By David Yarger
Co-Host “The Chase”
It’s Wednesday, my dudes, and that means another episode of “The Chase” is in the books. Today it was an action packed episode, including an interview with our guy over in Germany, Kiki of B-Brothers.
Kiki, for those who don’t know, is quite possibly the biggest Kobe Bryant collector of all time. He’s met the Mamba and even been to his last game, and is full of stories. Kiki gave us an inside look at the hobby experience overseas and how he began his shop.
While Kiki has always been huge into the hobby, his shop didn’t come to fruition until the pandemic. He had always run hotels and restaurants and had very little time for any other endeavors, but once the pandemic arose, Kiki said his restaurant and hotel was closed for the time being, leading to him and his brother, Ivan, who is an artist, deciding they should begin investing in their hobby.
“There was a store that was empty for many, many years, and we said we should take the store and make a trading card store and art gallery out of the area,” Kiki said. “We came up with this idea and my parents and family members were in a great mood about it, we bought it and we opened this beautiful store.”
Kiki added, the name “B-Brothers” came from the family last name, Beslic, and then Kiki and Ivan being twin brothers made it simple to call it B-Brothers.
Kiki said it was vitally important to create a store to welcome all collectors in Europe.
“We needed to create a store, a spot for collectors to come together. And it’s overwhelming every day. People are coming from all over Europe, all over Germany to visit us,” Kiki said.
Now going from the restaurant/hotel business is no walk in the park, but Kiki said the experiences helped big time with aspects such as customer service. Additionally, he mentioned the businesses could become stressful, whereas the card shop doesn’t even feel like work and it’s a joy to come into the shop day in and day out.
Kiki stayed busy, though, as the shop opened, mentioning he’d start work at 6 a.m. at the hotel, go to the card shop at 11:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and then close the restaurant until midnight.
As far as the B-Brothers shop in Germany, Kiki said he wants the experience in his shop to compare to a trip to Disneyland for collectors.
“If you ever go to Disneyland, you feel like a child. You don’t have any problems, you’re just overwhelmed by so much beauty, so much nice things. And this is the same (thing) that we are trying to get to. … In the end, everyone walks out with a huge smile, because it’s not just a card store, because I got to admit, most of the stuff you see in our store is not available, you can’t buy it. (So) it’s almost like a little museum,” Kiki said.
Kiki added, the shop is a dream come true, and if you come in you’ll see great moments from Kobe’s last game to Dirk’s last game and much more.
Obviously, the card hobby is global and Kiki has firsthand experiences in both the United States and Europe. As far as differences in the hobby, Kiki said the big thing is getting the cards to Europe.
“You can go to Walmart, Target, you can go online … but we do not have stuff like that in Germany,” Kiki said. “So for 10 to 15 years, the only way to get stuff is not to go to trading card stores, because we don’t have one. There’s only one card store in Berlin.”
Moving forward, what people may not know is Kiki is a two-time Beckett Kobe Supercollector. From a country where Dirk Nowitzki is king, Kiki said Kobe won him over young, because it was one of the first cards he ever received.
“Once a week, there was a show called Inside the NBA. They spoke for like 30 minutes, play highlights and stuff and there was a top-10. I was like 12 years old and there was this guy Kobe Bryant, he was very often in the top-10 of these dunk highlights. I said ‘This is a cool guy,’ but (at the time) we were not into trading cards, (because) we did not know it. Then, suddenly, there was a newspaper store who sold Collectors Choice, or something. … It was payable for us and in the first pack I pulled a Kobe Bryant Collectors Choice 1997-98 base card. (It was) a beautiful card. This was maybe a destiny and I said those cards are cool, I want to collect this guy,” Kiki said.
From there, Kiki began going to school and trading other players cards for Kobe cards. Additionally, Kiki created a Los Angeles-like walk of fame at his store with that first-ever Kobe card he acquired.
Kiki was able to meet the man he collects as well. He said the first time he met Kobe, he left work after he got a phone call that the Mamba was at a local soccer stadium.
“It was a high-secret situation, because nobody knew that Kobe was there,” Kiki said. “There were a lot of bodyguards, no newspapers, no paparazzi. … So Kobe was working out in a soccer stadium near, because wanted to … cold chamber, and there’s only one in Germany and one in Shanghai. So, since Kobe was a soccer fan, he came to Europe to our area, so he was in this cold chamber and then went to the gym in the soccer stadium. In the gym, I was introduced to Kobe as an apprentice of the soccer club. So I was right there, in the area nobody was supposed to be.”
He admitted, he felt a bit nervous being in the area, but was excited to meet Kobe and said he respected the situation and really let the Mamba be. Kiki said Kobe did sign his first Supercollector article, though, which is the holy grail of his collection.
Also on “The Chase” …
-On the show, we mentioned NetPro announced the relaunch of their tennis cards with an exclusive release of Carlos Alcaraz.
The release comes at a perfect time, as Alcaraz won the US Open this past weekend. Alcaraz also just became the youngest player to ever become the world’s number one player at 19 years, 4 months and 6 days old.
Alcaraz’s rookie cards are already sold out on NetPro. Standard rookie cards are limited to only 2,000 examples. Match-worn apparel cards are limited to 1000 numbered cards, and on-card autographed cards are numbered to either 50, 100, or 250.
According to the NetPro website they said they chose Alcaraz because “we have not seen a player of this caliber come through the rankings in a very long time. We initially watched Carlos last September at the US Open and immediately saw something special with his game. Not only were his physical skills clearly evident, but his positive demeanor and inner drive to succeed was what really stood out. the intangibles combined with all the physical tools were enough to convince us that he has the potential to be one of the all-time greats.”
-Additionally, some items of Elon Musk were recently published on the RR Auctions site. Items include a PSA 10 gem mint signed birthday card, a signed dollar bill, a gold necklace that was given to his, at the time, girlfriend Jennifer Gwynne and various photos. The auction ends today!
-Luke and I traveled to New York City this past weekend for the Yankees and Rays game. Before the game, we were outside handing out baseball cards to kids, before we went inside and ripped some Topps Museum Collection. For the full video of our experiences, click here!
-Today on the show we ripped Topps UEFA Champions League Merlin Chrome Soccer, and while Troy and I might not be the soccer experts in the building, the cards were appealing to the eye. To win these cards, comment on the YouTube video who your favorite soccer player of all time and why.