What Does It Take to Be Like Mike? 1,264 Ticket Stubs.
As the world’s preeminent collector of a very specific type of basketball memorabilia, Andrew Goldberg scans the internet and uses phones. He’s spent six years tending to a spreadsheet that details what is in his possession, and he has a network of industry sources that alert him whenever they come across something. that he may need.
The magic happens in garage sales, on eBay and in dusty attics.
“I enjoyed the hunt,” Goldberg said. “I don’t know if anyone can dispute the claim that I may have the largest collection of Michael Jordan ticket stubs in the world.”
In an era when interest in sports collectibles is booming, Goldberg has found a niche as he pursues his goal of grabbing a ticket stub in every game of Hall of Fame playing career. by Jordan. He keeps them in protective sleeves and stores them in cardboard boxes at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. And he won’t stop, he said, until he gets all 1,264.
“His level of engagement is insane,” said Patrick Powell, founder of Booger’s Stubs, an online community for ticket collectors.
47-year-old nonprofit consultant and longtime Chicago Bulls fan, Goldberg said he liked each ticket to have a story and a box score associated with it, which he shared “the same tune” with. Jordan for a few hours, and that it’s a piece of hardwood history that cannot be replicated – although he wishes the heart-wrenching ushers of old Boston Garden had exercised better care with their craft.
“They wouldn’t even follow the punctures,” Goldberg said. “They were known in the 80s to have terrible tears in their tickets. Simply awful.
Growing up outside of Chicago, Goldberg became attached to the Bulls. He was lucky, he said, that his father, Perry, had season tickets with a group of friends. Whenever he accompanied his father, their pre-match ritual was a dinner in the Greek Islands, a restaurant not far from the arena. And in pre-Jordanian times, his favorite player was Artis Gilmore because he was tall (Goldberg was tall for his age) and because they shared the same initials.
The dynamic around the team changed, however, when Jordan arrived in Chicago as a rookie in 1984. He was a freak from the start, and it occurred to Goldberg that he should start retaining. ticket stubs from Bulls games he attended. He advised his father to do the same. Even then, Goldberg was concerned about the integrity of the ticket stub.
“I told him not to bend them,” he said.
Jordan was in full flight when Goldberg enrolled at the University of Illinois. Goldberg’s college a cappella group performed the national anthem ahead of a Bulls game, and took part in one half-court shooting competition to another, winning home a 15-pound Nestle Crunch bar as a prize. of consolation.
Beside, he slowly amassed around sixty Bulls tickets which he kept in a photo album. Then he pretty much forgot about them for 25 years. It wasn’t until 2015 that he returned to his collection, with the goal of acquiring a full set of ticket stubs from the Bulls’ 1995-96 season, when they went 72-10, setting a record. NBA for the most wins in a single season that would last for 20 years.
Part of Goldberg’s dream was rooted in pragmatism. He had been an avid sports card and comic book collector for many years, but was hampered by the clutter.
“And I just had this thought like,” You know what? The tickets don’t take up a lot of space, ”he said. “As I learned, if you have a lot of them, they do.”
Soon after, Goldberg decided to think big and collect the 1,264 ticket stubs of Jordan’s entire career. That total includes 930 regular season games with the Bulls, 142 regular season games with the Washington Wizards, 179 playoff games and 13 All-Star Game appearances. Goldberg has 986.
He has a handful of extras that he doesn’t include in the total – heels from Jordan’s three appearances in the NBA’s annual slam-dunk contest and his only entry in the 3-point shootout, when he set a record for futility finishing with the worst score in competition history. Goldberg also has tickets to both matches for Jordan’s Olympic gold medal.
Among the important heels that escaped him: Jordan’s 63-point stunt against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 playoffs. Goldberg saw one available on eBay a few years ago, but someone from other bought it before they could submit their offer. (Goldberg said he had no way of locating the buyer.)
He’s also missing one of the potential gems of the whole lot – a ticket from Jordan’s regular season debut in 1984. It gets deep into the ticket-collecting weeds, but the Bulls have produced several types of tickets. tickets this season, Goldberg said. There were reds and blues for subscribers, a ticketing version and another from Ticketron. The red ticket is the most desirable since red is the team’s color, Goldberg said, and one was sold about two years ago for $ 33,000. Goldberg has not seen another available for purchase since. How much would he be willing to pay to acquire one?
“I don’t think I could share anything that could end up on paper and stay married,” said Goldberg, who has one-year-old twin sons with his wife, Barbara.
Goldberg can still buy a regular Jordan ticket for around $ 5 or $ 10, he said. And for the record, he said, his hobby was mostly funded: he sold his comics for around $ 2,000 in seed money, and now he often swaps or sells duplicate tickets to fill. the holes in his collection. (Duplicates, he said, are useful for making deals with other collectors.)
Nowadays, the printed ticket becomes a relic. Although many sports teams still produce them for season ticket holders, the wider supply has diminished in the age of digital tickets. Now, most fans simply have a code on their cell phone that the ushers scan when they enter the arena.
“It’s a shame because it’s an absolutely wonderful piece of history,” said Al Glaser of Professional Sports Authenticator, a souvenir authentication service. “It’s like having a sweater or a stick used by the game.”
The pandemic has also been a huge disruption for the collector crowd. The NBA ended last season (and started the current one) without fans – and tickets.
“If someone really wanted to get a ticket to every LeBron James game, they sort of can’t do it now,” Goldberg said.
As for his own collection, Goldberg has found that advertising – like the original story about him in the Midway Minute, a Chicago sports bulletin – sometimes helps. Foreigners will inquire about their long forgotten tickets to assess if it is useful.
“You’re hoping people will come out of the woods,” said Goldberg, who remains confident he will complete his collection. “I don’t know how long it will take. “
Once he does, he plans to approach officials from the Basketball Hall of Fame and the United Center, the arena where the Bulls play their home games, to see if they would be interested in posting a selection. of his heels for the public.
“I think it would be a nostalgic walk through history for a lot of people,” he said.
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