One NFL player quit his job at age 28 despite the fact that professional sports is one of the most financially rewarding professions ever. Blake Martinez, however, had a plan for his life after hanging up his cleats for the final time, unlike many other athletes. It had everything to do with Pokémon cards and nothing to do with teaching, becoming a TV commentator, or leveraging his personal brand.
Martinez, who played for the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and Las Vegas Raiders, was an avid trader of the Japan-based cards for a long time, but he didn’t pick it back up until the epidemic started. Martinez describes how he rekindled his love of collecting in an as-told-to story for Business Insider.
“I lost track of collecting once I started playing football, but years later, when COVID-19 happened and everything started to skyrocket with trading cards, I called my mom to see what I had left,” Martinez writes. “She told me the cards had either been thrown away or given away, and that’s when I decided to get back into the hobby and start recollecting.”
When he started collecting once more, he saw that because to developments in technology like as Twitch streaming, he could turn his love in Pokémon into a legitimate business. He started working with the Whatnot platform, which enables users to sell whatever they gather for top pay by streaming their collection live on a digital marketplace. Martinez describes how he rekindled his love of collecting in an as-told-to story for Business Insider.
“I had a blast opening the packs for people on livestreams, and I realized you could actually make money doing it,” said Martinez. “At first, I thought people were just doing it for fun and nostalgia, which was my main reason for starting it. But I realized lots of people were into it and wanted to do it.”
The NFL athlete soon discovered that his passion for the game was waning since his body was starting to deteriorate and, even after great plays, his attention was diverted.
“As time went on, I called my agent and said both my knees are killing me, and I’m not really feeling this anymore,” Martinez added. “I’d just had a game where I had 11 tackles. I got done with the game and everybody was messaging me saying things like, ‘Hey, you had an amazing game,’ but all I could think about was which Pokémon card I was going to buy.”
The money isn’t bad though; as he recalls, his first collection cost him $50,000 but he sold the lot for $108,000. He enjoys turning his interest into a respectable career change. Then, when he sold one card for more than $500,000, he received a sizable payout.
“I had to wire money to a middleman in Japan who went to get the card for me, and I ended up having to FedEx it back. I didn’t even want to hold the card, so I got it graded and sent it straight to Goldin Auctions, where I sold it for $672,000 — and the rest is history,” recounts Martinez.
– Steve Sijenyi