As I remember it, the decision to buy my white Ron Artest Sacramento Kings jersey was not a reasoning one. The decision to buy a basketball jersey, as someone who will probably only ever wear it during the six days per year that I am at or near a beach, is inherently not a reasonable one. And yet I remember seeing it, hung on the end of a long rack of shirts—Bar Mitzvah giveaways and Mets Free Shirt Friday detritus and corporate fun-run handouts and the like—in my local Goodwill. It felt auspicious. The jersey fit, although if I am being honest that is not really a big consideration for me when it comes to buying things like this. It is a matter of feel, and this felt right.
I was not thinking in terms of return on investment in this case, because I was not thinking at all. More than three years later, though, I was presented with a unique opportunity. My co-worker Dom Cosentino, who is not credentialed or expert in any way in this area, offered to assess the value of my jersey on the new series we’re calling Antiques Shitshow. This week, and in weeks to come, members of the extended Deadspin family will bring in their treasured collectibles and Dom, who honestly has no patience for any of this shit or any of us, will give us his best estimate at what we’re working with. I led off with Ron because it is one of the crown jewels of my collection. Dom, literally and figuratively, was the first person to spot the mysterious brown stains on it.
If there were more used record stores near me, I would probably own fewer shirts and more records. It’s the process that’s the thing, and this has been true for as long as I have had and honored the impulse to go into unpleasantly lit spaces and just kind of leaf through things I don’t want in search of something that I do. Record stores closed, the thrift stores stayed open, and suddenly I found myself in my early middle age as a guy with 21 near-identical shirts and a bunch of jerseys that I will never ever wear out of the house. I have them for the same reason I have crates of old records, which is that some lizard part of my brain mashed a red WANT button and, at some crucial moment after that, I was unable or unwilling to talk myself out of buying them. I honor Dom’s assessment of this item, and I respect his judgment. I also know what my personal collection of garbage is worth, and know that monetary value has very little to do with it. That said, if you have a trade in mind you know where to reach me.