NFL Pro Retires After Selling Pokémon Card Value Over $650,000


An NFL player screams at a large and rare Pokémon card.

Photo: Goldin / The Pokémon Company / Kotaku / Eric Espada (Getty Images)

Playing within the NFL is hard and plenty of players leave due to career-ending injuries or bad seasons. But after seven years within the league, Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez has retired mid-season for a distinct reason: He’s making enough money selling Pokémon cards—recently selling a really rare card for nearly $700,000—and doesn’t need the income he gets from playing anymore.

Las Vegas Raiders player Blake Martinez shocked many fans when he announced last week that he was retiring from the NFL on the relatively young age of 28. He was first drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2016. Following 4 years with Green Bay, he joined the Latest York Giants in 2020 before suffering a torn ACL in 2021. He was released shortly after, and joined the Las Vegas Raiders where he appeared to be doing well this season. In his last game before his retirement, he racked up 11 tackles. Nevertheless, selling Pokémon cards appears to be Martinez’s true passion—not to say a reasonably good source of income for him—and he’s focusing more on that now.

As reported by Dexerto, two weeks before announcing his retirement mid-season, the NFL pro sold a particularly rare and precious Pokémon Illustrator card for a hefty sum. Last month, the cardboard was graded a 9.5 “Gem Mint” quality rating, making it among the best examples of this coveted card. On October 29 the cardboard—which Martinez nicknamed “The Swirllustrator” due to two small swirl marks in the cardboard’s artwork—was sold via Goldin auctions for a whopping $672,000.

Yes, this is identical kind of rare card that Logan Paul paid over $5 million for earlier this 12 months and wore around his neck during Wrestlemania in April, although his was graded a ten, or perfect quality.

Read More: The Top 12 Most Worthwhile Pokémon Cards In History

Still, this can be a big sale, and hardly Martinez’s first time buying and selling Pokémon cards. The previous NFL player is a giant fan of the cards and has been collecting them for years, though in 2020, within the midst of the pandemic, his love for collecting and selling was reignited. He opens old and recent card packs on his Instagram and shares his finds online incessantly. The truth is, Martinez claims to have found the rare “Swirllustrator” during considered one of these pack openings. The professional player also has a collectible card business, buying and selling rare cards online.

“I actually have chosen to step away from this profession right now to give attention to my family and future passions,” explained Martinez in his retirement post on Instagram. It appears his “passion” is using the wealth he made within the NFL to purchase and sell rare Pokémon cards. And truthfully, I’m completely happy for the guy. He’s far less prone to suffer a terrible concussion while buying rare Pikachu cards online.

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