Name: Mandy Baldwin
Hometown: Buchanan, Michigan
1. Tell us about you & your background.
I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Michigan and still reside there – Bucktown represent, haha. I graduated a few years ago with a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems and just last year I earned a MBA in general business studies from Andrews University. I’m currently seeking career opportunities in the information technology and/or Internet marketing fields. Everyone who knows me would describe me as a certified tomboy – my true loves include sports and Hip-Hop – so a girly girl and an average female I am not, haha.
2. How long have you been a LeBron fan? And what was the first piece of gear that you ever bought?
I’ve been a LeBron James fan since 2003. I remember seeing game footage of him on a news program that year – decked out in St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Irish green gear…headband, wristbands, and all – dunking and playing like a young man possessed. Like, WOW – who is that? It’s been a wrap ever since as to who my favorite player is in the NBA. Actually, the first piece of gear I bought was a LBJ #23 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey in 2010 shortly after Bron made “The Decision” that resulted in him leaving the Cavs for the Miami Heat. I don’t know what took me so long – haha. I became even more of a fan/supporter of his after that because of all the backlash and hate he was getting – it was so crazy, over the top, and something I’ve never seen before in sports or otherwise – so it was some serious motivation to back him more than ever as a fan…which resulted in me stocking up on all things LeBron as a member of the Heat. A fresh start for LeBron as a player…and for me as a fan as well.
3. How many pieces of LeBron & Heat gear do you have total? And what are your favorite pieces that you’ve collected so far.
Right now – a dozen. I do have a few more pieces on the way – another poster that’s a collage of different images of LeBron as a member of the Miami Heat to complete “The Wall Of Bron” as I like to call it and a couple of t-shirts with James in kind of an animated/video game character form (I’ll post pics on Twitter of them when they arrive – something totally different than I’ve ever seen before). In my opinion, it’s not about how much stuff you have – but how much heart you have in it as a fan – not just as a fan of LeBron’s, but of anybody’s. I may not have a lot – but it is a reflection of some serious heart. My favorite pieces thus far have to be the LBJ-specific/Heat fitted and snapback hats – especially the caricature one – hard to find!
4. Who would you like to see LeBron & the Heat play in the 2012 NBA Finals?
I’d like – actually I’d LOVE – to see the Heat play the Thunder in the NBA Finals this year. Heat vs. Thunder is slowly but surely becoming one of the NBA’s best (and most intense) rivalries. The match-up between these two teams a few weeks ago when the Heat emerged victorious in Miami during the regular season was a great example of that. James, Bosh, Wade vs. Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka…it can give you (basketball) chills. Imagine that Finals series going a full seven games!
5. Any shoutouts?
I have to give a serious shout-out to the team behind the man – the #TeamLeBron fam – Jay Bobo, Tesh, Pete, etc. Some of the most hard-working – and nicest – individuals I’ve ever come into contact with online. Appreciate all they do to bring any and everything LeBron James to us – the fans! Also, shout-out to LeBron James – or as I like to call him, Big Man Bron Bron – for providing inspiration and motivation both on and off the court as a great player and a great person. I hope to meet you all someday…preferably courtside at a Heat game.