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  1. #11
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    14-Feb-2020

    This weekend is the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. I was super excited, and dreamed of getting tons of autographs from Shaq, Barkley, rookies, stars, legends, etc. Some events started on Thursday, but I was not able to get into the city that evening. However, the NBA was holding a 3-day event called the NBA Crossover at Navy Pier in Chicago (not a free event), with appearances on Friday by Lauri Markkanen, Robert Horry, PJ Tucker, Jayson Tatum, Pat Connaughton, Ron Harper, Domantas Sabonis, Gary Payton, Brandon Ingram, Rick Fox, and BJ Armstrong. Most had a hour long slot, and not too many overlapped, so I figured there would be one table where they would shuttle in each player, and you would just keep going through a line. Also, prior to the event starting, ESPN was doing live broadcasts of their basketball shows, with guests like Dwyane Wade, Tracy McGrady, and more. So, I went down there early, but the Golic and Wingo show was over, the Pardon the Interuption show wasn't taking more people, and The Jump show was starting around when the NBA Crossover Event was opening. So struck out there. Finally get into the event, and no one knows where any player will be. There are 50 sponsors all with booths, two levels, a ballroom, a main stage, etc. The first two are supposed to be Robert Horry and Lauri Markkanen. We are finally told they will be on a mini conversation stage, which is set up with four sitting chairs. Having no idea if they were going to talk for an hour and how they were going to sign, we all tried to figure it out. But then someone announced that Markkanen would be on the main stage, and Horry was going to be walking around the event. The main stage was higher up, with a space for security in between the edge and the fans, and private doors in and out. So, we quickly learned that anyone on that stage wasn't going to be signing autographs. Finally found Horry, and he was stopping at booths, and signing for 1 person, then moving on, with an entourage. After a few minutes of chasing him, he stopped and signed four autographs, and I got 1 card signed, The next thing we learned was that the times posted weren't even close. Jayson Tatum was supposed to be from 4-5, and a sign said we would be at New Era. Well, at about 2 pm, there was a crowd at New Era, and it was Tatum. He was standing at a backdrop, and when people came up, they took pictures, but there were no autographs. Domantas Sabonis was at the Kia booth, and shooting baskets, and signed autographs, but he would only sign the promo 8x10, which was better than nothing. Pat Connaughton came to the AT&T booth, and no one was there, and he was super friendly, signed both cards I had, and signed the promo 8x10. He wasn't listed on the screens, so I don't think people knew where he was. The rest was a joke, and I left before Brandon Ingram was supposed to be on the main stage. Finally, Rick Fox is there all 3 days. Friday from 2-6, Saturday from 11-7, and Sunday from 11-5, doing a Twitch Benefit. He is basically livestreaming playing NBA 2 K with people, and trying to get donations for a Bahamas Relief fund. If you donate a certain amount, you can play against him. It was cool, although I'm not really one who watches gamers. But, when he was done at 6, he stayed and signed autographs for those standing around, and he signed 4 cards for me, and I donated a 20 to the fund. I saw Will Perdue and he shook my hand, but I couldn't get to my cards quick enough to find him. Former player Michael Finley was randomly walking around the event as well, but I didn't have anything for him. I chose not to go on Saturday, even though I paid for a 3-day pass. Still debating going Sunday, with lowered expectations.

    Photo of the Connaughton and Sabonis autos:



    Photo of the Fox and Horry autos:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 54
    Working on autographed 1987 Topps Baseball set:
    Total Cards in Set:792/Total Autographable: 760 (6 Checklists, 26 Team Leaders)
    Total Autographed:626!
    Currently Sent (Outstanding):52
    Percent Complete:82.37

  2. #12
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    15-Feb-2020

    Everyone who went to all the events around the city with the players instead of the NBA Crossover festival on Friday did much better. There were appearances at the Nike store, the Adidas store, Walmarts, Levi's, and more. A buddy got James Harden to sign a jersey at the adidas store in Water Tower, and got Brandon Ingram to sign a jersey at the AT&T store. So, I decided Friday night to find some better events for Saturday. During the day, Wendell Cater Jr was signing at two different Walmarts in the city, Charles Oakley was signing at a Walmart on the South side, RJ Barrett was signing with a purchase, Buddy Hield was signing at a Dicks in the city, and more. But, the AT&T store on Michigan Ave was having Dwight Howard from 1-2, and then Shawn Marion from 2:30 to 4. Then, a few blocks down Michigan Avenue at Water Tower, Brandon Ingram is signing. So, I prepay for a day of parking in Chicago, and get three cards picked and prepped for all of them. I figure three guys is better than the uncertainty of the Crossover event, and I love Dwight Howard and Shawn Marion. I get to the parking garage and get to the AT&T Store at 10:15, because, it's Dwight Howard, so I can sit a bit. Get in, and find out that Howards schedule got filled up, so they don't think he will be attending. Still a chance, but probably not. Marion is still coming at 2:30. I sat in that store on Michigan Avenue for 4 hours and 15 minutes for Shawn Marion! Someone told me that there was a Deandre Ayton event at a store a bit away, but I didn't have anything for him. Eventually, Shawn Marion came, and he signed three cards for me, and was super friendly. I quickly left, and walked the few blocks in the Chicago cold to Water Tower for the adidas store appearance of Brandon Ingram. I got there, and someone was giving out wristbands, and I got one, so all is good. He's supposed to be there from 4-5. At about 4, they announce that he will only be signing the promo photo inside, nothing else. So, that stinks, but better than nothing, some adidas branded 8x10 photo. HOWEVER, when it finally started (first he went on a shopping spree in the adidas store for 20 minutes after they shut down the store, the promo item 11"x17" piece of white card stock printed with a ball, and says Chicago 2020, and he signed the bottom corner. So generic, plus the staff were rude and the whole thing stunk. I left, and went a floor down to the JBL store, and apparently GIannis did an appearance earlier, and at 5:30, Kemba Walker was supposed to do an interview and Q&A, but no autographs, so I didn't stick around. This has not been a good weekend for me.

    Photo of the Ingram auto, and the Shawn Marion autos:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 58

  3. #13
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    16-Feb-2020

    During my long wait inside the AT&T store on Michigan Avenue on Saturday, the woman who was running the events mentioned to me that if Derrick Jones Jr. won the Slam Dunk title that night, he would be coming in for an appearance and autograph signing on Sunday. Surprisingly, he won (great dunks, but seriously, Aaron Gordon deserved to win), and I kept checking on Saturday evening for a new event to appear on social media, but nothing did. I decided to go back to Navy Pier for the NBA Crossover, since I had already paid for 3 days, and figured I would take my 3 cards for Derrick Jones Jr. anyway. I checked again in the AM, but no notice, and finally, while driving into the city at about 10:45, there is a new post that Derrick Jones Jr. would be appearing at the AT&T Store at noon. So, I parked by Navy Pier and walked a few blocks to the AT&T Store, and I was first in line. At 11:40 am, there were 2 people in line. Finally, by about noon, there were over a hundred people in line. He came in and brought the Slam Dunk trophy, which was cool. He signed two cards for me, with an incredibly small scrawl, I had to look twice to see that he had actually signed and my pen hadn't dried up. They made a big deal about autograph or photo only, not both, so I got a few pics of him and the trophy, but not with me. Anyway, I walked back to Navy Pier for the last indignities of the weekend. Scheduled at NBA Crossover were Tacko Fall, Kendrick Nunn, Glen Rice, Devonte Graham, Jaren Jackson Jr., Nickiel Alexander-Walker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wendell Carter Jr, and Patrick Beverley. When I got there, there was a line across the entire ballroom to get a signed promo 8x10 photo from Kendrick Nunn. I stood there without moving for about 10 minutes, and then abandoned, and went to the AT&T booth, where Nickiel Alexander-Walker was going to appear. Since on Friday, that was the only booth that signed outside items, I had high hopes. Finally, he arrived, and he was very nice, and signed 6 cards for me. I then saw the line for Patrick Beverly signing, and decided to give it a shot. Well, that was a mistake, as he was chatting away with people and having a good time, but they decided to cut the line and as the lady was telling the 50 or so people still in line, we could see Beverly getting up. Rushed over, but there was a line of Chicago police blocking, and Beverly stopped and signed for a few people, and then was led away. Multiple hours wasted, with little return.

    Photo of the Derrick Jones Jr autos:



    Photo of the Nickiel Alexander-Walker autos:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 66

  4. #14
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    17-Feb-2020

    On Monday, I went to an appearance at Meijer in Rolling Meadows from Chicago Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach. There were a ton of people there, and for once, it started early, which was great. However, Dach had no personality, refused to use my blue pen, and instead signed in a streaky black, and would not shake anyone's hand. Oh well, I got one autograph from Dach.

    Photo of the Dach autograph:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 67

  5. #15
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    23-Feb-2020

    Sunday, I went to the G-League game between the Lakeland Magic and the Windy City Bulls in Hoffman Estates, IL. I was looking to get autos from Lakeland players Justin Jackson and Chuma Okeke, however, Okeke is injured and does not travel with the team while rehabbing. Justin Jackson is also injured, but he does travel with the team, and Jackson, who was selected by the Nuggets in the 2nd round of the 2018 NBA Draft, signed 1 card for me.

    Photo of the Justin Jackson auto:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 68

  6. #16
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    06-Mar-2020

    Friday evening, I went to the G-League game between the Capital City Go-Go and the Windy City Bulls in Hoffman Estates, IL. From the Bulls, I was looking to get autos from Denver Nuggets 2nd year player Keita Bates-Diop, but he didn't warm up before the game after the doors were open. The whole warmup was cut short by a dance troupe performance. Tried to get him before the game started, but he ran out with the whole team and didn't stop, and then I went at halftime, but he didn't come back out of the locker room. Apparently, he hurt his knee, and never came back to the floor. However, I had items for the Capital City Go-Go, and before the game, I got three cards signed by former NY Knicks and Chicago Bulls player Jerian Grant.
    After the game, Grant came by and signed an additional card for me. I also got three cards signed by Washington Wizards 2019 2nd round pick Admiral Schofield. Finally, I was able to get former National Champion at North Carolina, and Milwaukee Bucks former 2nd round draft pick, David Noel, who is an assistant coach with the Go-Go and signed three cards for me.

    Picture of the Go-Go's autos:


    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 78

  7. #17
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    08-Mar-2020

    Sunday afternoon, I decided to go to the Chicago Wolves AHL game at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL. The Chicago Wolves are the AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, but that is ending at the end of this season, as Vegas has a team close to them that will be their AHL affiliate next year. So, I figured I should get out to a game or two and get some autographs from some of the Vegas rising stars before they are gone. Unfortunately, one of their top prospects, Cody Glass, had surgery on Saturday, so he is out for the year, and not around. Zach Whitecloud is playing in Vegas, and Jimmy Schuldt has been a scratch the last few games. So, I really wasn't able to get much signed. I had stuff for Glass, Schuldt, and Gage Quinney but never saw them come out of the arena. I was able to get two cards signed by former Wolves goalie and current GM Wendell Young, and one card signed by winger Curtis McKenzie. McKenzie brought his own black Sharpie with him, and would only sign with it, saying that one of the messages that the league sent around was to not touch anyone's pen. Of course, he touched the items, so that is a moot point. Didn't see anyone else doing that, which is good, as I was worried that players wouldn't sign in fear. After they kicked us out of the arena, I waited a bit with some others and saw many of the players leaving, and had goalie Oscar Dansk sign the ticket stub. So not too much signed, but will aim to go back next Saturday evening.

    Photo of the Wolves autos:



    -arfmax

    Total IP autographs in 2020: 82

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