By Jake Appleman

When I was a kid, I used to collect basketball cards. And when I say “collect basketball cards”, I mean that many school days ended with, “I’m going to the card store, I’ll be back in time for dinner…Work on my game? The court will always be there; the store closes in four hours.” This habit lasted into my early teens.

Some people grew up shoe fiends. I grew up obsessing over whether or not I’d be able to see my face in the reflection of a refractor. Topps Finest, I loved you. Fleer Ultra, I think we dated. Upper Deck, collecting you was more fun than sitting in you. Bowman’s Best, I think you were my baby, but you never treated me right. UD3, you were the fake boobs of the card industry. Skybox, you did you, and I still have respect for you even though it didn’t work out between us.

Collecting became an addiction. Pulling inserts became the new gambling—I would feel around the box for the pack that felt different until the guy behind the counter yelled at me. And then the market over expanded itself. More importantly, I stopped caring.

Also important to my loss of interest in the card game: the star of my collection was and still is Penny Hardaway.

This reality completely debunked the saying, “A Penny saved is a Penny earned.”

A Penny saved is a childhood stab wound.