In many ways, 15-year-old card collectors Bryce McMahon and his father, Andy, are just like millions of fathers and children who bond through collecting sports memorabilia and making trips to their local hobby shop. But unlike the thousands of collectors who live in the Los Angeles area, when it comes to their NBA fandom, the McMahons root for the Lakers’ hated rival — the Boston Celtics.
That’s why, when Bryce was selected from nearly 100,000 collectors at 400 hobby shops nationwide as the 2017 Panini NBA Player of the Day National Grand Prize Winner, the team at Panini America had their work cut out for them to find a player that would appeal to Los Angeles basketball fans as well as to Bryce and Andy.
So, for Panini America it was time to think big. Really big. In fact, company officials needed the biggest player ever to don the purple and gold and the green and white. Although Rick, Fox, Bob McAdoo, Charlie Scott, Gary Payton and Don Nelson all qualified, Panini America officials knew that there was someone even bigger, both in name and stature: Shaquille O’Neal, aka the Big Shamrock, The Diesel, The Big Aristotle, The Big Fella.
To announce Bryce as the 2017 Panini NBA Player of the Day Grand Prize Winner, Panini America and MVP Sports Cards partnered for a special Panini America case break on August 5 for the shop’s loyal customers, including Bryce and Andy. After the first case break was complete, it was time to share the news with Bryce, Andy and the rest of the customers at MVP Sports Cards.
The ruse began when Bryce and Andy were announced as winners of a prize drawing and awarded a Panini NBA Player of the Day Jaylen Brown autographed card. That was followed by MVP Sports Cards’ Debbie Neumann making the surprise announcement from Panini America that Bryce was the 2017 Panini NBA Player of the Day Grand Prize Winner and will spend a day with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal in early October. After the crowd erupted and Bryce and Andy high-fived, Neumann shared the details.
The event will include a private party at the family’s home for 25 friends and family members, a shopping spree for Panini America NBA trading cards and then a limousine ride with Shaq to MVP Sports Cards for an autograph session for the shop’s best customers. As a special treat, all of the collectors who attended the case break event were awarded a free Shaq autograph ticket.
“When I was announced as the NBA Player of the Day Grand Prize winner, I was in absolute shock,” said Bryce. “I remember participating in the NBA Player of the Day contest pretty well. In fact, I won a Larry Nance Jr. auto and that was pretty cool. It had been so long since me or my dad had heard anything about the sweepstakes, so we were definitely blown away when we heard the news.”
“We are so happy that Bryce, Andy and the rest of our great loyal customers will get this amazing experience,” said Gregg Neumann, owner of MVP Sports Cards. “Andy has been a customer since the 1990s — even before Bryce was born. Our collectors love the Player of the Day promotion so it’s exciting to share this special day with all of them. We never could have imagined someone like Shaq visiting our shops. He’s a great player and a fan favorite. We’ve known for a few weeks and we’re still giddy about it.”
Close to 100,000 card collectors at 350 hobby shops across the country participated in the second annual Panini NBA Player of the Day promotion this spring. Last year, Brian Bolanda of Apple Valley, Minn., parlayed his lucky pack of Panini America NBA trading cards into spending the day with Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns.
“Many people collect Panini America NBA trading cards because it brings them closer to the players. That will surely become a reality for the McMahon family when Shaquille O’Neal is sitting in their living room,” said Jason Howarth, Vice President of Marketing for Panini America. “We want to thank MVP Sports Cards and the 400 other shops that enthusiastically supported the Panini NBA Player of the Day promotion this year.”
The centerpiece of the Panini NBA Player of the Day promotion is a poster featuring Panini America card images of one player from each of the 30 NBA teams and Panini spokesmen Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant as “wild cards.” Each day, a different player on the poster is designated as the “Panini NBA Player of the Day.” Every time a collector purchases a pack of officially licensed Panini America NBA trading cards and pulls the player of the day or a wild card, they won a prize. Each week, stores conduct a drawing from the daily winners to award a weekly prize. Then, at the end of the month-long promotion, each store awarded a grand prize to its store winner and entered them into the national sweepstakes.
Each participating shop received a free merchandise kit with all of the materials needed to run the promotion, including; promotional posters, shopping bags, exclusive Panini NBA POD promo packs, T-shirts, water bottles, tote bags and an exclusive Panini NBA POD autograph card from top young stars slabbed in a protective case by Beckett Grading Services.
Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance, the Panini America social media channels and the @PaniniPOD Twitter account for complete coverage of Shaq’s big day. For more information about the Panini Player of the Day promotion, visit www.PaniniPOD.com.