Make room for Michael
On Oct. 6, 1993, Michael Jordan retired for the first time. And on Oct. 6, 1993, Jordan gained an adamant 12-year-old admirer in Tonganoxie.
Brett Becker already was a fan. But on that day in 1993, he decided to start collecting Michael Jordan memorabilia. He became even more serious about his collection during the next few years.
Now, the 18-year-old Tonganoxie High School senior's collection is more than just a collection.
"He is obviously the best player ever," Becker said. "I started with collecting just a few magazines."
One visit to his room will convince anyone.
Upon entering his room, all a visitor sees are Jordan's eyes and face.
To the right and left, Becker has about 150 magazines lining the walls. He tries to hunt down any magazine with Jordan on the cover.
Becker cuts Jordan's photograph out of magazines, if he has more than one of the publication. With his cutout pictures, Becker meticulously creates collages.
Becker's oldest piece is a 1983-84 issue of Sporting News. He estimates his magazine collection is worth about $600.
But Becker's collection consists of more than just magazines. He has a collector's series of four plates, which he displays side-by-side to create a scene. His plates are worth about $200.
"My parents were worried about the money that I have spent," he said. "But at least it is not used for a bad habit."
Becker demonstrates no sign of a bad habit. He has a 4.0 grade-point average, started every basketball game last year, is class president and was crowned homecoming king this year.
Becker has about 1,200 Jordan cards, numerous posters, T-shirts, figurines and other collectible items. He even has a pair of baby Air Jordan shoes.
His family likes to give him Jordan paraphernalia for birthdays and Christmas, but that is not always a safe bet because he just about has it all.
"The best part is when someone brings something to me and I tell them, 'I already have it,'" he said. "It really blows people away."
Ironically, Becker never has met Jordan. He did see him play once in a pre-season game at Allen Fieldhouse on the Kansas University campus.
"I still hope to meet him some day," he said.
Once his older brother, David, left for college, Becker moved into his brother's old room.
"I guess I wanted a normal room to sleep in," Becker said. "It is kind of hard to sleep sometimes with all the eyes staring at you."