Imagine opening Sports Collectors Digest and seeing an ad for the National Convention or SportsFest promoting Michael Jordan as being one of the show’s autograph guests. As cool as that would be, it probably isn’t ever going to happen.
Very few celebrities carry the same persona as Jordan, and throughout the years sports fanatics have supported this fact.
Heck, I’m not even a Jordan fan and I have still purchased his Nike Air Jordan sneakers, bought all his highlight video tapes and even purchased a signed Upper Deck Authenticated Jordan jersey.
So, what is it about MJ’s star power that everyone is so attracted to? For millions of hoops fans, Jordan is the indisputable best. Who is the best baseball player ever? The arguments can go on forever. How about football? Depends on what position you’re talking about. The best ever in basketball? For several generations of fans, it’s clearly Jordan.
Also, Jordan has pretty much always said the right things, and has done it in a cool way. Tiger Woods is close in that regard, but he almost seems too robotic at times.
Another reason why Jordan is so highly sought after in the collecting world is his exclusivity. For as long as I can remember, Jordan has had an autograph deal with UDA. So, unless you are buying a product released by Upper Deck, you really have very little chance of obtaining an authentic signature of the six-time NBA champion.
That brings me to my point.
If Jordan did a signing at a card show, how much could he charge?
Keeping in mind how many Jordan fans there are worldwide, and the fact that many of them would pay mucho bucks just to be in the same room with him, I think he could sign autographs publicly for $3,000 each.
To my knowledge, no athlete has ever charged more than $1,000 to sign a piece of sports memorabilia, so I fully expect that some of our readers will scoff at my bold assertion. But think about it: everybody loves Jordan. Nearly everybody in the world knows who he is. He is probably the most famous man on the planet and also one of the least accessible celebrities out there.
With that said, why couldn’t he charge that much at a signing?
The discussion may be moot, because I don’t think Jordan will ever bother doing a show. In fact, the days of elite, superstar athletes signing at card shows are disappearing at a fast pace.
Muhammad Ali, Brett Favre, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant ... the list goes on. These guys don’t do (or no longer do) public signings, and it’s really not surprising why. They simply don’t need the money or the hassle.
In a perfect world, these guys would want to sign for all of their fans out of the goodness of their hearts. But these athletes simply don’t have the time to sign for everyone, and they have the right to be compensated for their time. That’s why there’s a better chance of Babe Ruth coming back from the dead and signing at the 2008 Chicago National than one of these elite stars showing up.
If Jordan did a signing, just think of all the really cool pieces that could get signed from his days at UNC and in Chicago. It could also spark a Bulls reunion show. How neat would it be to have MJ, Ron Harper, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson, Dennis Rodman and crew reunited again and accessible to collectors?
It has been reported that astronaut Neil Armstrong was offered $1 million to sign at a public autograph show years ago and he turned it down. I would assume that Jordan would probably command more than Armstrong. So, what would it take to convince MJ? How about 1,000 autograph tickets sold for $3,000 each to generate a cool $3 million? I’d love to see it happen, and I’m guessing I’m not alone.
Check out Chris Nerat’s blog, Gavel Chat at gavelchat.sportscollectorsdigest.com. Readers may reach him at Chris.Nerat@fwpubs.com