I saw this card pop up on another blog and thought that I had already posted it, but that turned out not to be the case. I was a big fan of Dino Radja when he played for the Celtics in 90s. The only problem is that he was drafted in 1989 and didn’t join the Celtics until 1993. Radja was named to the All-Rookie second team and had a decent career with the Celtics. After three and a half seasons, the Celtics attempted to trade Radja to the 76ers for Clarence Weatherspoon, but Radja failed his physical and decided to return to Europe.
This makes Radja just another on a list of Celtics “what if”s. What if Radja had come to the NBA right after getting drafted? Would the better conditioning programs here have led to a longer career? Would learning the NBA game earlier in his career have made him a better player? Would he not have been as good without those years in Europe before coming to the NBA? There’s no way of knowing for sure, but the questions will always be there.
I collected Radja’s cards while he was with the Celtics, but once he disappeared from the NBA, my interest disappeared as well. In recent years, I’ve picked up some Radja cards here and there as they pop up. I’ve picked up refractors and some rarer insert cards, but there’s a severe lack of what would be classified as “hits” these days. Radja still doesn’t have a jersey card, but Upper Deck did produce this autographed card in the 2007-08 Chronology set which just might be the best modern basketball card set. I watched this card for a while, waiting for my moment to pounce. A card was posted from the Philippines which tends to drive bidders away. I ended up winning the card for $2.25 plus $4.00 for shipping. The only problem was that the estimated delivery date was past the one month window that you’ve got to dispute an auction. I took a chance though because the price couldn’t be beat. By the time the card arrived, I had forgotten all about it. It turned out that it was worth the chance and the wait. Due to his short career, many basketball fans may not even know who he is, but this card quickly became one of my favorites.