Cracked Ice Before There Was Cracked Ice: 1999-00 Flair Showcase Elevators

Parallels of all different colors and types have come and gone over the years, and they are more prevalent today than ever before. A popular parallel in many Panini products is Cracked Ice, and they are stunning parallels, for sure.

When we look back at similar parallels from other companies, the Topps Atomic Refractors definitely come to mind. This Bender is the only Atomic Refractor in my collection currently, and you can see the ‘Cracked Ice’ look on the gold portions of the card. The rest has the look of a regular refractor. There are plenty of photos of cards out there where the atomic look is over the entire card.

Fleer had their share of parallel cards, as well. But only one insert that I’ve come across from Fleer looks similar to the ‘Cracked Ice’ effect, and it’s the Elevators insert set from 1999-00 Flair Showcase.

Elevators is a 10 card set with a solid checklist, focused on players who can elevate for jams. Inserted in 1:20 hobby packs, they are mostly affordable cards. The Kobe can get pricey, but about half the set can be found for 10 dollars or less. Iverson, Vince Carter, and KG are more in the 20-40 dollar range, and Pippen is a little lower, but these cards are not impossible to find at a decent price.

The Elevators set is focused on players who can rise up for a jam. The Odom card is spot on. While I don’t think of Odom as a dunker, I do think of him as a guy who can take off and glide towards the rim and finish. My favorite version of Odom was his time with the Heat, pre-Shaq. He and D-Wade gave the Pacers a tough second round series before the Pacers fell to the Pistons in the ECF.

Francis for sure had a reputation for being a high-flyer when he came into the league. While he didn’t reach that superstar level that the card suggests, he was an exciting player and had a solid career. Some forget that he was a 3x All-Star with the Rockets, probably because he didn’t have longevity playing at that level.

Van Horn is the guy who probably makes the least sense in this set, but in 1999 he was pretty highly regarded being the 2nd pick in the 1997 draft, and he played key roles on teams that had deep playoff runs.

I’ll be looking to add copies of the other cards from this set as I can find them at a reasonable price. If there’s an insert set for me, it’s a late 90s Fleer ‘Cracked Ice’ set. Sign me up for that every time.

What is your favorite set with the ‘Cracked Ice’ effect?

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