Top 10 favorite Tim Duncan cards in my collection

Tim Duncan is my favorite non-Pacer of all time, and probably my second favorite player behind Reggie Miller. It’s weird not being able to watch Duncan play this season. In my book he goes down as the greatest power forward in the history of the game. So much has already been said about Duncan, so I will get down to the cards. These aren’t necessarily the most valuable cards in my collection, although some of them may fall into that space. They are just my favorites. They break down into four categories.

Category 1: The Rookies

1997-98 Metal Universe #66 and 1997-98 Metal Universe Championship #72

I’m starting the list by breaking the rules with counting two cards as one, but I just couldn’t choose one over the other and I wanted nine other spots. Try to find cooler base sets than these two.

1997-98 E-X 2001 #75

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This certainly was a great year for basketball cards, wasn’t it? I remember opening a few packs of these and pulling a Patrick Ewing. Even though he was on the hated Knicks I was still in love with the card and design. I probably don’t have that card anymore but it sure was a thrill for an 11 year old to open packs of this stuff.

1997-98 Topps Chrome #115

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The most recognizable of Duncan’s rookie cards, along with probably his SP Authentic rookie. While I never added a refractor version to my collection, his Chrome rookie has to fit somewhere in my top 10. The back of this one asks what makes a star. Is it scoring? Rebounding? Defense? Consistency? Heart? Duncan has all of these. A good quote too from Dave Odom, Duncan’s coach at Wake Forest on the back.

1997-98 SP Authentic #165

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Duncan throwing down a jam with future teammate and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr watching. Part of what makes this a cool card is it was the first year with the full SP Authentic named set. The previous year obviously had a great rookie class and some key rookie cards in the SP set with Kobe being the top card, but 1997-98 was the first SP Authentic set. This set the stage for 1998-99 which I remember as being a hot set with Vince Carter’s rookie being the most sought after at the time.

Category 2: The Rookie Year Inserts

1997-98 Skybox Premium Next Game #7

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Looks like the modern Court Kings sets. Just always liked the look of this set and Duncan going for the lay-in makes for a great card. Always blows my mind that the Spurs landed Duncan in the first place because of Robinson’s injury.

1997-98 Ultra Heir To The Throne #7

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Don’t have a great reason for picking this except he is sitting on a throne of basketballs! What a design for an insert set.

1997-98 Z-Force Big Men On Court #4

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This one has to rate up there in terms of value. I’m fairly sure one of my friends traded it to me in the early 2000s and I’m sure I got the best of whatever trade we made. I’m trying to reacquaint myself with the basketball card hobby, and what I’m noticing is if the insert set was redone in the Upper Deck Retro set, then the original set is probably pretty highly sought after these days.

Category 3: Other Inserts

1998-99 Skybox Premium Jam Pack #15

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This is the first insert I pulled of Duncan from a pack, and I’ve held onto it for a long time. For this reason alone it makes the list. It’s also an interesting design that hasn’t been close to replicated, with a shiny pick background of water, rocky shorelines, and sky.

Category 4: Relics

2003-04 Fleer Genuine Insider Team USA #TU-TD

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I can’t put enough Team USA cards into my collection. In fact there are some insert sets I’d like to put together from some other sets around this time focused on Team USA. One is an insert set from Fleer Avant, if I remember right. I picked this up right before I closed up shop on the blog in 2012, but it still cracks my top 10.

2007-08 Stadium Club Beam Team Relic #BTR-TD

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Hard to go wrong putting a Beam Team insert into a top 10 list. Add a relic to the mix and it was hard to omit this one from this post. It’s a plain black swatch but it doesn’t bother me.

So there you have it. Notice no autographs in this list. Haven’t added one of those to my collection yet, but would like to if the price is right. I plan to share more of my Duncan collection in future posts, and I need to get a wantlist up. Don’t have most of his newer cards and want to see which inserts from the 1990s and early 2000s I am missing.

 


Pickup of the Week: Herb Williams Autograph

I’ve picked up where I left off, with the first pickup in my return to basketball card collecting being an addition to my Indiana Pacers autograph collection. The goal here is to get an autograph of every player to appear in a regular season game for the Pacers, preferably on a card in a Pacers uniform, if possible.

I’m going to be sharing my progress so far over a series of posts, but my most recent pickup is an autograph card from 2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball of Herb Williams. This is player number 79 I’ve added to the Pacers autograph collection.

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Herb recorded his best statistical seasons as a Pacer, averaging a career best 19.9 points per game in the 1985-86 season. The team finished 26-56 that year, though. Herb got his first taste of the playoffs with the Pacers in 1987, starting four games as the Pacers lost to the Atlanta Hawks 3-1. He played 57 career playoff games, most with the Knicks, and many of those in key series against the Pacers. He played until he was 41 years old, retiring after an impressive 18 year NBA career.

He served as an assistant coach with the Knicks and served as head coach for 39 games during the 2004-05 season after Lenny Wilkins resigned.

Glad to add this auto of Herb Williams to my Pacers autograph collection. The card looks better in person than in the scan. It is a sticker auto and I may look to add an on-card auto down the line. I’m not aware of a certified autograph with Herb in a Pacers uniform that isn’t a sticker, though.


A Return, of sorts

Hello to the blogosphere. When I started this blog back in the summer of 2011, it was because I noticed a void of basketball card blogs in the hobby and wanted to show some of my collection and talk about the hobby I’ve been a part of since I was a child. Now I am thirty years old with a baby boy, hoping I can pass to him a love of basketball, and with that a way to enjoy the sport more, and something we can share.

I was excited to interact with other collectors, get their opinions and discover parts of the hobby I had missed or overlooked. A few other basketball card blogs came and went, and my site grew over the years it was active. But I noticed the baseball card portion of the blogosphere was infinitely larger and more active. And so in 2014 after a 2 year hiatus, I started a baseball card blog, Card Stacks Blog, and started to follow MLB more and pick up Atlanta Braves cards and a few other players. I certainly don’t plan to completely abandon that blog and will post there when the urge strikes me.

I found that sports card bloggers are incredibly generous and are eager to interact and exchange cards. I am hoping that there is an audience for a basketball card blog. It may not have as many box breaks as it did when I had more disposable income, but I will open the occasional loose pack and continue to share cards from my collection. I also hope to send cards that don’t fit into my collection to other collectors, and add some recent Pacers. I’m less of a ‘hit’ collector these days, but I won’t turn them away and I am still looking to add autographs of Pacer players. I have 0 cards of Myles Turner who looks to be a superstar in the making. Paul George has also become a superstar over the past several years. The NBA as a whole has changed a lot and I hope to add some league commentary as well.

I can’t make a post without showing some cards, of course. Last year I opened a blaster of 2015-16 Hoops for the purpose of giving cards to kids on a youth basketball team I coached. I kept a couple of Pacers.

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The only guy still on the team is Stuckey. Budinger and Sloan have moved on. In fact, the Sloan is actually a Nets card. For a third string point guard, Sloan was a bargain for what he brought to the team.

1516hoopsholmes

I also pulled an autograph. Holmes is a second round pick in the 2015 draft out of Bowling Green. He’s received some decent minutes with the 76ers and also spent some time in the Developmental League this season. Would like to send this to a 76ers collector. It looks like there’s some hope for fans with this team with Embiid looking like a star.

I’m excited to update this blog again. Are there any basketball card collectors out there in the blogosphere?


Shift in collection focus

Since I started collecting back in the mid-90s, my focus has always been on collecting ‘any and all Indiana Pacers cards, past or present’. The mid-to-late 90s Pacers will always hold a special place in my heart and in my basketball card collection. Guys like Mark Jackson, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose, Dale and Antonio Davis, and of course the great Reggie Miller are my favorite players of all-time, and I doubt that will ever change. After that era of Pacer basketball, players like Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, along with lesser-knowns, have come and gone. While exciting to watch, now that these players have moved on, I can’t say I go and regularly look through my collections of these guys like I do the cards of Pacers from the 90s.

How this impacts my collecting habits today? Well instead of collecting any and all Pacers, I’ve found myself shifting my focus to other favorite players not wearing a Pacer uniform, along with the key guys on the current team (currently Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, etc…). And so my Tim Duncan collection has taken off, I’ve added autographs of other greats such as Tony Parker and Paul Pierce to my collection, and I’ve put together small collections of Kevin Durant and Grant Hill. I’m pleased with this shift so far, and while I’ll always collect the Pacers, I won’t have to look back in 10 years and try to remember how I ended up with so many cards of Ike Diogu or Shawne Williams. Plus, I’ll still have these guys covered in my All-Time Pacers autograph collection.

With all that said, I’ve picked up some recent Duncan inserts to add to the collection. Pretty excited about the Star Power Plus in particular.



Are the Spurs Done?

After losing in six games to the Thunder in what may have been the most entertaining series of the playoffs, the question comes up- are the Spurs, as they are currently assembled, done as a serious title-threat going forward? Tim Duncan becomes a free-agent, although both sides have basically accepted Duncan is a Spur-for-life. The core continues to age while the Thunder grow into their collective prime. Durant is amazingly only 23.

The Spurs have always been a favorite of mine to watch- they can seemingly plug in young unknowns (Gary Neal, James Anderson, Danny Green, etc…) and disposed-of veterans not producing on former teams (Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson), and these guys will step in and produce. It is the San Antonio way. It is the Greg Popovich way. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Spurs in contention. In a shortened season where the older teams were supposed to struggle, the Spurs posted the league’s best record. Who says they can’t contend again next year, using the same formula? The key pieces will be back, along with emerging young star Kawhi Leonard.

Who knows if the Spurs can stop the emerging Thunder (and potential defending champ?) in the next few years. The fan in me isn’t ready for the breakup of the Spurs, or the end of Duncan’s career. I also wouldn’t bet against Duncan or Popovich.

 


Playoff Survivor Round Two: Day Two, May 11th

Philly and Boston were able to close out, while the Nuggets forced a game seven with the Lakers.

Diane Squires – Celtics WIN
Tony Kapuschinsky – Celtics WIN
franxise01 – Celtics WIN
HoopsHobby – Celtics WIN

Greg D. – Lakers LOSS
jdlee123 – Lakers LOSS

Down to four here very quickly. Only one game tonight.

Memphis Grizzlies at L.A. Clippers, 9 pm ESPN

Hoops Hobby takes the Grizzlies with the upset on the road. Make sure to get your pick in by 9 pm eastern!


Playoff Survivor Round Two: Day One, May 10th

Back for round two of NBA Playoff Survivor. The rules are the same as round one. Each day of the contest, pick a winner of any available game that day by leaving a comment on this post, and move on to pick the next day. Simple as that. Winner gets a prize from the list of cards in my post from yesterday. Round two starts with games for Thursday, May 10th. Picks must be in by 7 eastern on Thursday. Here are the games:

Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers, 7 pm NBA TV

Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics, 8 pm TNT

L.A. Lakers at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 pm TNT

Hoops Hobby’s pick for Thursday, the Celtics to close out the Hawks at home.