How 3 Gamblers Struck Gold by Landing LeBron James Logoman Trading Card & What the Payout Might Be
LeBron James (Getty Images)
On Friday, May 6, Jason Hickey is in New York, Kevin Parker is in Utah and Zach Capp is sitting in Las Vegas. They didn’t know each other in the slightest, but moments later become connected forever thanks to the most sought-after card pulled out of a pack.
It was then that they became the owners of the elusive LeBron James Logoman. Soon, they’ll share millions after investing just over $1,000 each.
This is the story of their night, their future and the card that has the whole hobby talking.
As high-end trading cards made a huge comeback during the COVID Era, one of the cottage industries that emerged were breakers. Breakers secure high-end boxes and sell spots off. Those spots are slot numbers in a card pack –either randomly or by auctioning off teams.
Depending on the year, teams with the most coveted stars would go for the most money. The margins were huge, but for those buying a spot, it was a mitigated gamble. If they didn’t hit, they weren’t out tens of thousands of dollars from a box.
“It costs so much to buy a certain box or case, it’s a really bad game,” Parker said. “So instead of buying the box, the break makes it more affordable and sometimes you can pick your teams.”
With competition high, breakers, who stream the opening live and then send the buyer their cards, knew that future business was linked to two things — attention they could gain from social media when they hit the big score and entertainment value.
One of the big winners in breaking has been Backyard Breaks, which managed to be the most followed account on the popular new streaming selling platform WhatNot. Thanks to being entertaining and awarding their big winners with the Golden Ticket — which enables them a trip to see the Backyard Breakers, eat dinner and break with them — they’ve emerged as one of the best in-class with personalities like JMo, Nicky Sleeves and Nicky Ripz.
Frequent followers and buyers of their breaks are Hickey (jhic), Parker (Kopp99) and Capp (Kingmitz).
The biggest chase card in the business was already known — the Panini Flawless LeBron Logoman card, which featured NBA logo patches from game-used uniforms that LeBron wore for each of his teams: the Cavs Heat and Lakers.
For four months, no one had hit it. Breakers, sites and even Drake, who probably bought more boxes than any single person, were all getting antsy.
To motivate breakers to get it on their platform, WhatNot announced “Flawless Week.” If the LeBron Logoman was hit on their platform, they would give the breaker a $330,000 Lamborghini Huracan.
Backyard Breakers bought five cases, with two boxes per case, for $200,000.
The break that night included football and basketball with buyers, essentially getting cities. In some cases, buyers can pay a premium for specific teams in hopes of cashing in on the big names.
On this night, the teams were randomly selected with bidding taking place before each draw. Bidders know which teams are available, but they don’t know which will get drawn on their bid.
Capp, a filmmaker whose penchant for gambling and love of cards got him interested in breaks, landed Miami early with a $1,400 bid. That earned him any Dolphins and Heat players.
With four teams left, Cleveland and Los Angeles were among them. Knowing there was a chance to land something from the Rams, Lakers, Browns or Cavaliers, Parker bid up for $1,800 and sure enough pulled Los Angeles.
Hickey bid $1,400 for the next reveal, which happened to be Cleveland to pick up any Cavs and Browns. He later bid another $1,800 in hopes of hitting Memphis, thus having a chance to pull a Ja Morant.
None of the men have been particularly blessed with luck in their lives.
Parker still remembers the magic of pulling a 1986 Jose Canseco Donruss Rated Rookie as a kid and Hickey won a Nintendo console at school in the sixth grade.
“It’s the only thing I ever really won,” said Hickey, who found out 10 years later that the school rigged it, hoping to boost him up after his father had recently passed away.
The Panini Logoman is the modern day grail. A 1/1 Luka Doncic signed Logoman from the 2018-19 Panini National Treasures set sold in Feb. 2021 for $4.6 million, the record for a modern card. For the 2020-21 collection, Panini created five triple Logoman cards, including the LeBron James card. Although unsigned — James has an exclusive with Upper Deck — many had speculated that the card would top the Doncic and maybe even the Honus Wagner to become the most valuable card of all time.
Here’s why this LeBron Triple Logoman is the single most important modern trading card ever produced 👑
— Ken Goldin (@KenGoldin) June 15, 2022
Each Flawless box has 10 cards, an inner pack of eight and two encased on the outside. It is believed in the hobby that the worse the inner pack is, the better the two cards on the outside will be.
“This pack is such shit,” the breaker they call JMo recalled saying. “This is going to be the LeBron logo man or something massive.”
JMo saw the indicators — it was horizontal like the logoman is — and a Heat logo.
“And move it down and there it is!” JMo said.
As JMo screamed, the three men stared at their phones in shock.
Because they each had a team in the logoman, they split rights to the card in thirds.
Parker and Hickey are dropping F-bombs, while Capp is sitting there frozen.
“We became the Logoman brothers,” Capp said.
After the card was rushed to a safe location, the three quickly got together in person with the Backyard Breakers and worked on their future.
“The lawyers were the worst part, but we didn’t get into any fights,” Kevin said. “The love of the hobby immediately bonded us.”
After agreeing they would sell it, they made a deal with Goldin Auctions. While terms of the deal are confidential, Ken Goldin told the Action Network that the deal given was a deal that is commensurate with any card that would sell more than $1 million.
With two days to go in the auction, the top bid, with buyer’s premium, is $2.16 million. Assuming it closes on Saturday, and a sweetheart deal with Goldin, each “Logoman Brother” will make more than $650,000 each.
Hickey will put some money into 529 education plans for his two children, while the others plan on making some investments and donating some money to worthy causes to pay their luck forward.
As for the Backyard Breakers, they’re going to take the cash for the Lamborghini and hitting the LeBron logoman has boosted their business and viewership significantly.
Goldin says he finds it comical how many in the hobby are now bashing the card, including calling attention to the fact that it was graded “authentic” because the condition wasn’t good enough to give it a 10.
“There’s a lot of negativity in this hobby and a lot of jealousy from the people that didn’t pull it,” Golden said. “The fact is that there has never been a more valuable card that has come directly out of a pack in the year that it was offered.”