The Beckett Blog


Southern California family completes 1,170 monster Michael Jordan set by Susan Lulgjuraj

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Josh Rosen has always loved Michael Jordan – even though he never saw him play.

Jordan has that effect on people even long after he retired from the Chicago Bulls in 1998, the year before Josh was born. Jordan came back and played for the Washington Wizards from 2001-03, but he was never the player he was while in Chicago.

That doesn’t matter to basketball fans. We all remember Jordan shooting over defenders, scoring whenever he wanted and celebrating with a cigar in his mouth.

That’s No. 23. That’s what Josh knows about — arguably the greatest basketball player ever.

Josh is a huge basketball fan and began heavily collecting Jordan’s cards five years ago when he was 7 years old. His mother, Karen, picked up different Jordan pieces for him here and there, but the two decided to go after the ultimate Jordan collection almost two years ago.

They chased the 2008-09 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Legacy Collection, which chronicles every game Jordan played with the Chicago Bulls including the postseason.

The Rosens began their card hunt almost two years ago and finally completed the set last week. Josh found the last card he needed after he made a post on Upper Deck’s Facebook wall.

There, stepped in Walker Neilson, who had just six Jordan Legacy cards in his collection.

And one of them was No. 409.

“I could tell he was excited to get in contact with me to make a deal for it,” said Neilson, a 16-year-old from Hillsboro, Ore. “I can definitely sympathize because I know how it feels when someone says they have a card you really need. I emailed him right away.”

Neilson, who collects Memphis Grizzlies F/C Zach Randolph, sent him the card without asking for anything in return because he received his Jordan Legacy cards free. Neilson won a contest for a 2009-2010 Upper Deck SP Game-Used Basketball hobby box on Upper Deck’s Facebook page.

“I thought it was fitting that the final card came from their Facebook page and it found its rightful home through the same place,” Neilson said. “He offered to make a deal for it, but I thought that because I got the box for free, I should just send the card to him. I can tell it means much more to him than to me.”

Josh and Karen posted on forums, including Beckett.com, to find cards. They met others who chased the same set and traded doubles with many collectors. But it seemed as many got close to the end, they were all after the same cards.

When the Rosens got to around five cards left, they searched all over the Internet looking for them. That’s when they found CheckOutMyCards.com.

“I purchased three elusive cards (there),” Karen said.

The Michael Jordan Legacy Collection was packed out in different sets throughout 2009. It was included in products such as Lineage, Radiance, Upper Deck and First Edition. Each card included Air Jordan’s box score statistics and historical significance of the game. The cards fell at an average of one in every four packs.

Karen doesn’t want to think about how much money the 1,170-card set cost her. She said she paid as little as $1 for a card and as much $4 for others, which the cards book for.

“At this point, while I hate to admit it, I’ve probably spent at least $3,500 building the set,” she said. “If I knew it was more, which it probably is, I’d kick myself!”

But she started the collection as way to bond with her son, the sports enthusiast. You can’t put a price on the relationship between a parent and a child.

“We both thought the set would be fun,” Karen said. “I started it both as a project to do with my son, but also because I am also a sports lover and was the one who was able to see Jordan play.”

The Rosens are from southern California and have had season tickets to the Los Angeles Clippers for seven years. Josh is an avid memorabilia collector and his room looks more like a sports museum with game-worn shoes and jerseys given to him after NBA games.

Jordan, sports and collecting cards were the way to go for the Rosens. They completed and chased other sets such Upper Deck’s Exquisite lines.

“For the 2006-07 Exquisite set, we opened up at least 15 cases, which was just crazy but fun,” Karen said. “We’ve built the 2007-08 Exquisite set and are still working to complete the 2008-09 set. We’ve also done Topps Sterling, Ultimate Basketball and Baseball and have purchased cards that Joshua just likes.”

Upper Deck has done these types of sets through the years where the cards are packed out through several products. They did it with the Yankee Stadium Legacy cards where every game played at the old Yankee Stadium was chronicled.

Jordan is such an amazing figure, there was no doubt collectors would chase this set.

He was a five-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA First Team member, nine-time All-Defensive team member, 14-time All-Star and he won 10 scoring titles. Jordan also holds the record for the highest career regular season scoring average with 30.12 points per game.

If that wasn’t enough, Jordan also won six NBA titles (named Finals MVP every time) and was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

According to Upper Deck’s Sports Marketing & Social Media Manager Chris Carlin, the Rosens are likely the first  to complete the set. Upper Deck has not received reports about anyone else completing the Upper Deck Michael Jordan Legacy Collection.

“We knew there would be Jordan collectors out there who would try and put it together,” Carlin said. “It’s a great achievement for sure and a wonderful way to chronicle the career of one of the world’s greatest athletes.”

Upper Deck was in a difficult spot with the set. When their NBA card license wasn’t renewed, the company didn’t want to focus its resources in an area where they were no longer a current competitor. Instead, they focused more on hockey, the only major professional sport where they have a license.

But Upper Deck didn’t quit helping collectors especially those whose favorite player is Jordan.

“We absolutely treasure our relationship with Michael Jordan. Having exclusive partnerships with top stars like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and others show that Upper Deck and Upper Deck Authenticated remains a force in the world of trading cards and collectibles,” Carlin said. “We are excited to continue bringing our worldwide collectors with innovative new cards and collectibles of these superstars.”

Have you completed a huge set? Send your story and links to photos to Readersrock@beckett.com.

Susan Lulgjuraj is a contributing editor for Beckett Media. You can email Susan here. Follow her on Twitter here.

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I hardly find this amazing. This family obviously has tremendous resources at their disposal. Far beyond those of regular collectors. Game-used memorabilia collections are not cheap and neither is busting 15 cases of Exquisite basketball.

Comment by The Card Investor

Wow… that’s awesome! Congratulations to that family… that is one amazing feat. I wonder how they plan on displaying it.

Comment by sanjosefuji

[…] Josh Rosen has always loved Michael Jordan – even though he never saw him play. The Beckett Blog […]

Pingback by Southern California family completes 1,170 monster Michael Jordan set - Information about trading cards - tradingcardsfans.com

Congratulations! Karen & Josh,
This is Amazing! try to build this 1170 insert card set & I am a regular collector (need 4)
It’s been a real pleasure trading with you!!

Comment by Lew

Congrats! We just received our last card in the mail today! What a fun chase!

Comment by Justin




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