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Panini America Video Diary & Gallery: Ohio Collector Nick Gauder Meets Kobe Bryant

April 18, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Ohio collector Nick Gauder inadvertently created a firestorm of controversy last week when he admitted to Beckett.com that he passed on an offer of $20,000 for the Golden Ticket he pulled from 2010-11 Gold Standard Basketball.

That once-in-a-lifetime pull guaranteed Gauder the opportunity to meet Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. But as it turns out, it guaranteed him so much more than that.

Still, the fact that the single father of two refused that much money led to some very public feedback from the collecting community — which ranged from warm support to knee-jerk irrationality to ill-advised vitriol. Although Gauder admitted to being taken aback by the brouhaha at first, he never once second-guessed his decision. After the weekend he had, here’s betting he never will.

“There is no amount of money that could replace these memories,” Gauder said Sunday night.

Gauder and his mom, Lani, spent a whirlwind five days in Los Angeles that included Nick’s first airplane ride, his first NBA game (the Lakers’ 112-108 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks) and, of course, meeting Bryant in Staples Center after the game. Bryant’s injured shin kept him from playing Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t prevent him from making a lasting impression on the Gauders.

But even after exchanging hugs and handshakes with the five-time NBA champion, the Gauders still had more history to make. Later Sunday night, Nick met his grandfather — for the first time. And Lani saw her sister for the first time in 42 years.┬áIt was an incomprehensibly blissful end to a surreal day.

“What a great way to end one of the greatest days of my life,” Nick said. “I will never forget it. The greatest weekend ever.”

Thanks to Panini Authentic’s Brian Bayne and special Panini America correspondent Jon Gold, we were able to compile the following gallery and three-part video diary documenting the monumental moments. After you’ve checked out the images, stay tuned for the must-see videos, including some unexpected parting gifts.

First, the three-part video diary:

Part 1: Preparing to Meet Kobe

Part 2: Meeting Kobe

Part 3: Parting Shots, Parting Gifts

Now, the gallery . . .

27 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt Gilman permalink
    April 18, 2012 1:43 pm

    What an incredible time that must have been and what great prizes handed out in the end. Way to go Panini! Giving collectors an experience like that….who wouldn’t want to buy your products!!

  2. Scott W. Prusha permalink*
    April 18, 2012 2:03 pm

    Nick, what a great day, hope you had a blast!

  3. scott w prince permalink
    April 18, 2012 2:04 pm

    WAY TO GO NICK YOU COULD HAVE CASH IN BUT YOU GOT TO DO SOMETHING OF A LIFETIME MEET THE GREAT KOBE BEAN BRYANT TOTALLY AWESOME IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND YOUR MOM GOT SUCH A GREAT TRIP AND FAN=TASIC GIFTS A PRICELESS EXPERIENCE IM HAPPY FOR YOU REALLY COOL PANINI DOES GO ALL THE WAY THEY REALLY BRING IT I HOPE I WIN ONE OF THESE TRIPS ONE DAY FOR MAYBE WITH DEMARCO MURRAY AND GAME EXPERIENCE HINT HINT LOL.

  4. Don White permalink
    April 18, 2012 2:26 pm

    Awesome to see a collector enjoy a awesome trip. Thanks for sharing!! For folks who get upset that someone didn’t take the 20,000, I thought we were allowed to make our own decisions. It a free country, last I checked.

  5. Daniel Roof permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:10 pm

    WOW. simply amazing! What a lucky guy. Panini you guys truly are the best out there. To offer such a once in a lifetime chance for us collectors makes it an honor to bust wax from you guys. Keep up the great work Panini!

  6. Tim permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:12 pm

    Awesome! Congrats Nick! This actually made me smile!

  7. Chris permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:40 pm

    Kobe could not look more disinterested…

  8. April 18, 2012 3:40 pm

    “Give ‘em the Hackler” Love it!

    Looked like a pretty sweet day. I love the fact he brought his mom.

  9. Ernest Hebert permalink
    April 18, 2012 5:44 pm

    Super just super…Wow!

  10. gregmalloy permalink
    April 18, 2012 6:17 pm

    Money comes and go’s but these memories will last forever. Good to see someone actually use what they won and not just throw it on eBay. congrats!

  11. April 18, 2012 6:31 pm

    Who needs $20k with that kind of experience? Panini putting on the experience of a lifetime.

  12. Jamey permalink
    April 18, 2012 6:46 pm

    Nick…what a wonderful experience for you bro. I only hope that the day met or exceeded your hopes and expectations.
    Cards are more than mere cardboard and we who love them more than mere collectors. Wishing you the best, Nick.

  13. Ryan permalink
    April 18, 2012 6:56 pm

    That is a true fan, truer than most of the people out there. He didn’t take the money for the ticket because he’s a true fan. Took his Mom, how can you not like that? The look on his face justifies that the ticket found it’s way to the right guy, someone who would appreciate it. No way those shoes get sold (which is what most people would do), they will be in his possession until the end of time. To all the haters that think Panini is just a corporate machine that rolls over collectors without caring about them, watch this video.

    Good for you Nick, keep on rollin’ brother.

  14. April 18, 2012 7:35 pm

    this was all great, glad tracy wasn’t there to ruin it! guy in the video from panini was super professional. agree with doing this vs the 20k, cant buy all of that.

  15. Aaron permalink
    April 18, 2012 9:55 pm

    that was incredible – great work panini… thanks for making this collector’s day… was saddened by some of the comments on beckett so am glad to see this guy and his mum having such a great time… and being able to meet up with family after so long? that really made this trip golden…

  16. April 19, 2012 9:17 am

    Great work by Panini, and good choice Nick!

  17. Brandon P. permalink
    April 19, 2012 10:05 pm

    hey panini can i meet Tom Brady. Please.

  18. Dave permalink
    April 20, 2012 9:33 am

    I’m very happy for Nick and glad he did what he wanted. However, I hope the meet and greet was more than just like 5 minutes after the game!?

  19. Matt Almond permalink
    April 20, 2012 11:34 am

    Very Happy for Nick, I saw him the past years at the National and he always seemed like a great guy. I couldn’t have thought of someone more deserving to win. Kudos to Marketing for making this Happen. Scotty and Tracy! Extra Loud SHOUT OUT to Mr.Bayne for taking good care of Nick and his Mom … Everyone at Panini is a class act all the way

  20. MaryAnn permalink
    April 22, 2012 6:02 pm

    I am l so super excited fo you Nick. WAY TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS HAPPEN. Don’t ever regret it……Although I know you won’t! CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ALL THE PICS & HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!

  21. Declan Fries permalink
    April 24, 2012 10:55 am

    Nice nick hope u had a great time

  22. Declan Fries permalink
    April 24, 2012 10:57 am

    Tracy do you do the same thing in any of your hockey products and if you do witch product[s]

    • April 24, 2012 11:47 am

      At this point, no. But we’re always looking for ways to add excitement. Stay tuned.

  23. Declan Fries permalink
    April 24, 2012 12:49 pm

    if you decide to add hockey please let me know it was such a great idea you guys had to do this

Trackbacks

  1. Which would you do? - Blowout Cards Forums
  2. Panini America Video Diary & Gallery: Ohio Collector Nick Gauder Meets Kobe Bryant - Blowout Cards Forums
  3. SLAM ONLINE | » Video: Panini Golden Ticket Winner Meets Kobe

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