Durant, Durant: Collectors Hungry Like the Wolf for Thunder Star

by Mike Fruitman

If Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder were hot in the hobby last week, after a win in game 1 of the NBA Finals, they might be giving the Three Mile Island wings at Hooter’s some competition on the hot scale.

The younger Thunder took their first step in bringing a championship to Oklahoma City and the ripples were felt immediately with in the hobby.  While this Exquisite Gold Autographed Rookie /35 BGS 9.5 probably will not get to the Buy It Now price of $77,735.35, it is nice to know that it does come with free shipping.

Other big bucks Durant pieces on eBay include a more affordable already opened, but signed Exquisite NBA box /35 that could be yours for a mere $1,399.99 via Buy it Now.

Westbrook is garnering quite a bit of attention  as well as shown by this 1/1 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Logoman signed rookie parallel. It will probably take another three wins by the Thunder for someone to pull the trigger on the $30,000 price tag, but perhaps T. Boone Pickens likes the Thunder as much as he enjoys Oklahoma State.

2012 Topps Series II is still the hottest thing out on the market, followed closely by 2012 Bowman Signatures NFL, but one can guess that 11/12 Panini Titanium NHL will be putting them both on ice by the weekend.

Available for $25.00 or less per pack, Titanium offers 1 autograph, relic, or signed jersey card in each pack.  Adding to the interest in this release is that the base rookie cards are limited to that player’s jersey number.

There will certainly be a lot of interest in hot rookies like Gabriel Landeskog /92 available and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins /93 made, some of the lower numbered rookies should generate even more buzz.

Not everyone has jersey numbers in the 90s as shown by players such as Adam Larson /5, John Moore /4, Brendan Smith /2 and what might prove to be the best hockey pull of the year, the Mikko Koskinen rookie card with only one available.

While his “incredible” performance in those four games in 10/11 will always leave us breathless (not really since he gave up 15 goals), with there only being one copy available, count on some serious bidding when it finally becomes available.

Longtime collectors will remember the 01/02 Pacific Titanium Ty Conklin 1/1 that generated almost as much news as his entire career offered.  For a while, there was even debate over whether that card should even count as a rookie.  With 1/1 cards becoming more available over the last decade, this one should still get quite a bit of attention.

Looking ahead, Father’s Day weekend should have more than the usual amount of excitement with Panini offering special packs with exclusive content through hobby shops.

For a list of participating hobby stores, click here.

If shops are able to generate as much hype as many did for the November Black Friday promotion, count on lots of dads getting boxes of Panini product come Sunday.  By then, we might also be seeing Thunder singles getting even hotter if they could earn a few more wins.

Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo.  You can read his column here every week, focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter.  Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook  and you can email him at  [email protected]