ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Talan Smith's second break this summer turned out better than his first.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Talan Smith’s second break this summer turned out better than his first.
The 8-year-old from St. Louis suffered a broken arm not too long ago, but he felt a whole lot better on Thursday after participating in his first-ever group break — Panini America’s Free Kids Case Break — at the 36th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention. Smith and other kids aged 13 and under each received a Panini America bag, T-shirt and a lanyard which indicated their team in the break, run by Bryan Gavin of Ultimate Box Breaks.
Smith landed the Miami Heat in the 15-box break of 2014-15 Totally Certified Basketball and he came up big with four autographs — including a sweet Dwyane Wade signature — and three memorabilia cards. “I thought I was going to get some cool cards,” Smith said with a big smile. He was right.
Talan’s parents, Danny and Michelle, are regulars at the National, but this was their son’s first visit and the kids break added even more fun to the trip.
“He was extremely excited to get the Heat,” Danny Smith said of his son. “This has been cool. It’s all about the kids.”
Young collectors still have three more chances to join a free break on Friday (2014 Absolute Football) and two on Saturday (2014-15 Paramount Basketball and 2015 Clear Vision Football). Kids and parents lined up early on Thursday to secure a spot, so plan to visit the Panini booth early so you don’t miss out.
Kids weren’t the only ones getting in on the case break fun Thursday as some of the hobby’s best-known breakers anchored down in Panini America territory to broadcast live. Ultimate Box Breaks, K2 Sports Cards and Layton Sports Cards were first on deck to crack open a variety of products. Not only did the respective hosts crack a bunch of boxes, they also hosted Panini America’s own Tracy Hackler, David Porter, Scott Prusha and more made cameo appearances.
All of it continues Panini America’s commitment to the online breaking community which has continued to develop in recent years. The backing of an industry leader isn’t lost on Ken Kim, who started K2 three years ago and has run breaks from Panini America’s location at the National the last two years.
“It means so much for the breaker,” he said of the company’s support. “It’s a good environment. It’s fun.”
K2, which hosts basketball breaks and caters to a strong international following, busted a medley of Panini America hoops products Thursday including 2014-15 Paramount Basketball and 2014-15 Gold Standard Basketball with Hackler riding alongside chatting it up and showing off the best hits.
Live case breaks from the Panini booth continue through Saturday, so stop by to see when your favorite breakers will be making an appearance. In the meantime, check out the gallery and video below showcasing many of the highlights from Thursday’s action at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention.
Here are the images . . .
And here’s the video . . .