The 2006-07 rookie class was in my opinion one of the weakest in the decade, hobby impact wise. LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, those are the biggest names looking back. Not a bad group of players, but many of the top picks didn’t have all-star careers like you’d have expected at the time, and none are who I would consider basketball card hobby All-Stars. At the time, names like Bargnani, Morrison, Shelden Williams, Tyrus Thomas, were big names, but Morrison especially after his NCAA run. Now you can pick up cards of these guys for fractions of what they were likely going for then.
And so when I was opening packs during the 2006-07 year, rookies weren’t at the forefront of what I was looking to pull. Bowman Elevation was honestly the nicest product that I had ever opened, and the look and feel of the cards reflected that. I can’t even think of a product to compare it to. It was a short-lived product. If anyone has a comparison, I’d be interested to hear it.
I’ve never paid too much attention to the card backs, but I like the headers for the player writeups. They all have a business theme, and same with the names of the relic and autograph sets. ‘Board of Directors’, ‘Power Brokers’, ‘Executive Level’, these are the main designs. Relics, autographs, and parallels, a box of Bowman Elevation has plenty of all three.
Of these three rookies, Powe had the most distinguished professional career. He won a title with the Celtics in 2008, and played a pretty key role in the post for that team off the bench. The Novak is the base version /999. The Shannon Brown is a blue parallel /399, and the Powe a red parallel /299. My box didn’t contain any gold parallels from the base set. It did have a few other parallels of veterans (Andre Miller, T.J. Ford).
This O’Neal Power Brokers relic didn’t come out of the box I opened, though I would have been psyched if it had. The regular version of this relic is /99. This one is the blue version /79. When you start getting into patches and autographed versions of these relics, the print runs are /5 and less. Pulling one of those of just about any player on the checklist would be a thrill, too.
I did actually pull this Shaq relic from my box, and it’s one of the base versions I mentioned /99. And I was pumped to pull a Shaq. I thought, surely this is going to be the best card in my box.
At the time you think, a Shaq relic, what can beat that? And then something else did.
Horry is a guy who doesn’t get a ton of hobby love. He’s not in as many inserts and relic/autograph sets, but had a huge impact on many championship teams. I appreciate too seeing him in a Spurs jersey. I’d say I’m a closet Spurs fan, and my collecting habits recently are starting to reflect that. It started with a Duncan collection, and it’s started to branch into Tony Parker, David Robinson, and I expect it to continue further with other guys like Ginobili, and role players on Spurs teams like Michael Finley, Horry, Stephen Jackson.
The Horry is an Executive Level Relic, the Gold version number out of 25, and the scan really doesn’t do it justice. I really need to start taking some pictures from my phone or camera and see if I can get better images for the cards that aren’t scanning well. I did purchase a photo box, and plan to do a blog post dedicated to the setup and show the results of that. But for now I’ll go with my scan.
Again, this product is so unique. I can’t think of a set that looks quite like this. Some of the Panini sparkle parallels might resemble the effect on the front of these, somewhat. But the product as a whole, it stands out. Glad to own some cards of key players that fit into my collection. Even the base cards are great, and I actually prefer them to some of the parallel versions.
The box I opened close to 15 years ago (my goodness) had at least one autograph that I can remember. It was Denham Brown out of Connecticut. There may have been another. Hilton Armstrong comes to mind, another UConn product. Neither of those guys had standout NBA careers, but those autos were beautiful. Do a search for the Rondo or Kyle Lowry and tell me you wouldn’t want those cards in your collection. Wow.
What’s your favorite basketball product that didn’t last more than a year or two? I am excited to hear the answer.