The Authentic Experience
When I was in 6th grade, I wanted to go to this basketball camp that Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were putting on. When my mom told me to call them and find out how much it was -- the $250 made her say "Absolutely not!"
As I got into autographs in the years that followed, I always wondered about athletes that do these sports camps in the city they play in. Some do them in the city they grew up in. Other athletes do golf events or other charity fundraisers.
In San Diego, Drew Brees always did a golf event, and even now that he's a Super Bowl winning QB for New Orleans, he still comes back to town for charity. They don't get any classier than him.
Well, our greatest running back ever, LaDanian Tomlinson, is now a New York Jet. But he showed up in town at a Lincoln Mercury dealership, something he's done for years now.
The owner said he was taking his car there for repairs, and he thought of doing a person autograph signing and meet-and-greet with customers and their families.
The last four years, they've done that, and included a dinner. The owner said tthat things were out of control after the first one. People were camping out in the streets, they brought a lot of items for LT to sign. So, they have it done now where you can take one photo with him, and only get one thing signed. I'm guessing nobody will complain, getting an item signed by the future Hall of Famer.
The owner is guessing with LT playing for the Jets, they probably won't be doing any future signings, but he'd love to keep it going.
I'm still putting off a Ford dealership in town that is co-owned by boxer Julia Cesar Chavez. He has done a few autograph signings that I didn't find out about until after the fact. When I called, they said I could drop an item off and he'd sign it. I've been burned a few times that way, though.
And I just can't imagine what kind of sales pitch I'm going to get when I actually do go in there.