It turns out that eBay does not allow you to buy anything "affiliated with murders or serial killers."
Before going any further: No, Mark Jackson did not kill anyone. Nor is it a joke about Jackson's first pedestrian and really boring season. (In 1990, the Knicks legend averaged 7.4 assists, mostly entry passes to Patrick Ewing.)
But there are actually two murderers in evidence on Mark Jackson's collection card in 1989-90. It's the Menendez brothers, two of the four people sitting at the courtyard in the photo. And the picture was taken after they murdered their parents for their insurance money in their Beverly Hills home in 1989.
Miraculously, no one has discovered that two famous murderers had stuck Mark Jackson's business card up to 30 full years. Not until last August.
This discovery did not occur as you think. One guy was not arguing with his collection of cards and spotted two 20-year-old culprits at Madison Square Garden.
In fact, Stephen Zerance does not even look at the NBA. He was simply trying to find a photographic evidence that Lyle and Erik Menendez had committed all the strange things that the court documents claim to have done between the murder of their parents and being caught.
"My friend and I, who are also a true culprit, knew that the brothers were going to spend a lot of money after receiving an insurance allowance after the death of their parents," Zerance said. . "They bought a lot of things: tennis courts, Rolex, clothes, businesses, restaurants, cars."
In total, the brothers quickly spent about $ 700,000 between the murders of August 1989 and their arrest in 1990, almost the exact duration of the NBA season.
"Then we noticed that they had bought tickets for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden."
Zerance, who writes detective novels, has begun to consult ancient photographic records for proof. Nothing. Maybe someone had uploaded a photo or video somewhere else? No chance.
"When Getty Images did not have anything, it was like a light bulb," he said. "There are so many unwanted cards on eBay."
Zerance looked for cards on eBay between 1989 and 1990 and focused until he found a match. He bought a pile for about 10 cents each.
On August 12, 2018, 29 years after the Menendez brothers committed the killings each week, Zerance published its findings on Twitter.
"Mood: my Mark Jackson basketball card with the Menendez brothers' cameos in the background," he wrote.
Mood: my Mark Jackson basketball card with the Menendez brothers' cameos in the background pic.twitter.com/kqmLag0uze
– STEPHEN ZERANCE (@stephnz) August 12, 2018
Almost nobody noticed at the time. To date, the message contains two retweets. But a few months later, in December, a different and anonymous person published his findings on Reddit.
Reddit is mostly bad, but the other day, I learned on this site that the Menendez brothers were at the bottom of this basketball card and that, logistically, it was between the time they killed their parents and the moment they were arrested. pic.twitter.com/fMb5ugLX2m
– John Rosenberger (@JohnJohnPhenom) December 8, 2018
This checks. Menendez was murdered on August 20, 1989. The brothers were apprehended in March 1990. A photo was taken at MSG in 1989-90 and the set was released before the 1990-91 season. https://t.co/n2vzRBA6Sg
– Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 8, 2018
NBA Internet was captivated. The Reddit message then returned to Twitter on another person's account, which received thousands of retweets. CNN and The Washington Post wrote stories about that. Nobody knew that it was Zerance who had found it until we found it, which he thought did not bother him at all.
"I'm just glad it's gone viral, really. It's a sweet treat, "he said.
After all, these 10 cent cards could bring him some money now. Although eBay has claimed to ban the sale of cards, it no longer really enforces the ban.
They go for about $ 20 each on average. A particularly ambitious guy on Etsy is trying to sell his new state card at $ 1,500.
Zerance therefore has a hint: if you have a favorite player, buy her trading card now, before she is haunted.
"I'm sure it will continue to happen," said Zerance. "There must be so much hidden from view."
Ben Collins is a writer and journalist for NBC News. He is also a columnist for SLAM and writes The Outlet, a monthly column in which British Columbia meditates on … well, whatever it wants. Follow him on Twitter @oneunderscore_.