This past weekend my family and I took a trip, spending the weekend in my college town. We went to a football game and I was able to share the campus with my wife and two sons. It’s not a short trip, and it’s been since before my boys were born that we’ve gone. While the campus is familiar and in many ways feels the same, going with my wife and boys was a brand new experience. I talked about where I lived, where I went to classes, played sports, shared specific moments and memories that took me back in time. My boys saw everything for the first time.
Around that same time period as when I was in college, mainly before and after or when I was home on breaks, I really built the bulk of what is my Indiana Pacers collection today. I made hundreds of trades with other collectors, went to card shows, spent a little on eBay (as much as a high school or college student realistically could), and enjoyed the hobby with my Dad.
In many ways the trip I mentioned is how the present in the hobby feels to me. I’m finding that a great way to enjoy collecting is to revisit the sets and brands I collected then. I’ve spent some time recently adding to my player collections, especially for late 90s and 2000s Pacers, in TCDB to get an idea of what I have and what I’m missing. As a result I’ve been able to identify some Pacers team parallel sets I’m going to slowly put together when the cards become available for the right price, and ideally through trade. I want to share some of those sets and cards and the cards I’ve picked up.
One initial statement- this list doesn’t include refractors. I’ll add any Pacer refractor I find if I don’t already have it, but I’m looking at non-refractor sets in this post. Starting with the oldest, I always liked the 1998-99 Upper Deck Ionix Recriprocal set. They aren’t utlra rare with a print run of 750, but I like the futuristic design and the shine on these cards compared to their 1999-00 non-numbered companions. It’s also a small Pacer checklist, with just Rik Smits and Reggie Miller as part of the 100 card set. I still need the Reggie, so it goes on the want list.
2000-01 Fleer Futures Copper /750 is up next. I picked up the Al Harrington and Travis Best for about a dollar a piece. Can’t beat that. The Copper parallel could easily pass for a Gold parallel. I appreciate how the player extends out of the background and onto the border. Great design with a textured glitter type feel for the border. A unique product that only lasted for one year.
The Pacers have 8 players in the set. With the addition of Harrington and Best, that makes 3 in my collection. I already had the Jalen Rose. So I have the following left on my want list:
#24 Reggie Miller
#128 Sam Perkins
#136 Austin Croshere
#142 Jermaine O’Neal
#153 Jonathan Bender
I’m going to lump MVP Gold and Super Scripts together in one group, from both 1999-00 and 2000-01. I didn’t have any of either, but I started things off with Austin Croshere Gold from 2000-01. I opened a lot of packs of this product at the time and I only remember pulling one Gold script, Joel Pryzbilla if I remember right. Too many cards from these sets to even make it worth listing. If it’s not this Croshere card, it’s on my want list.
Next is 2000-01 Fleer Legacy, the Ultimate parallel /175. Again this is the first Pacer I’ve added. That leaves three to go:
#41 Reggie Miller
#56 Jalen Rose
#77 Austin Croshere
It’s another gold parallel that has a simple, classy design. I also appreciate the foil serial number on the front of the card.
The Footprints parallel from 2001-02 Fleer Shoebox is subtle in that the only difference outside of the serial number on the back is the footprint right under the name and position on the top left. The front of the card looks identical to the base version. I’ve seen cards where the footprint is there but the serial number is not. Solid Pacers checklist on this one- six players, a mix of key players from late 90s playoff runs and early cards from the 2000s teams that also had deep playoff runs. With the Best now in my collection, here are the ones I’m missing:
#5 Al Harrington
#10 Jalen Rose
#24 Jermaine O’Neal
#89 Reggie Miller
#175 Jamaal Tinsley (RC)
When I think of cards from 2002-03, I think of collecting Fred Jones out of Oregon. Every pack I opened I was looking for rookies of the future slam dunk champ, thinking he’d be an eventual replacement for Reggie Miller at the 2 guard spot. Ultimately he ended up being a rotation player for a handful of seasons, a likeable player to cheer for. While I picked up a great stack of rookie year cards, there are still some on my want list. Was able to cross off the Emerald parallel from 2002-02 Fleer Premium to go with the Star Rubies version I picked up back in the 2000s. I’m looking for parallels of other Pacers as well:
#EM12 Jermaine O’Neal
#EM80 Ron Artest
#SR12 Jermaine O’Neal
#SR21 Jamaal Tinsley
#SR80 Ron Artest
#SR100 Reggie Miller
Lastly for this post, I’m looking for Platinum parallels from 2002-03 and 2003-04. These cards are hard to photograph and are pretty condition sensitive as far as the surface, but they are awesome to see in person. /100 these cards are pretty scarce, and some of my current top targets since I’ve always enjoyed the Platinum brand with Nameplates, throwback rookie cards, etc… 2002-03 has a pretty large Pacers checklist, and I’m looking for all except the Jermaine O’Neal. In 2003-04 I am looking for all except the Artest and Jamaal Tinsley.
Collecting sets from the late 90s and early 2000s takes me back to the time I spent cheering on those Pacers teams and players, collecting with my Dad and friends, and the time I spent making trades and connections on collecting message boards. And by making new want lists and looking through Pacers cards I collected then, it makes the old feel fresh and new again.
It’s a good collecting place to be in.