Looking at Cassius Marsh, you might not immediately guess that he’s a self-described “big-time nerd,” one who’s turning his deep love of a fantasy card game into a business in California.
The free-agent NFL linebacker who spent 2020 with three teams — the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers — is also a die-hard collector and player of Magic: The Gathering, the card game from Wizards of the Coast that took the world by storm in the late 1990s and has exploded in popularity in the past decade or so. Not only can you play a game in which you use your creatures, spells and such to defeat your opponent, but the rare cards themselves are selling for a lot of money.
This week, his new card and collectables shop — Cash Cards Unlimited — in Westlake Village will open. And as he told For The Win in a recent interview, he’s hoping to not only make money on his passion but to also inspire others to be who they are.
Here’s what he told us. (this interview has been edited and condensed.)
How did you get into Magic in the first place?
I’ve always been into trading card games. I was huge into Pokemon. I grew up relatively poor, so whatever I could get, I just loved so much. So Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh is how I started it off. I wandered into a trading card shop called A Hidden Fortress in Simi Valley where I grew up. I asked if they had any Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh and was told, “We don’t sell those, but we sell Magic: The Gathering. There are two guys over there at the table playing.”
I watched those guys play the entire time, and I ran to beg my mom for as much money as I could get. I think she gave me $5. They had common cards for a quarter, uncommons for 50 cents and rare for $1. I bought 11 cards and that sparked my love for Magic. It took over my trading card obsession.
As someone who played Magic a lot around 1995, I totally get it, but for you, what is it about the game that draws you to it?
These are beautiful in person I can’t wait for the release!!!!! pic.twitter.com/zc98DGMqvQ
— NessaMeowMeow (@nessameowmeow) January 26, 2021
First and foremost, the art on the cards is unbelievable. It’s so awesome and mesmerizing. And it’s fantasy, there are so many different types of creatures and abilities and depth to the game. The competition behind it was a big thing for me. As an athlete, I thrive in that atmosphere. I think early on it was rough because I wasn’t winning many games and I had to learn to accept defeat. It taught me patience and humility.
When I left for college [at UCLA], I put it to the side for a while. I didn’t think anybody would be playing and I didn’t think I’d have any time for it.
Were you worried you’d be an outcast if you were the football …read more
Golden Globes 2021: The Complete List of Nominees | Entertainment Weekly
'Framing Britney Spears': Inside her 'unraveling' and conservatorship battle