I’m closing in on 2 years since I joined Top Shot and with the current Holiday Hoops run really re-energizing the community, I wanted to take aa look back some of the stops along the ride that have made me enjoy my 2 years through the journey. These are the different memories along the way that really stick as moments in time that will always be special. These are the moments in time that give you that experience of feeling, that makes Top Shot special.
5. Landing that first rare pack
As my Top Shot profile will show, I joined in February 2021, the absolute top of tops. I had joined a few pack drops out of the gate here and there but had missed in the que on the early MGLE and Legendary drops. I still remember that randomness that pack drops used to be. I remember one time it was like 10 or 11 at night and my guy Steve Porter texted me “PACKS” out of the blue.
The upcoming Rising Stars set was right up my alley. I love the young, emerging players in the NBA and really wanted to land a pack here. This was also back when the market prices were obviously booming, so even if it wasn’t one of the main guys you still were landing a hit you could sell and roll into something else you wanted more. I remember popping in that que and the 30 second wait that always felt like 30 minutes to see if you landed a spot in the que that was going to get a pack. Once I saw my number was locked in, I was pumped, a rare pack to rip, let’s go! I pulled a Deandre Hunter out of that first rare pack, certainly not one of the big marquee names, but still a nice young player from the Hawks.
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I get it’s not totally practical to do random drops all the time again, but that is why I liked this recent pack drop that hit us ice cold. It was that rush of unplanned drop out of nowhere, like I have to go get these. Fire up the texts and the tweets, “PACKS.” The same rush of landing that first rare pack; Packs were dropped and you landed one.
4. The inception of the flash challenge
I don’t care what anyone says or where we are today, if you were on Top Shot last fall, you were into the early flash challenges (take a look at the mint counts). This was one of the closest things we had back to Cool Cat spec buying (which I still believe is a driver of the platform when the opportunity is there). The requirements came out, everyone was rushing to the marketplace to try to go snag guys early before they were qualified and pumped. We had innovative trackers coming along, people looking at the ESPN app for stats, watching the games so closely to see who was getting in; it was exciting and new. Every flash challenge night, you were glued into the NBA. That inevitable decision and number crunching on some of the more challenging ones—do I make the buy and go for this? Do I want to run the shot at pulling a serial for the sell back loss? I used to hate not owning quad badge rookies who would come in and block you that would pump from $350-$650 instantly. I still enjoy flash challenges to this day and for players I’m into, I still love doing them. It’s a great way to watch basketball.
3. The first challenge completion
I had never gotten big into challenges early on. Usually because by the time they hit I was late to the party on who was coming or all the pieces of the set were just out of the price point I wanted to spend. I remember starting to get into Cool Cats though and wanting to do a challenge. One of the things that really pulled me in (and a huge part of the platform) was trying to speculate or pre-buy the guys in the challenge based on the potential themes or threads they would run through. If you could hit, you could flip for a decent profit or have some nice equity from low cost basis into the reward. This was such a great part of the community, Phil D from The First Mint really ate this stuff up and help drive the Twitter machine wild with so many good spec theories. The banter with the boys on what a theme could be, who could squeeze hard, who hasn’t been used yet; it was just fun. I always enjoyed seeing when someone was right with all the hits or close to the hits after the fact.
The first challenge I really wanted to get the reward from was the Russell Westbrook Cool Cats challenge. Russ was in DC at the time and the Wizards are my squad, so I was determined I was going to put this one together. I remember hitting some of the spec requirements and was in good shape, so I decided to hold my pumping Dwight Howard 15k and Montrezl Harrell 40k to complete a challenge for the first time. I loved the chase and the challenge of doing the challenges and this has become on of my favorite parts about Top Shot.
Trivia answer- the other non Cool Cats from that challenge…. Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Jerami Grant.
2. The Valley Oops and the 2021 NBA Playoffs
This was near peak Top Shot for me. Things were pumping, I was way into the platform, had a few buddies into it, was into doing challenges and we hit one of the best sports times of the year; the NBA Playoffs. The 2022 playoffs were good, but to me the moments of 2021 were just far superior. Every game felt big, so many of the series had great narratives/story lines develop and we watched nightly as new players emerged into that superstar category (Booker, Trae, D Mitchell, Tatum).
All through the playoffs I had a group of guys we would text about basketball and Top Shot daily. Every night we were watching the games, talking about the plays that should be moments and who was going to pump because they were hot. All during the season I had been on Deandre Ayton as a breakout guy, but my boys left me on an island, constantly dogging Ayton and calling him soft. Then the playoffs hit and Ayton went on an absolute tear. Just night after night of dominating in the middle. Eliminating Jokic and the Nuggets, which no one though they would make a run in the Western Conference Finals.
That Valley Oop play to win game 2 was special. It was a culmination of sorts for what Ayton had been doing. A validation to me of my guy arriving. The phone going off wild with texts, Twitter going through the roof, everything was there for that play. All the boys had turned into Ayton stans during that playoff run and that moment you knew right away was destined to be a challenge reward. It wound up landing as a rare challenge reward, which was a little too rich for my blood to run out and I sat waiting for a price drop that never came. It ran up to $1200 or $1500 I think around the peak, but the current market has brought it back into my sights and recently landed back on my Wishlist not too long ago. That Valley Oop moment will always hold a special place to me for a time when everything about Top Shot was at an absolute pinnacle experience.
- Sharing 2022 All Star Weekend with a little baller
I mentioned in my post about going to the Vince Carter/Wizards game With my son about how sharing basketball with him has been a big driver in what I collect. One of the best experiences of that was during the 2022 NBA All-Star game. He’s 7 now and is thoroughly a basketball head. We’ll sit down and watch games together whenever we can. He knows the players and who he loves watching. He’s a sucker for handles and dunks, just like me and he loves the flash of the game. Sometimes during the season it’s tough to really spot a lot of those moments that you’ll never forget outside of game winners or an absurd poster type dunk; but during All-Star Weekend, you know you’re going to see the best of the best. You’ll see stuff you’ve never seen before and why these players are the best in the world.
This past year was the first year where he and I really got to watch the whole weekend together. The pure amazement of what he was watching, I could tell he knew it was special. Our kitchen runs into our living room and the best $20 I’ve ever spent was on a plexiglass rim that hangs on the back of a door. That thing’s had more use than Bruce Brown in the minting process. Every commercial break during the game, we hit the hoop where he tried to cross me up or do whatever ridiculous shot he just saw.
I knew when the ASG pack drop came out, we had to run the group together. The Curry no look 3, the LeBron game winner, the Ja dunk, the Trae assist; All the moments that we jumped off the couch for we could collect and put the set together to hold onto as a nod to the memories we made. I’ve held that set since the day it could be completed. It’s locked up and unless I have to sell it to not live under the bridge; It’s staying in the collection for as long as I have one.
That’s the true beauty of Top Shot, as is the common thread with the top 3–4 here really. Sharing basketball with people and owning memories. Sure, honorable mention to every time my account has pumped and we’ve seen a big bull run. Anyone who says they don’t enjoy seeing their account pump is an absolute liar, but that’s not the end all, be-all here; at least for me. I’ve enjoyed the journey, the memories and the plays along the way that make Top Shot a basketball experience.
Until the next time, we ride at dawn.
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