eBay opened a pop up shop featuring trading cards and collectibles on Friday and Saturday in Houston, TX. Part of a holiday shopping push, the temporary store offered some unique and high-end cards during its two day run.
The location of the “Hard to Find Collectible Shop” location was a mystery–revealed first through online clues and then divulged in a more obvious fashion just as it was about to open. The company brought in Houston native and Texans wide receiver Danny Amendola to greet fans and collectors.
No stranger to trading cards, Amendola has appeared on plenty of them himself during a career that began in 2008. A two-time Super Bowl champ with the New England Patriots, the 36-year-old Amendola helped promote the eBay shop via his social media accounts.
A Texas Tech graduate, Amendola was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, it took a move to St. Louis in 2009 for his career to get rolling. Finally seeing the field in an NFL game, Amendola quickly proved he belonged. He was a contributor on the offensive side of the ball but he really shined on special teams, recording over 1,600 kickoff return yards, quickly establishing himself as one of the best return men in the game. The following season in 2010, Amendola led the NFL in all purpose yards with over 2,300 total yards.
Tony Reid-Do you remember seeing yourself on a trading card for the first time?
Danny Amendola-I remember collecting them over the years from fans who sent them to me to either get signed or to keep. It always blows my mind looking at myself on a trading card because I collected them growing up. It’s a great way to gain perspective and I’m really excited to be a part of professional sports and I can hopefully inspire the youth like it did for me a long time ago.
TR–What players inspired you as a kid?
DA-I’m from Houston so most of the Astros. From Craig Biggio, Ken Caminiti, Jeff Bagwell and Nolan Ryan to the Houston Rockets, who I was obsessed with when the won back to back NBA titles. I really collected the hometown teams. If you are an Astro, I had you on my mantle. Biggio was my favorite player growing up. From playing catcher to moving to second base, he was an awesome player. He did a lot for our city and for the organization. I am a huge fan.
TR-It’s been said that you were once an avid collector. What does the collection look like today?
DA– I collected between 500 and 1,000 cards from when I was younger. They were sitting in my dad’s attic. Recently, he made me this amazing wooden box to display my cards in my living room, where they sit today as a conversation piece when my friends come in and play pool. We can look at these cards and reminisce on our favorite players and these people that inspired us to be athletes and try to play at the professional level. I have probably 250 cards on display in my living room in this awesome box that my dad made and it’s something I can look toward for inspiration and conversation with friends.
TR– Do you have a memorable fan interaction or story?
DA-It’s hard to wrap my head around it. I always looked up to athletes growing up and meeting them I remember being blown away by how inspiring they are and how nice they are and how they pushed. Meeting athletes has always been special to me. Anytime I get to meet a kid who loves sports, plays sports and is excited to meet a professional athlete I always try to give back as much as an I can through inspiration or guidance or whatever I can do to help them and make their day.
TR–The jersey swap is a relatively new tradition in major sports. If you could swap jerseys with any athlete, past or present, who would you want to swap with?
DA-That is a great question, man. The jersey swap came in later in my career and everyone started doing it. I was playing for (Bill) Belichick when the jersey swap became prevalent. He wouldn’t really let us swap jerseys because he said it was a distraction. I didn’t really do it with a whole lot of guys. I have done it here in the last few years. Honestly, I look up to so many players.
So many people give me inspiration whether I play against them or I watch them on film or watch them on TV, whether it’s in my sport or another sport.
I got to trade jerseys with Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons when I was with the Lions. I have his game worn. I didn’t wash it. It’s all sweaty sitting up in my closet. It’s a prized piece for me. That’s probably the best one I’ve got.
TR–You spent time at the eBay Hard to Find Collectibles Shop in Houston. What were you seeing in this outside the box, pop up shop this new way for people to shop and collect? What has the atmosphere been like?
DA-It’s been awesome. These guys have done a great job of putting these cards and comics together and displaying them for everyone to come in and buy, whether it’s for Christmas for friends, loved ones or sports enthusiasts. If you can’t come in here the next few days you can go to ebay.com/hardtofindshop and find anything you want online and you don’t have to get out of the comfort of your own home. It’s easy, man.
TR–Are there any cards that are going home with you from the pop up shop?
DA-Yep. I picked up one card that I am obsessed with. It’s a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson rookie card. He’s wearing his awesome yellow jersey. He’s crouched down in his batting stance. He’s probably about to get on base and steal a couple of bases because he was electric on the base paths. He was one of my favorite players growing up and I get to take home one of his cards today. It will be a nice addition to my collection. It will be sitting on my mantle when I get home.