Panini’s spokesman is hoping to turn kids into the collector that he once was.
His dad’s travels in the European basketball leagues made Kobe Bryant into a worldly sort even though he never went to college. They also may have helped him appreciate the history of the game in which Jelly Bean Joe made a living.
Part of that appreciation for past and present players played out in the basketball cards the young Bryant collected –both overseas as a youngster–and later when he was a teenager living in the U.S.
Bryant was once a huge Michael Jordan fan. He could afford hundreds of them now but MJ’s rookie card eluded the younger Kobe. Still, it’s memories of all of those old pieces of cardboard that led him to become the face–and voice–of Panini’s efforts to build up the basketball card market here and abroad.
The Orange County Register has the story of what both hope is a good marketing marriage with a strong foothold in the younger demographic.