|Stephen Colston: How I Came to Own Nine Stromile Swift Jerseys
When I was four, maybe five, I spent an unforgettable day with my paternal grandmother.
Nanny had a couple large jars filled with coins, some of which were very old. Though this
was not so much a coin collection as a random stash of pennies, I was fascinated by the
collection’s sheer quantity. Working with a youthful enthusiasm and the perception that
age and uniqueness automatically meant value, the potential for discovering an old coin
different from the others kept me digging through Nanny’s pennies all morning and
afternoon long. The coolest coin I found was a Buffalo nickel, likely from the 1930s. Its
surface was worn to the point that it was probably worth little more than its face value
of five cents, but that didn’t matter to me — Nanny said Buffalo nickels were special,
and I found one. It seemed as though I had uncovered the needle in the haystack, and
this was extremely exciting. I kept this Buffalo nickel separate from the rest of Nanny’s
coins, effectively starting my first collection.
Although I never became a full-blown coin collector, I’ve collected just about everything
else. I amassed Hot Wheels, Legos, Star Wars cards and tiny ceramic turtles. I once even
tried to collect an entire live ant colony in an aquarium, but the queen evaded my capture.
Presently, I collect basketball things.
I began to accumulate NBA items about ten years ago, when I was in high school, and
have been building my collection ever since. My pace has been variable, but never have I
sold or completely ceased to buy. When assessing prospective additions to my collection,
I have a tendency to favor the obscure. The reasons for this are manifold.
In my never ending pursuit of basketball nostalgia, I primarily seek that which evokes
fond memories of the NBA of my youth, when my favorite players were the likes of
Stromile Swift, Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Kenyon Martin, Ricky Davis, Desmond
Mason, Jamal Crawford, Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson. From the standpoint of
practicality, my unusual fanhood has been a wonderful coincidence. It’s why I can
reasonably afford to collect the things I actually want to collect.
But why, exactly, do I actually want to collect these things? Why do I experience this
unusual impulse to own anything and everything Stromile Swift? Why, as a person who
is otherwise inclined to save his money, am I willing to make exception for such
incredibly impractical items? This, I feel, is much more difficult to explain than why I
collect in general. Lots of people collect; only I collect Stromile Swift. Why do I like
Even I struggled to understand why I like Stromile Swift. For this reason, I’ve often done
my best to avoid...CONTINUE READING AT THE DISS