Wednesday Wax: 1994-95 Fleer Series 1

The Set:
1994-95 Fleer Series 1
24 packs, 21 cards per pack
Base set contains 236 base cards, 1 Toronto Raptors logo card, 3 checklists
Rookie Sensations 1 in 3 packs
All-Defensive 1 in 9 packs
League Leaders 1 in 11 packs
Pro-Visions 1 in 5 packs
Triple Threats 1 in 9 packs
Award Winners 1 in 22 packs
Career Achievement 1 in 37 packs

Our Break:

Lots of base cards, lots of duplicates

All-Defensive (5): Mookie Blaylock, Charles Oakley, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Dennis Rodman

League Leaders (2): Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Dennis Rodman

Pro-Visions (5): Jamal Mashburn x2, John Starks, Dennis Rodman, Dan Majerle

Rookie Sensations (10): Vin Baker x3, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Anfernee Hardaway, Chris Mills, Dino Radja, Nick Van Exel x2

Triple Threats (2): Patrick Ewing, David Robinson


Have no reason to complain on much of anything from this box, as I got it off ebay for the price of most modern-day lower-end packs.  However, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed to pull multiples of inserts, particularly the three Vin Baker rookie sensation cards.  Also opened a ton of duplicates in the base set.  Pretty sure we came close to completing the base set, though.  Also had to spend a considerable amount of time pulling the cards apart.  Didn’t notice any damage to the cards because of this, though.

Inserts were inserted at 1 per pack, over a third of them being from the 25 card Rookie Sensations set.  Pulling the Penny Hardaway from this set was nice, and it ended being the best card in the box.  The chase cards from this insert set are the Hardaway and Chris Webber ($5 each).  The Pro-Visions cards fit together from what I can tell.  The Marshburn and Starks pictured above are cards 1 and 2 in the set, and their backgrounds run together.  Can’t argue with the variety of the inserts, pulling cards from 5 different insert sets.

It’s worth noting that the rookie cards from 1994-95 Fleer (Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Jalen Rose, Eddie Jones, etc…), are in the series 2 products.


Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4/5 Stars

The base set design isn’t particularly exciting, but does feature nice action shots of the players.  The player name text also goes well with the splotch of color underneath.  The ding on the insert score is mainly because we pulled 5 duplicate inserts out of 24 packs.  We don’t need even 1 Vin Baker, and certainly not 3.  We also didn’t pull any of the inserts with tougher odds, even though we were likely to pull at least 1.  Again, a fun break, brings back a lot of memories of opening these as a kid.  Can’t argue with the value.  The Penny basically paid for the box all by itself.  While not as thrilling as the Flair break from last week, or even an Ultra break from the same year, it’s a solid product that delivers a lot of cards, a variety of inserts, and a reasonable amount of fun.

Pickups of the Week: 2010-11 National Treasures

Saw some good deals on ebay recently on Pacers from the new Panini National Treasures set.  All three of these are serial numbered out of 25.  Sharp looking cards from a nice product.

Friday Frivolity: 1991-92 Upper Deck Eric Leckner #204

This card doesn’t need too much explanation, the visual is enough.  Based on the 1990-91 Supersonics roster, the player on the left is none other than Olden Polynice, aka Officer Polynice.  I wonder if these two are on speaking terms these days.

It’s worth noting that Leckner’s season averages in points and rebounds were never as high as they were after his mid-season trade to Charlotte in the 1990-91 season, which would have been when this game photo was taken.

Top Unrestricted Free Agents: Forwards

Again, not much action going on around the league with no end of the lockout in sight.  This week I’ll highlight some of the top unrestricted free agents available at the forward spots.  The forward positions are certainly better stocked with quality veterans than the guard spot.

David West, NO: The top offensive player at the power forward spot, and will probably demand the most money at the forward spot once free agency begins.  Injuries are a concern, as well as investing so much into a player who’s already 33.
Nene, DEN: He’s 5 years younger than David West, more of a physical presence, but is less polished offensively.  Would likely make the most in a new contract out of anyone on this list, but has already said money won’t determine where he lands.
Glen Davis, BOS: Valuable 6th man for a high caliber Boston squad, and only 25.  May be suited for that role more than a starting power forward spot.  I imagine he will get the chance to start at the 4 somewhere though.
Andrei Kirilenko, UTAH: Great shot blocker and defender, crafty scorer as well, particularly when attacking the rim.  Too often see him settling for long jumpers.
Kris Humphries, NJ: High energy guy who you hear more about for his life off the court than on it.  He averaged a double-double alongside Brook Lopez in the Nets frontcourt last season.
Carl Landry, NO: Another underrated young player who has a strong post game.  Only concerning issue with him is his low rebounding totals, averaging only 4.6 rpg at 6-9, 248.
Caron Butler, DAL: Will be interesting to see how he comes back from missing most of last season.  Hard to see him ending anywhere else but back in Dallas.
Tayshaun Prince, DET: Probably needs a fresh start, and the Pistons should move towards rebuilding with a young core of Monroe, Jerebko, Daye, etc…
Grant Hill, PHO: This guy averaged over 13 ppg and shot over 48% at 38!!  Would be a valuable piece on a championship contender.

Others worth mentioning: Peja Stojakovic, Al Thornton, Kenyon Martin, Shawne Williams, James Jones, Shane Battier, Josh McRoberts, Chuck Hayes, Brian Cardinal (he did get minutes in the Finals), Chris Wilcox, Troy Murphy
Hobby Impact: Nene is the player I see with the most potential for a jump in value, particularly if he lands with a contender like Miami.  His Topps Chrome rookie card has a high BV of just $5.

Wednesday Wax: 1994-95 Flair Series 1

The Set:
1994-95 Flair Series 1
24 packs, 10 cards per pack
Base set contains 158 base cards, 14 USA cards, 3 checklists
Hot Numbers 1 in 5 packs
Scoring Power 1 in 8 packs
Center Spotlight 1 in 25 packs

Our Break:

163 out of 175 base cards, 73 duplicates

Hot Numbers (5): Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon x2, Scottie Pippen, Isaiah Rider

Scoring Power (3): Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone

Center Spotlight (2): Hakeem Olajuwon, Chris Webber


Opening this box was the most fun I’d had on a break in a good while, and it’s likely led me to open a box of Series 2 and to complete the insert sets from Series 1 and 2.  I think it’s partly because of the current NBA lockout, which has inspired me to go back and watch some games from the mid-nineties, making pulling some of the players from those games pretty awesome.

I remember opening a single pack of 94-95 Flair Series 2 when I was younger (around 8 years old when the set first came out).  I was in awe of the packaging.  Each pack comes in a little golden cardboard box, which is wrapped in clear plastic.  Then the cards themselves are wrapped in clear plastic.  While it takes a bit of effort to get to the actual cards, the effort is worth it.

The base cards have something that I miss in modern cards, and that’s player action shots filling the entire card.  The fronts feature multiple shots of the player and script text with the player name, with team name below.  The back of the card lists the player’s entire career stats, which I always appreciate.  What’s different about this set though is that the stats don’t hog the space on the back of the card, as an action photo serves as the background with the stats overlaid.  The USA cards show a game by game account for the player during the 1994 World Championship.

The inserts look fantastic.  I would have liked to have opened more than 10 out of 24 packs, but their rarity is part of what makes 90s inserts so appealing.  Shaq inserts are the most sought after from this Flair set, but I was pretty pumped to pull multiple Center Spotlight cards, beating the odds there.  The Chris Webber Center Spotlight and the Scottie Pippen Hot Numbers were the top cards in the box.


Base Set: 5/5 Stars
Inserts: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4.67/5 Stars

The beautiful design on the base set, the high card quality, and the nostalgia factor made 1994-95 Flair Series 1 a great buy.  You should be able to find a box online for under $30 including shipping.

Insert Set Flashback: 2000-01 Ultra Thrillinium

The Set:
2000-01 Ultra Thrillinium

Set Odds:
1 in 48 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant $20.00
Shaquille O’Neal $10.00

Why I Like It:
Although the rookie class wasn’t particularly strong for the 2000-01 season, the inserts made some of the products worth buying.  2000-01 Ultra Thrillinium is filled with some of the influential and exciting players in the game going into the new new millenium, and with an insert ratio of 1 in 48 packs, and with a parallel version /100, this insert set was a fairly desirable one.  The card in particular that took me back was the Jason Williams Kings card.  That Kings team with Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic truly was a thrill to watch, rising to one of the Western Conference elite teams and creating a strong rivalry with the Shaq and Kobe Lakers.

Outgoing TTM Requests, August 20th

Requests that I am sending out tomorrow, August 20th:

Jerry West, 14-time NBA All-Star, 1968-69 NBA Finals MVP (only to ever win award on losing squad), 1972 NBA Champion, 15th on NBA All-Time Points list
Gail Goodrich, 5-time NBA All-Star, 1973-74 All-NBA 1st team, 1972 NBA Champion

Although I’ve yet to get a signed return on a Topps Murad card, I expect they will look pretty sharp signed.

Friday Frivolity: 1991-92 Hoops Tom Tolbert #74

Oh Tom Tolbert- so many captions that could go along with this 1991-92 Hoops card:

“Layup! Sweeeet!!”
“This will up my .423 field goal percentage!”
“Look at the wind rushing through my new ‘do!”
“Too excited, went too far past the basket!”
..and many others that an overly eager five year old might say.

Well done, Tom.  I guess we’ll never know what the result of this play was, but we can be sure he was stoked about it.

NBA Finals Jerseys: Where Have They Gone?

What game-worn jersey set of current players would be better than one filled with game-worn finals jerseys?  Take this past season as an example- how cool would it be to pull a finals worn jersey card of Lebron James from his first trip to the Finals with Miami?  Or a jersey used in a breakthrough playoff performance from NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki?  Short answer, there aren’t many game-worn jersey cards of current players I’d rather pull.

While browsing on ebay over the past week I stumbled across several 2000-01 Topps Gold Label Finals Jerseys of key players from the 2000 Indiana Pacers’ only NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.  Look at the players from this set: Shaq, Kobe, Reggie, Mullin, Rice, Horry, Green, etc..  You better believe I snatched up ones I saw:

Most sought after cards in other years that finals-worn jersey sets were produced:

2001-02 – Kobe, Shaq, Iverson, Mutombo
2005-06 – Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Horry, Billups, Wallace
2006-07 – Shaq, Wade, Mourning, Payton, Walker (just the Heat were included in this set, no Mavs)

They don’t show up on ebay with much frequency.   Tell me that this type of insert set wouldn’t be one of the most highly sought after memorabilia sets year after year, particularly if featured in a higher-end product!  That’s why I was baffled to see that the last Finals Jersey set that I could find was from 2006-07 Topps products.  Hoping this type of set comes back soon in some fashion!

Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches
20 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards ‘Season Tickets’, 100 rookie autograph patches ‘Rookie Tickets’

Our Break:

83 of 100 Season Tickets, no duplicates
Die Cuts Silver /299 (2): Kevin Love, Tayshaun Prince

Rookie of the Year Contenders Die-Cuts Silver /299 (1): James Anderson
Place In History (3): Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol

Starting Blocks (6): D. DeRozan/E. Davis, D. Gallinari/T. Douglas, B. Lopez/D. James, E. Gordon/B. Griffin, T. Gibson/J. Johnson, B. Griffin/A. Aminu
Starting Blocks Die Cuts Silver /299 (1): B. Lopez/D. Favors

One-Two Punch (3): J. Flynn/M. Beasley, J. Holiday/E. Brand, S. Nash/C. Frye
One-Two Punch Die Cuts Gold /99 (1): R. Allen/P. Pierce

Rookie Tickets (4): Solomon Alabi, Omer Asik, Luke Babbitt, Hassan Whiteside (Redemption)


For the set collectors, the base set would be an easy one to complete, as we received over 80% of the base set in our box.  The inserts provided a nice mix of younger, up-and-coming players (the Starting Blocks) and veteran leaders and stars (One-Two Punch).  The insert card ratio was great as well, as there were 21 non-base cards in our box from 20 packs.  With 4 autographs and that many inserts per box, this product is a solid value for the price (selling for around $85/box at this posting).

One thing that stuck out on the base set design was the amount of white space, particularly at the bottom of the cards.  This is more noticable on certain cards than others, particularly on cards of the smaller guards like Jonny Flynn and Sasha Vujacic.  The stats on the ticket section of the card are well done, providing information on when the team was established, how many years the player has been in the league, etc…

The rookie patch cards are beautiful, and while the autographs aren’t on-card, the autographs are inserts which are typically favorable to the sticker autographs.  My only real complaint with the patches is how the bottom of each patch is covered up by the product name and year, and this is nitpicky as it does not bring down the attractiveness of the card too much.  The ticket theme is completely overshadowed by the huge patch though.

The theme of this set seems to branch in a bunch of different ways.  We’ve got the Contenders, Rookie Patches, and then the ticket theme.  I think the cards would fit together better if there was more of a focus on one of these themes.  It seems like too much is going on in one set.


Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 5/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4.25/5 Stars

For the price of the box, Playoff Contenders Patches is a good value with 4 attractive autographed cards per box and a variety of insert cards.