Fans go extra mile for signed Fiba World Cup mementos
While most Filipino fans are already content with securing a ticket or two to watch the Fiba World Cup, some are making an effort to have something as a keepsake: A signature of one of their basketball heroes.
That has been evident among collectors since teams arrived in Manila for international basketball’s biggest showpiece, and that further heightened when Luka Doncic and Slovenia rolled into town after playing the first two rounds in Okinawa, Japan.
A video posted by Fiba showed Doncic signing items from trading cards to jerseys to Funko Pops and even a Slovenian flag before taking on Lithuania in the team’s first classification round games for fifth to eighth places.
“Nothing beats this feeling,” Darren Khoo said as he shared a photo of his Doncic card signed by the Dallas Mavericks on the Facebook group “The Cardboard Corner.”
Most collectors will likely keep those signed items as part of their personal collection, while others could capitalize by putting them on sale, given the rise in monetary value is such mementos.
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 7, 2023
Whatever the reason is, fans patiently wait at hotels where teams are billeted just to get that chance, including one collector who had already given up but was lucky enough to have a Grant Hill card signed by the USA Basketball managing director.
“I was browsing my phone thinking what a waste of effort,” Michael Jeffrey Uy said on the same Facebook group, adding that he had already booked a ride home. “And then at around 7:15 pm, he came into the lobby! I wasn’t ready, scrambled for sure, took the first card I saw and hoping he’d sign it to which he did.
“I wished Team USA good luck and he replied with a big ‘Thank you!’ and left. [Five] minutes later, my ride arrived. Still can’t believe what transpired. In the end, it was glorious for sure.”
Some of those too close to the teams due to their roles as volunteers, however, took their chance, even if it broke certain tournament protocols, by sneaking some collectibles while on duty. They even posted their successful attempts on social media, but with consequences. Their credentials were eventually revoked.
“It is important that volunteers have to maintain professionalism within the ranks,” a source said.
Doncic and Slovenia play their last game on Saturday while the Final is set the following day, and time is running out on those looking at even a just tiny chance to have something to keep, and to remember.