Lone Superfractor

One of my favorite boxes I’ve opened was Topps 1952 Style from 2005-06. Danny Granger’s rookie season, looking for Chris Paul rookies, and a vintage design made for a great card set. It’s one of the few card sets that I’ve completed.

The best card I opened from my box remains the only Superfractor in my collection to this day. Fortunately I opened an All-Star in Tracy McGrady.

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I probably could have sold this for a decent return and could probably still get one now, but it remains in my collection and I don’t particularly want to part with it. Maybe someday I’ll find a McGrady collector where this would fit in and that will be its destination.

Have you opened a Superfractor? What set it is from, what player, and do you still have it?


Pickups of the Week: Three Card Mailday

I saw a Duncan insert on ebay a few weeks back for a reasonable price so I of course had to look at other items from the same seller. I added a two more cards to my lot and checked out. Outside of Pacers I am collecting Tim Duncan and Grant Hill, mainly interested in 90s inserts at this point. Let’s get to the cards!

2000-01 Fleer Triple Crown Heir Force 01 Tim Duncan #14

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The first is the least exciting of the three, and it also scanned the worst. You can just barely see Duncan’s face in the background of this one. The HF01 repeated on the left side just seems to be there to fill up space. I remember opening packs of Triple Crown that came in those boxes with a variety of hobby and retail packs. Tried to find the odds on this insert set online but couldn’t find it. I’m thinking the odds were not too tough on these.

1998-99 Skybox Thunder Boss Grant Hill #6

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This one is much more exciting. The Boss insert was 1:16 hobby packs, so an average of 2 per box. It’s no Noyz Boyz at 1:300, but it’s an attractive insert set with a unique design. I’m a fan.

2000-01 Hoops Hot Prospects Hoops Originals Tim Duncan #2

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This is the card I was searching for originally. Beautiful design and a die-cut too. These were inserted 1 per 24 pack box, the same rarity as a rookie jersey, and with the rookie class that year I think I’d prefer pulling one of these.


A Few Loose Packs

After deciding I was restarting my basketball collecting, a natural early step towards that was heading to the local target to pick up a couple of packs. I came away with two packs of 2016-17 Donruss and one pack of 2016-17 NBA Hoops. Here are the highlights of the packs.

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First the best of the base cards from the Hoops pack. Sabonis is the 20 year old son of basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis. He played in the Rising Stars game for the World Team on Friday night as part of NBA All-Star weekend. He’s averaging 6.1 points per game in 21.7 minutes per game off the bench for the OKC Thunder after being the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft.

Dirk Nowitzki needs no introduction. We go from a rookie to one of the top international players of all-time. He’s averaging 20.2 points per game over his last 5.

And John Wall is having his best season yet as the Wizards have surged up the Eastern Conference standings.

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The insert from the first pack is a Faces of the Future card of Heat forward Justice Winslow. In my opinion this insert set would look a whole lot better if the color scheme matched the team’s uniforms.

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The best of the base cards from the Donruss packs. I’d be glad to pull just about any card of Anthony Davis these days. Remember when Jeremy Lin was a hot pull? I like the Donruss design a bit better than the Hoops base design.

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The only rookie I pulled from the two Donruss packs that was a first round selection was Siakam, the 27th pick in the draft for Toronto. As with many rookies his playing time has been inconsistent in his rookie season.

Hall Kings is an insert set I can get behind. Sharp design with multiple images of the player. Can’t recall pulling too many cards of Dantley. He did play for the Pacers during the 1977-78 season. This means I do need his autograph for my Pacers autograph collection. He was a six-time All-Star, all with the Jazz. Though his best statistical seasons were with the Jazz, he is probably pictured as a Piston because of the team’s deep playoff runs in 1987 and 1888, where they lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-3 and in the NBA Finals to the Lakers 4-3, respectively. Just looking at the numbers for Dantley, the thing that jumps off the page to me outside of averaging over 30 ppg in four seasons, is his career field goal percentage as a small forward. 54% for his career, good for 27th best in league history. If you look at that list, though, you’ll notice most players as power fowards or centers.

Lastly we have a red press proof #’d out of 75 of Lou Williams. There’s also silver /299, purple /199, Red /25, Gold /10 and Black 1/1s. So while I got one of the rarer press proofs, I would have preferred a different player. Nice shot of Lou going in for a jam, though.

I generally like to at least sample each product that shows up in Wal-mart or Target with a pack or two. I prefer Donruss to Hoops this year and I look forward to the Optic brand to try to pick up some shiny Pacers.


Top 5 favorite George Hill cards in my collection

I started going out of my way to add George Hill cards to my collection during his last season in San Antonio. I just liked his game. He fit right in with the crisp, fast ball movement that the Spurs still deploy on opponents. He’s got a great 3-point shot and driving floater and plays good perimeter defense.

Like a lot of NBA fans, I play (or used to play) a lot of NBA 2K games on the playstation. One of my challenges was to turn around the struggling Bobcats. In the game I was able to trade for George Hill. It’s funny how things like video games can turn you into a fan of certain players. One game I made it my mission to score 50 points with Hill, and I succeeded.

Anyway, that summer George Hill was traded on draft night to the Pacers for Kawhi Leonard. I don’t think the Pacers had any intention of drafting and holding onto Leonard, so I don’t feel too bad as a Pacers fan about the outcome of the trade. And George Hill became a key piece of several Pacers deep playoff runs. This past summer the Pacers traded Hill to the Jazz in a 3-team deal, getting back Jeff Teague. I understand the Pacers got younger with the trade and are making an effort to play more up-tempo, which Teague fits into. But by gosh I miss George Hill’s game! And Hill is having a career best season with the Jazz. I couldn’t be happier for him and the Jazz got a great piece which will help them make yet another deep playoff run for George Hill.

Onto the cards!

2008-09 Bowman Chrome #171

My George Hill collection is not anywhere close to my group of Duncan cards, but I do have a few autos which I am lacking with Duncan. Hill has a nice, readable signature. Out of IUPUI in Indianapolis, Hill was the hometown hero for the Pacers. This card points out him being the only Jaguar to be selected in the NBA draft.

2008-09 Topps Chrome #204

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Another rookie card of Hill, it’s hard to leave a Topps Chrome rookie off the list. The quote from IUPUI’s coach says it all about George Hill. Just a class act and the perfect 6th man and sub for Tony Parker.

2010-11 Panini Season Update Signatures #123

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This one makes the list because I pulled it out of a box of Season Update myself! Can’t go wrong with pulling an autograph of one of your favorite players! This card was from his last year in San Antonio.

2010-11 Panini Timeless Treasures Silver #25

Timeless Treasures for 2010-11 was a single pack containing 5 cards, with an SRP of $100/pack. A card this rare from a high-end product like that is good enough to make my list.

2012-13 Panini Past & Present #54

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Believe it or not, this is the only card I have of George Hill in a Pacers uniform. Remember I pretty much stopped collecting in 2012, picking up baseball cards in 2014, and I am just now getting back into the basketball card scene this year. I certainly have many holes to fill in my George Hill collection, but this group of cards is a good start.

Watching the Jazz destroy the Pacers the other night fairly easily, I couldn’t help but feel great for Hill, who scored 30 points against his old team. I’ll be pulling for the Jazz to come out of the Western Conference this year. Way to go GHill3.

 


Top 10 favorite Tim Duncan cards in my collection

Tim Duncan is my favorite non-Pacer of all time, and probably my second favorite player behind Reggie Miller. It’s weird not being able to watch Duncan play this season. In my book he goes down as the greatest power forward in the history of the game. So much has already been said about Duncan, so I will get down to the cards. These aren’t necessarily the most valuable cards in my collection, although some of them may fall into that space. They are just my favorites. They break down into four categories.

Category 1: The Rookies

1997-98 Metal Universe #66 and 1997-98 Metal Universe Championship #72

I’m starting the list by breaking the rules with counting two cards as one, but I just couldn’t choose one over the other and I wanted nine other spots. Try to find cooler base sets than these two.

1997-98 E-X 2001 #75

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This certainly was a great year for basketball cards, wasn’t it? I remember opening a few packs of these and pulling a Patrick Ewing. Even though he was on the hated Knicks I was still in love with the card and design. I probably don’t have that card anymore but it sure was a thrill for an 11 year old to open packs of this stuff.

1997-98 Topps Chrome #115

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The most recognizable of Duncan’s rookie cards, along with probably his SP Authentic rookie. While I never added a refractor version to my collection, his Chrome rookie has to fit somewhere in my top 10. The back of this one asks what makes a star. Is it scoring? Rebounding? Defense? Consistency? Heart? Duncan has all of these. A good quote too from Dave Odom, Duncan’s coach at Wake Forest on the back.

1997-98 SP Authentic #165

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Duncan throwing down a jam with future teammate and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr watching. Part of what makes this a cool card is it was the first year with the full SP Authentic named set. The previous year obviously had a great rookie class and some key rookie cards in the SP set with Kobe being the top card, but 1997-98 was the first SP Authentic set. This set the stage for 1998-99 which I remember as being a hot set with Vince Carter’s rookie being the most sought after at the time.

Category 2: The Rookie Year Inserts

1997-98 Skybox Premium Next Game #7

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Looks like the modern Court Kings sets. Just always liked the look of this set and Duncan going for the lay-in makes for a great card. Always blows my mind that the Spurs landed Duncan in the first place because of Robinson’s injury.

1997-98 Ultra Heir To The Throne #7

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Don’t have a great reason for picking this except he is sitting on a throne of basketballs! What a design for an insert set.

1997-98 Z-Force Big Men On Court #4

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This one has to rate up there in terms of value. I’m fairly sure one of my friends traded it to me in the early 2000s and I’m sure I got the best of whatever trade we made. I’m trying to reacquaint myself with the basketball card hobby, and what I’m noticing is if the insert set was redone in the Upper Deck Retro set, then the original set is probably pretty highly sought after these days.

Category 3: Other Inserts

1998-99 Skybox Premium Jam Pack #15

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This is the first insert I pulled of Duncan from a pack, and I’ve held onto it for a long time. For this reason alone it makes the list. It’s also an interesting design that hasn’t been close to replicated, with a shiny pick background of water, rocky shorelines, and sky.

Category 4: Relics

2003-04 Fleer Genuine Insider Team USA #TU-TD

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I can’t put enough Team USA cards into my collection. In fact there are some insert sets I’d like to put together from some other sets around this time focused on Team USA. One is an insert set from Fleer Avant, if I remember right. I picked this up right before I closed up shop on the blog in 2012, but it still cracks my top 10.

2007-08 Stadium Club Beam Team Relic #BTR-TD

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Hard to go wrong putting a Beam Team insert into a top 10 list. Add a relic to the mix and it was hard to omit this one from this post. It’s a plain black swatch but it doesn’t bother me.

So there you have it. Notice no autographs in this list. Haven’t added one of those to my collection yet, but would like to if the price is right. I plan to share more of my Duncan collection in future posts, and I need to get a wantlist up. Don’t have most of his newer cards and want to see which inserts from the 1990s and early 2000s I am missing.

 


A Return, of sorts

Hello to the blogosphere. When I started this blog back in the summer of 2011, it was because I noticed a void of basketball card blogs in the hobby and wanted to show some of my collection and talk about the hobby I’ve been a part of since I was a child. Now I am thirty years old with a baby boy, hoping I can pass to him a love of basketball, and with that a way to enjoy the sport more, and something we can share.

I was excited to interact with other collectors, get their opinions and discover parts of the hobby I had missed or overlooked. A few other basketball card blogs came and went, and my site grew over the years it was active. But I noticed the baseball card portion of the blogosphere was infinitely larger and more active. And so in 2014 after a 2 year hiatus, I started a baseball card blog, Card Stacks Blog, and started to follow MLB more and pick up Atlanta Braves cards and a few other players. I certainly don’t plan to completely abandon that blog and will post there when the urge strikes me.

I found that sports card bloggers are incredibly generous and are eager to interact and exchange cards. I am hoping that there is an audience for a basketball card blog. It may not have as many box breaks as it did when I had more disposable income, but I will open the occasional loose pack and continue to share cards from my collection. I also hope to send cards that don’t fit into my collection to other collectors, and add some recent Pacers. I’m less of a ‘hit’ collector these days, but I won’t turn them away and I am still looking to add autographs of Pacer players. I have 0 cards of Myles Turner who looks to be a superstar in the making. Paul George has also become a superstar over the past several years. The NBA as a whole has changed a lot and I hope to add some league commentary as well.

I can’t make a post without showing some cards, of course. Last year I opened a blaster of 2015-16 Hoops for the purpose of giving cards to kids on a youth basketball team I coached. I kept a couple of Pacers.

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The only guy still on the team is Stuckey. Budinger and Sloan have moved on. In fact, the Sloan is actually a Nets card. For a third string point guard, Sloan was a bargain for what he brought to the team.

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I also pulled an autograph. Holmes is a second round pick in the 2015 draft out of Bowling Green. He’s received some decent minutes with the 76ers and also spent some time in the Developmental League this season. Would like to send this to a 76ers collector. It looks like there’s some hope for fans with this team with Embiid looking like a star.

I’m excited to update this blog again. Are there any basketball card collectors out there in the blogosphere?


Shift in collection focus

Since I started collecting back in the mid-90s, my focus has always been on collecting ‘any and all Indiana Pacers cards, past or present’. The mid-to-late 90s Pacers will always hold a special place in my heart and in my basketball card collection. Guys like Mark Jackson, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose, Dale and Antonio Davis, and of course the great Reggie Miller are my favorite players of all-time, and I doubt that will ever change. After that era of Pacer basketball, players like Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, along with lesser-knowns, have come and gone. While exciting to watch, now that these players have moved on, I can’t say I go and regularly look through my collections of these guys like I do the cards of Pacers from the 90s.

How this impacts my collecting habits today? Well instead of collecting any and all Pacers, I’ve found myself shifting my focus to other favorite players not wearing a Pacer uniform, along with the key guys on the current team (currently Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, etc…). And so my Tim Duncan collection has taken off, I’ve added autographs of other greats such as Tony Parker and Paul Pierce to my collection, and I’ve put together small collections of Kevin Durant and Grant Hill. I’m pleased with this shift so far, and while I’ll always collect the Pacers, I won’t have to look back in 10 years and try to remember how I ended up with so many cards of Ike Diogu or Shawne Williams. Plus, I’ll still have these guys covered in my All-Time Pacers autograph collection.

With all that said, I’ve picked up some recent Duncan inserts to add to the collection. Pretty excited about the Star Power Plus in particular.