During the two Celtics basketball games last week they had an announcement of an upcoming autograph appearance by a quartet of C’s to promote the launch of the new Reebok Ubuntu line of apparel. I love events like this and so I made plans to leave work early and head on down to Modell’s to pick up some autographs. I forgot to pack my digital camera so there aren’t any pictures to go with the post. I bought a disposable camera so once I finish the roll and get it developed I may eventually have pictures to share.
The event was scheduled to begin at 4:30. When I arrived around 3:20, the line was already winding around half of the perimeter of the store. There was a requirement of an Ubuntu t-shirt purchase, but paying $20 for a t-shirt and four autographs isn’t too bad. The main thing that made it bearable was the fact that a portion of the proceeds was going to the Shamrock Foundation and they do a lot of good things in the community.
While waiting in line I got to say hi to Celtics announcer Willie Maye who didn’t seem to be as popular with the crowd as his NBA Championship ring was. They do some amazing work with those rings. The wait wasn’t too bad. The bad weather delayed the players a little bit, but they arrived and started signing right around 5.
First up was Kendrick Perkins. I’m not a huge fan of Perk. He’s got too many bad habits that keep him from even becoming an average player. He turns down way too many open shots and almost always pulls the ball down after catching a pass instead of going right up with it which gives the defender time to react. He just doesn’t have the natural basketball IQ that you see in guys like Rajon Rondo, Ryan Gomes and Glen Davis. These guys always seem to find the open teammate and know how to sneak in there for rebounds they have no business getting. I only had glossy cards of Perk and even though I spent a while erasing away the gloss, the Sharpie still streaked a little.
The next player in the line was Brian Scalabrine. This is a player that I’ve always liked even though the majority of fans disliked him when he first came to Boston. The main reason for the dislike was a contract that many thought was too big. It’s not their money and it wasn’t a crippling contract like the one the Celtics gave Vin Baker years ago so I didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about. Scal always plays full out. He’s a big guy who can hit the three and stretch out defenses. He can play tough down in the post and doesn’t often make stupid mistakes. Now that the Celtics are winning, many of the new fans have hopped on the Scalabrine bandwagon and he has become a fan favorite. He’s currently on the injured list because of post concussion syndrome which isn’t something you often see in the NBA.
Scal enjoyed the card that I brought for him to sign and joked with Perk that it was “a rare card of me dunking.” Basketball cards are usually dark if the background isn’t the floor and that can make it tough to see black Sharpie on them. Scal signed it in a good place though and it came out nicely on this non-glossy Bazooka card.
Third in line was Leon Powe. Powe and Davis were relatively unknown last season and due to that many “pundits” picked the Lakers over the Celtics. Once people saw the bench of Powe, Davis, P.J. Brown and James Posey completely dominate and overpower the Lakers bench, it was clear that the Lakers didn’t stand a chance. After a bit of a rough start to the season, Powe has picked up his game as of late and the timing couldn’t be better since Garnett has been out with an injury. All I had for Powe to sign was a glossy card from the same Upper Deck team set that the Perkins card came from.
Last, and definitely not least, was the main reason that I went to the signing. “Big Baby” Glen Davis was there complete with his big goofy grin. I took a liking to Davis during his rookie season and have been a fan ever since. He’s the kind of guy that always seems to pop up on championship teams. He dives for loose balls, makes perfect passes to open teammates, gets offensive rebounds with four opponents surrounding him and always busts his ass out there. He’s been the biggest beneficiary of minutes with both Garnett and Scalabrine injured and he hasn’t disappointed. Unfortunately, it looks like he might miss a few games after spraining his ankle again the Magic in a game the Celtics lost due to an already depleted roster.
I knew right away that I wanted Big Baby to sign my new Topps Murad card. I love the set and his card is a great one. His eyes lit up when I placed the card in front of him. He asked me what it was and I told him what set it was from. He elbowed Powe and said, “Oh yeah, somebody’s getting backed down.” The autograph just pops off of the Murad card and looks great.
It was all a blur and it was over before I even realized it. I had a blast and I especially liked seeing the athletes appreciate the cards that I brought for them to sign. One thing that I noticed right away, which is related to something that Mario over at Wax Heaven had been talking about, is that Davis’ signature differed from what I had on cards that he had signed for Topps and Upper Deck. It’s not a huge difference and it’s not an illegible squiggle like Mario had encountered with some players, but it is different. Here are a couple of autographed cards for reference:
It might just be something that Davis changed as he started signing more autographs. The new signature isn’t bad at all. Sure, it’s just “GD 11",” but it’s not like his old signature was all that great to begin with. There’s even a good deal or variance between the Upper Deck and Topps cards. That could have something to do with the bumpy surface of the Upper Deck card though.