Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Perfect Grade

I’m anal. Especially when it comes to baseball cards. I like to have all my cards in perfect condition; sharp, crisp edges, smooth surface, and flawless centering. Now, very rarely is a card perfect, and a faultless card to one man may look blemished to another. But no one can dispute the card’s condition when it’s slabbed and marked with a little 10 in the top right corner. I only have two graded cards in my entire collection (they’re a pain to store), and they are both graded 10. One’s a 2008 Topps Grade Sizemore base card I got from a grab bag for Christmas, and one’s this.

1991 Upper Deck #3: Dikembe MutomboSo simple… yet so elegant.

I’ve had fond memories of Dikembe from my childhood. I watched him help Allen Iverson and the 2000-01 76ers go all the way to the Finals, a magical moment for a young basketball fan. While his stay wasn’t long with the club, he was one of my favorite basketball players of all-time and I tried to emulate him in everyway possible, both on and off the court.

Dikembe was known as a defensive playmaker during his career, posting over 12,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks (his 3,289 are second all-time in NBA history behind Hakeem Olajuwon) in his 18 years of service. He was selected to eight All-Star games, three All-Defensive first teams, and was chosen NBA Defensive Player of the Year a record-tying four times (once in 2001 with the Sixers). Unfortunately, the big Congolese was forced to retire due to a knee injury he suffered during the 2009 playoffs with the Houston Rockets. Mutumbo is also very well known for his humanitarian work, most specifically his active community service for his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While I don’t collect basketball (at least not yet), I had to snag this card when I saw it on eBay for relatively cheap. Now a childhood hero is secured, slabbed, and graded with a perfect 10.

I can sleep.

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