Who Wants the Ball? 1997-98 Ultra Big Shots

The Ultra brand consistently included some of my favorite inserts in the 90s, year to year. Big Shots from 1997-98 is no exception.

The design on this one sticks with me when I think of insert sets from the 90s. A big above the rim view with the player in the middle of it. The raised feel of the rim sticks out as well- don’t see that design element much today, and I can think of some other sets from Ultra that have it too.

Big Shots Series 1 is a high quality insert where the 1:4 pack odds keep the prices affordable. Jordan obviously fetches the most, around $20 for MJ, but most can be had for a couple bucks or less each. And honestly if you’re looking to pick up an affordable MJ insert from the 90s, this one isn’t a bad one to consider. Rodman might be the next in line, maybe it’s the Bulls association? His card is a cool one- he’s reaching up toward the ball above the rim to knock it away or tip it out. Exactly what you want on a Rodman card.

Allen Iverson certainly put up a ton of shots during his career and didn’t shy away from the big moments. If you want The Answer to my question in my post title, it’s AI. Now that Iverson’s been out of the league for over a decade, it’s easy to forget some of his accolades. 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, the 2000-01 MVP, 3x steals leader, and 4x scoring champ. And maybe most importantly, he led an otherwise mediocre (sorry 76ers fans) team to the NBA Finals in 2001, his MVP season. I admit I wasn’t a huge AI fan during his career, but I definitely respect and appreciate what he accomplished during his long career. And for a 2nd year Iverson insert, this is an affordable option. You can pick it up for under $5.

I’ve spoken about Hill several other times on this blog, and he remains a solid 2nd tier star, hobby wise, from the 90s. 1st tier seems like Jordan and Kobe, and after that I think it just depends on the set. Iverson, KG, Shaq, Hakeem, Duncan, Pippen are all in that 2nd tier, but Hill seems to be picking up steam as a target for 90s cards as well.

Stockton and Malone seem to be undervalued to me as far as their consistent 90s excellence. Stockton looks like he’s going in for a lay-up here, and while he certain made big shots, he also set them up for others. He led the league in assists 9 consecutive years, and no one else came close to matching his totals.

Love the look of those 90s Sixers jerseys. Iverson’s definitely remained a popular player among player collectors in the hobby.

Hill remains a big what-if. Who knows where he would rank in NBA history without ankle issues. A dynamic all-around player, Hill definitely deserved to have the ball in his hand in big moments.

And Stockton is about as battle-tested as they come, leading the Jazz through deep playoff runs.

Here’s the last of the Big Shots cards I have in my collection. In order to branch out and give myself a reason to pick up cards for more 90s insert sets, I keep looking at The Admiral as a target recently.

The specific performances listed on the back of this card are pretty mind-blowing.

What are some other insert sets with pretty easy odds (1:4 in this example) that are your favorite, design-wise?

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