Linebacker for the Las Vegas Raiders Blake Martinez recently retired from professional sports after selling a rare Pokemon card, raking in almost $700,000 for a 9.5 Gem Mint Illustrator Pikachu, also known as the “Swirllustrator.” Martinez appears to be exploring a new and by all appearances highly lucrative new career path, Pokemon trader.
Martinez announced his intentions to leave professional sports last week, shocking fans and followers in the process. The linebacker is currently 28 years old and for all intents and purposes only just beginning his football career. Martinez was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2016 before going on to join the New York Giants in 2020, sustaining a ligament injury about a year later in 2021. He joined the Las Vegas Raiders only months ago.
The card in question was purchased by an unknown buyer during an auction held by the agency Goldin, selling for a staggering $672,000. Martinez nicknamed the 9.5 Gem Mint Pokemon Illustrator Pikachu the “Swirllustrator” on account of the two small marks in the artwork which resemble an eddy or incipient vortex. The extremely rare card is of the same variety that Logan Paul bought earlier this year for more than $5 million, sporting the purchase around his neck on stage at Wrestlemania this past April.
While the sum of money pales in comparison to the purchase made by Paul, Pokemon trading seems to be something of a true calling for Martinez, clearly providing enough income for an extremely early retirement from professional sports. Martinez has already been collecting Pokemon cards for years, opening packs on Instagram to the delight of his many fans and followers. The linebacker in fact owns a collectible card business and ecommerce platform.
“I have chosen to step away from this career at this time to focus on my family and future passions,” Martinez explained in reference to his new career.
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