8 Athletes Who Collect Trading Cards

8 Athletes Who Collect Trading Cards

You know your favorite card, now discover who your favorite athletes are collecting too.
You know your favorite card, now discover who your favorite athletes are collecting too.

F or over a century, trading cards have been at the heart of how many sports fans express their fandom. Sports cards can encapsulate moments in time and evoke memories in an instant. Whether it be the smell of the ballpark on game day, a sensational game-winning play, moments of pure joy with loved ones at home or memories of those we have lost, cards allow us to hold the moments we hold so dear in our hands.

Many athletes count themselves among the millions of card collectors in the world, and they share many of the same reasons for collecting. Here are eight athletes who have the collecting journey and a bit more about their collections.

Tom Brady (Retired, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Quarterback, #12)

Tom Brady may be a prime target for football collectors (his most expensive card ever sold for $3.1 million back in 2021), but he is personally a big fan of baseball and baseball cards. Brady revealed back in October of 2023 that he had been into baseball cards since he was 10 years old and still had all of his old binders, which he had passed along to his kids.

One of the greatest football players of all time began his professional sports career as a draft pick for the Montreal Expos in 1995 (which was recently referenced in the latest Bowman Draft release, with a card depicting a young Brady in an Expos uniform) and has recently appeared at Topps Rip Night events in the New York-New Jersey area, opening packs with hobby enthusiasts while recounting his own collecting experiences. While baseball card collectors can only speculate on what might have been had he picked up the glove instead of football pads, it is fun to know that he counts himself a collector.

Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns, Small Forward, #35)

Kevin Durant has not been as public with his collection. However, the tantalizing glimpses we have gotten have been impressive. In February of 2021, over a year after Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident, Durant was presented with a card that Panini created and had Kobe Bryant sign prior to his passing; it also featured Kevin Durant. The card was made as a one of one. After being presented to Durant as a gift by Panini, the superstar promptly signed his half and completed a truly incredible dual-autographed card. Later in 2021, Durant consigned a card from his collection for auction. It was one of his rarest cards, a 2006 Topps Mcdonald’s All-American Autograph #B19. The card graded a PSA 9 and features the phrase “Durant Collection” in the bottom line of the certificate in the slab.

Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels, Center Field, #27)

Mike Trout may be a newcomer to the hobby, but he caught the bug quickly. Trout began collecting cards in order to build a collection for his son – yet he quickly became enamored and began collecting for himself. His personal collection focuses on his own cards and cards that center around key moments in his career. Perhaps his most interesting entry is his 2023 Topps Now #WBC-71, which was hand-numbered and signed by both himself and Shohei Ohtani. The card depicts the legendary at-bat where the then-teammates faced off in the final out of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Ohtani struck-out Trout, however both teammates recognized the historic moment. Hand-numbered to only three, Trout’s card features his own and Shohei Ohtani’s signatures with inscriptions, and only Trout, Ohtani and translator Ippei Mizuhara own the prized card. It graded a PSA 10 with Gem Mint 10 autographs and is certainly one of the greatest modern baseball cards out there!

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, Power Forward, #34)

Giannis announced his presence in the card-collecting community back in 2020 and did so with a bang! He released a video showing an impressive collection of his own cards, including a number of rare and valuable rookies. The following year, he followed that up by showing off some of his cards of his Bucks teammates, including Bobby Portis and Donte Divincenzo. The hobby world took notice, with brief spikes in both Portis’ and Divincenzo’s cards and a fan gifting Giannis a pack at a game in 2022. You never know – if you are looking for a Milwaukee Bucks card, especially a Giannis one, you may be competing against the man himself.

Bobby Witt Jr. (Kansas City Royals, Shortstop, #7)

Bobby Witt Jr. has been a card collector since he was a kid, and that enthusiasm has not dropped one iota. Growing up looking through cards of his father (himself a Major League Pitcher for 15 years), Witt spent many childhood weekends searching through local hobby shops and opening boxes from family runs to Target. Since becoming a Major Leaguer, Witt has been the centerpiece of his own eponymous Topps release and has become PSA’s only athlete brand ambassador to date. Both for his play and his love of card collecting, it is safe to say that Witt will be a part of the hobby for many years to come.

Evan Longoria (Arizona Diamondbacks, 3rd Base)

Like many, Evan Longoria’s card obsession started amid the crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic. With an unusual amount of free-time in the summer, he started by buying Pokémon cards to open with his two sons, and the rest was history. He quickly became enthralled with the thrill of opening packs. He first started by looking for boxes at his local Target and Walmart and then narrowing his search to cards that intrigued him personally. Longoria is active in the hobby, both in and out of the clubhouse with multiple teammates, including the young star Corbin Carroll, who credit Longoria with the beginning of their own collecting journeys. Longoria’s collection includes many cards of himself, which he often saves for his kids, as well as all-time greats like Mike Trout and F1 and football cards. A reliable presence on the baseball diamond and in his local hobby store, it is safe to say that Longoria’s impact on the hobby has been a strong one in more ways than one.

Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham FC, Centre Back, #4)

Another keen hobbyist athlete is Tosin Adarabioyo. The defender from Fulham FC has joined the fast-growing trading card scene in the UK and collects broadly from soccer (or football) to basketball to Pokémon and even Harry Potter. Tosin has a separate Instagram for card collecting and is proud to own two of his 1/1 parallels. His favorite set is the Blank Slate set featured in Panini Court Kings basketball. He has begun attending card shows in the UK, so when he is not on the pitch, he may be looking at dealer tables for his next acquisition.

AJ Dillon (Green Bay Packers, Running Back, #28)

AJ Dillon is one of the most enthusiastic athletes in the hobby. Originally a collector of cards and comic books when he was a kid, his love for cards was reignited in 2021, inspiring him to create a dedicated Instagram account, Dillon’s Deals. Since, he has created his collection’s own website and has opened a virtual store for cards, where he signs his own card if you get it in a pack. Dillon showed his love for the hobby recently when he revealed via X (formerly Twitter) that he had some special inscriptions for lucky collectors who pull his cards in Panini products, including the upcoming 2023 Panini Immaculate Collection Football release. His personal collection includes his own 1/1 cards (which he looks forward to showing his kids someday), Justin Herbert, Jordan Love and Shohei Ohtani.

With the sport of collecting, you find passion from both the players and their fans across all facets of the industry. Do you and your favorite player have the same passion for the same card? Do you want to hold the same cards in your collection as some of the greats? Do you have any hidden treasures in your collection? Come and make history at Sotheby’s with your life-long passion of card collecting.

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