Tonight the Boston Celtics square off against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals. Both teams appear poised to take the crown in this best-of-seven series as their respective journeys to reach the championship round were equally impressive.
Boston, led by Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jayson Tatum, has turned many heads during the playoffs. At this year’s All-Star break, the Celtics owned a 34-26 record, but won 17 of their remaining 22 games to finish with the No. 2 seed in the East. In the postseason, they beat Brooklyn (4-0), defending champion Milwaukee (4-3) and No. 1-seeded Miami (4-3) to punch their ticket to the Finals. Golden State, meanwhile, recorded one of the best records in the West (53-29) before disposing of Denver (4-1), Memphis (4-2) and Dallas (4-1) to make it back to center stage. Tonight’s tip-off marks Boston’s first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010, while Golden State – led by Western Conference Finals MVP Steph Curry – is enjoying its sixth appearance in the Finals over the past eight years.
Whichever team emerges as champion will enjoy the spoils of victory, which include newfound interest in some of the top stars’ signatures as their popularity and values on the secondary market could likely see a bump. With that possibility in mind, let’s take a closer look at four such superstars and their unique styles of penmanship. Note: With collector demand always high when the NBA Finals roll around, it’s of utmost importance to get your autographs authenticated by PSA.
Tatum is the guiding light for Boston. With apologies to point guard Marcus Smart, it’s largely Tatum’s success that dictates wins for the Celtics. The 6’ 8” small forward from Duke averaged a team-high 26.9 ppg this season and is recording 27 points per outing in the postseason. A fan favorite in Boston, the 24-year-old’s signature is highly sought-after as he’s now led the team to three Eastern Conference Finals in his first five seasons. Like his drives to the basket, Tatum employs a sweeping motion to place great emphasis on his initials (“J T”) and is now adding his jersey number (“0”) as a trailer during current signings. While secondary market values fluctuate depending on the time of year as well as the outcome of the latest series, Tatum’s autograph averages $250 on a single-signed basketball and $150 on a single-signed 8×10. His autograph authentication fee from PSA is $20.
Brown plays Robin to Tatum’s Batman. A 6’ 6” forward who possesses silky smooth moves and can hit from three-point range, Brown averaged 23.6 ppg this season and has already notched at least one 40-point outing for the C’s in this year’s playoffs. The 25-year-old’s crowd-pleasing windmill dunks at TD Garden have also provided exclamation points on a few occasions. Calm, cool and collected, Brown is a former first-round pick from Cal who (like Tatum) uses his initials (“J B”) primarily when inking his autograph. A single-signed 8×10 from Brown averages just more than $100 on the secondary market, while one of his single-signed basketballs fetches closer to $125. According to PSA’s autograph authentication page, $20 is the current submission fee to get your Brown autograph authenticated by the industry leader.
Curry, the master of the three-point shot, is no stranger to the NBA Finals. As the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history, the 34-year-old Curry picked right up where he left off last season and led the league once again from beyond the arc by converting 285 attempts while averaging 25.5 ppg. In just the last two playoff series alone, the seven-time All-Star posted four different 30-point games to help the Dubs advance to the Finals. When it comes to signing his autograph, this celebrated member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team spells out his first name and usually adds his uniform number “30” before employing a wide sweeping “C” (for his last name) that nearly encircles the rest of the signature. A single-signed basketball from No. 30 commands upwards of $550 on the secondary market, while a signed 8×10 from Curry averages $275 to $300. Curry’s autograph authentication fee at PSA stands at $30.
After missing the past two seasons due to serious injuries (left knee and right Achilles tendon), Thompson eventually returned to Golden State’s starting lineup this season with a vengeance. The younger half of Golden State’s celebrated “Splash Brothers” duo with Curry, Thompson scored 114 treys in just 32 regular-season games and has once again proved his worth by averaging in double figures throughout the playoffs (and converting on 57 treys in 16 games). A five-time All-Star, Thompson, sporting an oversized white headband, is channeling the Jackie Moon character this season from the 2008 movie Semi-Pro and so far it seems to be working. Thompson’s somewhat frenetic signature almost resembles an EKG with both the “K” and “T” coming through clearly to pace the autograph’s rhythm. A single-signed 8×10 from Killa Klay commands $100 on the secondary market, while a basketball signed by Thompson averages closer to $250. His autograph authentication fee at PSA is $25.