TEMPE, AZ — Part of the joy of seeing the hometown team in the NBA finals is collecting memorabilia.
The sports trading card business was already booming during the pandemic but now the Phoenix Suns have added more sunshine to one local shop in Tempe.
"Good stuff, man...can't complain. I love seeing happy people," says Pete Liu, the owner of Showtime Sports Cards in Tempe. "We've been in business for over 30 years and this is really exciting."
Since he was a kid, trading cards was Liu's way of getting his hands on coveted collector cards and making money. So in 1991, he opened up Showtime Sports Cards.
"It's like buying penny stocks you know," he adds.
Inside his store, you can find almost any sports or video game card, but right now it's all about the Suns.
"The Suns are playing well, everyone wants to talk Phoenix Suns," says Liu.
Here you will find cards from the players in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and, of course, those young players that have turned into an overnight sensation in 2021.
"This card right here five years ago was about $50, and because of how rare it is, less than 10 available...if the Suns win, this card could be $50,000 plus."
Adding to the card's value is how pristine the condition is, with a grading scale from 1-10. Liu does admit that while some are here for the value of the cards, other fans are here for their player.
"I have many Suns fans that come in saying they don't care what eBay sells for, they just want their player," he adds.
And then there are those who simply come in to take a look at what's inside, like a Steve Nash jersey that was worn during a game. Those who come in, Liu says, are mesmerized by the momentum in the Valley.
"...Last time they were there was 29 years ago," adds Liu. "We are in it. This is the year."