To put it mildly, it’s been a rough, frustrating, and unforgettable week in the NBA. From Markieff’s lunge and Nikola’s cheap shot we move to Lebron’s fist and Stewart’s relentless attacks.

We are less than four weeks into this NBA season, and there’s more than enough pain to go around. Superstars like Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray could miss most – or all – of this season due to injuries. Young scorers like Collin Sexton are making the news with season-ending injuries and surgeries.

We are also learning about other versions of pain. The aging pains of Kevin Love. The relationship pains of Ben Simmons. The strategic or financial pain of whatever is happening with John Wall, Marvin Bagley III, and yes, Zion Williamson. You won’t have to look far to see the pain caused, experienced, or highlighted by whatever Kyrie Irving is doing or saying this week.

Should I even mention the guys who seem healthy, content, and fine to play basketball – but aren’t playing well at all? Remember when Trae could drop 30 points in a game or De’Aaron Fox looked like a legit starter in the league? Remember when Devin Booker played like a second Kobe or when Dame Dolla played like an all-NBA first-teamer? It seems like, not so long ago, we could count on NBA stars to show up night after night and didn’t have to hear words like “load management” or “protocols.”

And this November, even the successful players – and their card values – are facing a struggle. That immense drop in Luka Doncic Prizm values is real. That Lebron rookie hasn’t gone up since July. Your MVP Jokic rookies are flirting with another 20-25% drop in value as he continues to put up triple-double numbers.

While we couldn’t expect that every year would be “up” or profitable in sports cards like 2020 was, we can still hope for some momentum bumps – some rainbows to come after this November Rain. Maybe Christmas, as people spend a lot of. money on cards. Perhaps New Year’s, when people get increases in their paychecks or the new 2021-22 season cards come out with their Cades and Evans and Scotties. How about the All-Star game, when Zach Lavine, Ja Morant, Demar DeRozan, and maybe even Miles Bridges all walk into the spotlight? Or the improbable playoff push for the Cleveland Cavaliers or the unstoppable Golden State Warriors?

For now, it’s a painful start to the season for a lot of players, fans, and yes – Basketball card investors. Sometimes, like Ben Simmons or John Wall or Kyrie Irving, the circumstances just aren’t right. In other cases, like with Isaiah Stewart and Lebron James last night, we let our frustrations out on each other or on the game. Card investors find that our collections or our investments have lost values, and it’s tempting to give up, sell out, or just be cynical about the whole thing.

Fortunately for the Pistons and for us, we get to play again tomorrow. The pain won’t last that long. Zion and Kawhi will be back and worth the wait. And those Luka cards… those Trae rookies… those prospects you invested in… their time will come. Pain is part of life in the real world and life in the NBA, and we will get through this. Don’t make any decisions or sales or purchases based on the frustration or the moment. Hang in there and play to win the game!