World Championship Wrestling ring. Contested as a “Title vs Mask” match, Guerrero and Mysterio put on a bar-setting performance that is still as good to watch today as it was over 2 decades ago.

After losing the United States championship, Eddie Guerrero had turned heel and his next goal was the Cruiserweight title, held by Chris Jericho. While Guerrero was able to defeat Jericho to win the title, Rey Mysterio was on a winning streak of his own. Mysterio had defeated Eddie on Nitro before Guerrero won the Cruiserweight belt, and when Eddie tried to trick Rey by competing under a mask as El Caliente, Mysterio was once again able to beat Guerrero. A match was set up for WCW Halloween Havoc 97, Mysterio vs Guerrero… but a lot was at stake. If Eddie lost the match, he would lose his title. If Rey lost, then Rey Mysterio would have to unmask on Pay Per View.

The match Rey and Eddie had at Halloween Havoc was simply phenomenal. This video covers the build up and the match itself.

How Chinese-Canadian Division One Basketball Player Ben Li (Lehigh University) Silences Racist Trash-Talkers On The Court

Chinese-Canadian NCAA division one basketball prospect Ben Li has received all the Asian-related racist jibes under the sun.

“I’ve heard all the names right when I step onto the court. From the players it’d be all comparisons to any Asian thing – soy sauce, Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, small eyes. Like I’d be shooting free throws and another team would be standing right there saying ‘can you even see the rim?’ and all that,” the 19-year-old Lehigh University, Pennsylvania first-year said.

Born in Toronto to native Chinese parents, Li defied the odds, stereotypes and stigma to make history as the first ethnic-Chinese player to make the All-Canadian game last year. It is but only the beginning of the forward’s mission to reach the NBA and the Chinese national team.

Already touted as the “Chinese Zion Williamson” by adoring media, Li hoped his unconventionally large physical presence on the court would help rid the arena of any prejudices. Otherwise he will have to take into his own hands.

“It’s definitely annoying but over time, their words didn’t matter to me. Most of the time they were trash-talking and all that, they were usually down. So any time they’d say anything, most of the time I don’t say anything back and just point at the scoreboard,” said Li, all 1.98m, 105kg of him.

“It’s actually pretty fun to get to prove people wrong or when they expect me to not really do anything. Then I showcase my game. Sometimes they start talking trash and I’d get my stuff going and dominate the game. That’s pretty fun sometimes.”

Li regularly seeks advice – be it basketball or identity related, or both – from hero-turned-friend Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American who famously graced the NBA with the “Linsanity” era of 2012. That he is now exchanging texts with the man he watched on TV is another “pinch me” moment in his fledgling career so far.

“I definitely want to shout out Jeremy Lin,” said Li, who he featured alongside on a Chinese basketball TV show in 2019.

“This year, he gave me his number and offered me an outlet to ask questions if I’m struggling or need any advice. I look up to him like a bigger bro. That’s kind of surreal to me because he was my role model.”

“When I first met him, I told him I was just trying to get scholarships and play division one basketball so my parents wouldn’t need to pay a cent for me at university. I think that’s where it kicked off because he could relate to me and had to go through a lot of things. He’s even been kind enough to offer to get a workout in together. That’s surreal. That person you watched, that got you into the sport I’m in now. Now I can just to talk to him. It’s just crazy.”

No racial slur is justifiable, but the ignorance may be partly to do with the lack of Asian faces in the game. That applies throughout all age groups, from little leagues to the NBA, where you could count the number of Asian players on your fingers.

Li’s athletic talent had grown to the point that he would need to head south from his native Canada. The path to a division one scholarship offer was meticulously planned and it was only a matter of time before calls came flooding in.

“I had to do what was best for me and expose myself to more schools and coaches. When I got to Virginia, my coach started calling schools in to come watch. Over time, my stock grew and my coach even told me that people were calling asking ‘is the big Asian guy still available? Can I come watch him work out?’” he said.

“I do this for the younger generation looking for knowledge from anyone in my situation. They’ll read this as the next Asian guy who wants to play division one basketball. My goal on top of playing in the NBA and the national team is to inspire the next generation of Asians to break out of their comfort zones.”

“I feel like there’s a stigma that we’re less than other people in a sport just because of the colour of our skin – and I think that’s kind of bulls***. If you just put in the work and screw what other people think, you can go wherever you want to go in your sport. I don’t want other people thinking they can’t get past something if they’re Asian.”

Source: South China Morning Post

Only Four Players Were Teammates With Both LeBron And MJ – HoopsHype Spoke To All Four About The GOATs

Only four players in league history were teammates with both Jordan and James: Scott WilliamsLarry HughesJerry Stackhouse and Brendan Haywood. HoopsHype was able to connect with all four of them.

“I don’t think it would be fair to give a comparison on them,” Stackhouse, who only played seven games with James in 2010, told HoopsHype. “I played with LeBron at the prime of his career and I played with Michael in the last year of his career. I just think both are unbelievable players. They’re probably one and two in the history of the game. That’s where I’ll leave it.”

WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF MICHAEL JORDAN?

Brendan Haywood: It was a learning experience. You got to see up-close what made him who he was. He was like 40 years old. He didn’t have anything to prove. But he was still one of the hardest workers. I would watch him teach Bobby Simmons the footwork to score in the mid-post. Everything he did was calculated. Nothing was done by accident. He was reading your lead foot. He understood where to go and how to get you off balance and get to his pull-up jumper and how to get your arm off of him if you were trying to be physical. Watching him, you got to learn a lot. 

Larry Hughes: For me, growing up, I played basketball because of MJ. When I got a chance to play with him, I watched all of the small things that you don’t get to see when you are a fan. How did he conduct himself with the media? What time did he go to treatment? I learned how consistent he was with the game-planning and understanding how to get the job done even at an older age. He may have lost a step but he was still effective.

Scott Williams: One of the things that he liked to do was add aspects to his game. During my first two years in the league, he wanted to improve his low-post and back-to-basket game. We played a lot of 1-on-1 after practices. He would have someone throw the ball to him and he would catch it with a pivot foot on the block. He was working on trying to get around bigger, stronger players knowing that he would have no problem with someone his size. He had to learn to shoot with a hand in his face. I never beat him in one of those one-on-one sessions. 

WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF LEBRON?

Larry Hughes: As a young player, Bron had a good thought process. He was going to listen and apply the things that made the most sense to him. I can remember LeBron having conversations with a number of teammates on the plane and in the locker room, whether it be veteran guys or guys who were just joining the team. He kept a clean perspective on how everybody saw the game. 

Scott Williams: He was always very strong, that’s for sure [Laughs] I remember early days in training camp, I prided myself on my defensive play. I only knew one way to play. I was often playing opposite LeBron during practice. One time he tried to drive down the middle of the lane and I stepped in front, off of my guy, to take a charge. I was clearly in position. He ran into me with a force that I had not felt in quite some time. My first thought was that I hope I didn’t hurt this kid. My next thought was that I hope this kid didn’t hurt me. 

Brendan Haywood: When I was in Dallas, LeBron was thinking about going to Miami. Before he went to the Heat, he was recruiting guys to come to Cleveland. I get a text from a number that I don’t know. It’s LeBron. He says: “What’s up, this is King James.” It was a little weird he called himself King James but I kept going. He told me he was trying to get guys to come to the Cavs. He said he knew that they could not give me what I was going to get in the market. But he wanted to know if I would be willing to take a pay cut to be a part of something special. I wouldn’t have taken a pay cut to play with the ’92 Bulls. Buddy, you’re making $100 million off the court! This is my last hurrah! I hadn’t made enough money in my career to take a pay cut and chase a championship. I’d played so many playoff series against him that I saw him as another player. If you play in the league, you look at guys a little differently. He was younger than I was. I looked at him like he was anybody else.

HOW DID MICHAEL JORDAN IMPACT WINNING FOR YOUR TEAM?

Scott Williams: I saw him MJ go from no championships to three. He had mellowed some. [Laughs] Not to say that on game day he didn’t have that smoldering beast side of him. But it wasn’t that all-encompassing thing where every time you were around this cat it was like in October 1990. I’d be curious, for the guys who played with him in Washington, what he was like when he was in practices. I don’t know if it was anything like he was when I was in training camp my rookie year.

Larry Hughes: MJ played in the triangle offense. His attention to detail was understanding angles at a high level. If he didn’t operate the triangle, the job didn’t get done. Bron is similar in his ability to remember and break down the plays. When he is able to see those things, whether it is at a timeout or at halftime, he is able to rely on the information that he downloaded to execute what is needed to happen. It is different based on where they were in their careers when I played with them.

Brendan Haywood: We were a team that based our whole offense around a 40-year-old, aging superstar and we were trying to make the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. At the time, I was thinking that I was just out there hooping. But as I got older, that may have been one of the dumbest ways to ever build a team. You should be featuring your young guys, letting them play, take their knocks and lumps and letting them develop.

HOW DID LEBRON IMPACT WINNING?

Brendan Haywood: The thing that they most have in common is that they impact winning. But they go about in totally different ways. That is why it’s so unfair that LeBron is always compared to Mike. He doesn’t play like Mike! He wasn’t trying to fully dominate like Mike! LeBron wants to play an overall floor game. Bron is more like Magic Johnson but with next-level athleticism. That allows him to do incredible things. LeBron wants to get the 8, 9, 10 assists. He wants to get the rebounds. He wants to get his 26, 27 points. He isn’t just worried about scoring, though. He’s not trying to destroy you. He’s not worried about how many buckets he gets.

Scott Williams: This was an odd year. 2020 sucks. Let’s just get it straight. But with the disjointed season, it threw a lot of the teams off of their games. That’s the thing about LeBron and his leadership. When it did start back, he was able to get his team re-energized and re-focused. The players on the floor have the biggest impact on how hard a team is going to play every night. The coaches will draw up the plays but if the guys aren’t locked on, let’s just face it, some of the execution is sloppy. When you have a stud like that who’s got that championship pedigree, and you have a thirsty young player in Anthony Davis who has yet to wear that ring, you can really get everybody on the same page.

WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU ARE ASKED ABOUT COMPARISONS?

Brendan Haywood: One of the more interesting things is that I had the GOAT conversation with LeBron. We were on the plane and I told him: “I love you, brother, but I have to go with Mike.” I told him my reasons. I’ve had this conversation with him face-to-face. Six rings. Six MVPs. The guy has had two different three-peats and has never been to a Game 7. He was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. I played with both of them and what LeBron has slowly but surely turned into from a confidence standpoint, MJ was that the first time he walked in the league. LeBron has gotten so much better at that. He has grown into a guy that close out games. Michael always had that ability. Michael always competed defensively. Both of those guys are incredible competitors. They do things differently. The biggest difference is that MJ is a cold-blooded killer. He is an assassin. LeBron is more respected and loved. He is loved by his teammates and he is respected by his opponents. So when we had the GOAT debate, LeBron was just kind of nodding his head. He didn’t really say much. Mike Miller and James Jones said some things on his behalf. I don’t think LeBron agreed with me. But at that point, he hadn’t beaten Golden State. He didn’t have the ring he just got with the Lakers.

Scott Williams: The thing that I hate the most is that comparisons are being drawn and I don’t care which way you stand on it. They are two absolutely phenomenal players and I hate when someone says that one is the GOAT and one isn’t. It’s almost like a knock on the one that you say is not the GOAT. I don’t really like to get into that game. I’ve been forced into that corner where I’ve had to make that choice a few times and I will say Michael is the greatest of all time, in my opinion, from being in the locker room with both of them. But I didn’t get LeBron at the top of his game. I got him when he was still developing. We’re not as close but I still consider LeBron a friend. As a basketball commentator and as a fan, obviously, I have followed LeBron. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that LeBron has done and overcome.

Larry Hughes: LeBron had the same attention to detail that MJ had. He was focused on the things that happened before him and how he could enhance the game that was played before him. He was a student of the game. He understands how basketball players play and how they get their job done. The opportunity to have played with both of those guys was amazing. You see similarities in how they pay attention to detail. It’s film. It’s muscle memory. They had the ability to make adjustments based on what happened.

Source: HoopsHype

One Of A Kind | The Rob Van Dam Story (Full Career Documentary)

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s there were few wrestlers on the planet more popular than Rob Van Dam. His innovative in ring style combined with his unique laid back character touched a nerve with many fans, leading to him becoming a main event player in pretty much every promotion he ever worked with. Even today, 30 years into his storied career, RVD continues to be a big name in the industry; after having his most recent run with Impact. So, how has he managed to maintain such longevity, and what has kept him going this whole time. Well, join us today as we take a deep dive into his entire career journey in, One Of A Kind: The Rob Van Dam Story.

After Being Cut Twice, Atlanta Falcons Kicker Younghoe Koo On Track To Make First Pro Bowl

Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo is having an outstanding 2020 season and looks to be on track to make his first Pro Bowl.

Thus far, Koo has converted on 96 percent of his kicks, making 24 out of 25 field goals. He’s a perfect 5-for-5 on his attempts from 50 yards or more, trailing only Jason Sanders of the Jets.

Koo joined the Falcons in 2019 after the team parted ways with long-time veteran, Matt Bryant. Koo went 23-for-26 the rest of the way and made it a point in the offseason to become more consistent with his kicks.

That hard work looks to be paying off for Koo, as for the 26-year-old leads all NFC kickers in Pro Bowl voting.

Source: The Falcons Wire