Insert Set Flashback: 1996-97 E-X2000 Star Date 2000

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The Set:
1996-97 E-X2000 Star Date 2000

Set Odds:
1 in 9 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant #3
Allen Iverson #7

Why I Like It:
Aren’t the jerseys on these three enough to like the set as a whole? The original Raptors jerseys are great, and seeing ‘Bullets’ on a jersey makes me miss watching Webber and Howard try to make Washington a winner.

Design-wise, what’s not to love? The scans look just as great as the cards do in person. Looking at the scan, it kind of reminds me of the new Panini Revolution product that was just released, minus the stars.

This set has a great checklist, with all the major rookies from the class of 1996-97. Kobe, Iverson, Marbury, Ray Allen, they all make an appearance in this set. The only rookie shown here is Camby. I like that this set is affordable based on being inserted at a reasonable 1:9 packs. Of if only I could bust packs from E-X2000 today. What a blast that would be.


Insert Set Flashback: 1997-98 Fleer Key Ingredients




The Set:
1997-98 Fleer Key Ingredients

Set Odds:
1 in 2 series one retail packs

Key Cards:
Shaquille O’Neal $1.50
Scottie Pippen $1.00

Why I Like It:
I actually didn’t know this set existed until recently, but its metallic looking finish jumped out at me.  These players are the ‘Keys’ to their teams, and each card has an identical background of the paint which is, as with several inserts sets from the late 90s, not a flat card.  There’s a 3D type effect that makes the player stand out against the background.  Fleer also produced a Gold version of these that were inserted at 1 in 18 packs.

I am putting the regular set together, and have just a few more cards I need to finish it.  You can find the ones I need on my Insert Wantlists page.  Let me know if you have any of the remaining cards there.  I have lots to trade. You can leave a comment or contact me at HoopsHobby@gmail.com


Insert Set Flashback: 1997-98 Ultra Jam City


The Set:
1997-98 Ultra Jam City

Set Odds:
1 in 8 series 1 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant $8.00
Shaquille O’Neal $4.00
Kevin Garnett $3.00

Why I Like It:
Oh man, how to get started.  How sweet would a modern-day Jam City set be?  Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, LeBron, etc… highlighting a set of the league’s best dunkers?  Or a set with past slam-dunk champions?  The Jam City name had tons of potential.

The cartoon-y black and white background makes the color shot of the player jump off the card.  Putting some of the league’s arenas into the background would have been a nice touch.

One thing I found amusing from the cards above: How does Juwan have a pass into Jam City when the back of the card says that he likes to step out for 18-footers?  Howard could throw it down in his younger days, but at least mention that rather than his set-shot ability.


Insert Set Flashback: 2002-03 Hoops Stars Raising Up


The Set:
2002-03 Hoops Stars Raising Up

Set Odds:
1 in 5 packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan $10.00
Kobe Bryant $8.00
Yao Ming $5.00

Why I Like It:
Hoops stars was an exciting set for me to open. The rookie cards are short-printed but not impossible to collect, inserted at 1:4 packs.  Serial numbered parallel sets, game used versions of the inserts. To me this set had it all.  The draw for me was the variety and creativity in the inserts and the star players available in those sets.   All the insert sets have a nice glossy finish as well. Each has a blue parallel version.

Only complaint on this insert set is showing the same picture on both the front and back. Would have liked to have seen some variety. Still feel like creative sets such as these are what’s missing from today’s products.


Insert Set Flashback: 2002-03 Topps Tandems


The Set:
2002-03 Topps Tandems

Set Odds:
1 in 5 hobby packs, 1 in 10 retail packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan/Richard Hamilton $10.00
Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant $8.00

Why I Like It:
We’ve got some geometric shapes going on in this set’s background!  While not the most flashy, there’s something about this sharp, clean design that caught my eye going through an old binder.  Maybe it’s the giant text at the top starting with the Double Ts, or the shiny surface of the cards.

Some of my favorite scoring duos from the late 90s-early 2000s are featured here, such as Big Dog and Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, the Rockets backcourt of Francis and Mobley.  The back of each card lists the top 10 scoring Duo’s from the previous season, serving as a checklist for the remaining cards.  I did notice a minor error on the Marbury/Marion card.  Typically only the players on the front of the card appear in bold on the back.  The Marbury/Marion also has Pierce and Walker in bold.  Minor, but something I easily missed the first time.


Insert Set Flashback: 1995-96 Fleer Total D



The Set:
1995-96 Fleer Total D

Set Odds:
1 in 5 Series 1 packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan $8.00
Shaquille O’Neal $3.00
Scottie Pippen $2.00

Why I Like It:
I opened more packs of 1995-96 Fleer than I’d care to admit in my early collecting days.  I was drawn to the set because of its variety of styles and patterns.  It’s also a large set so I didn’t find myself pulling the same players all the time.  The Total D set points out the defensive powerhouses of the mid-90s, such as ‘The Glove’ Gary Payton, shot-blockers Olajuwon and Mutumbo, and lockdown perimeter defenders in Jordan and Pippen.  The back description shares the player’s accolades on the defensive side of the floor.

While the uptempo, flashy offenses are often more fun to watch, getting crucial stops down the stretch wins games.  The Dirk-led Mavs finally broke through and won the championship last season after acquiring their defensive anchor in Tyson Chandler.  It’s hard to see them matching that success this season with Chandler now in New York.  Defense certainly matters, and these guys, showing their ‘Total D’, were the best at proving it.


Insert Set Flashback: 1999-00 Stadium Club Chrome True Colors


The Set:
1999-00 Stadium Club Chrome True Colors

Set Odds:
1 in 8 packs

Key Cards:
Shaquille O’Neal $2.50
Allen Iverson $2.00

Why I Like It:
The True Colors insert set is meant to highlight some of the game’s clutch performers.   It’s tough to find a more attractive insert set these days.  I am still disappointed that Stadium Club Chrome was a one-and-done product.  The text on the back of each card points out a particularly clutch moment in the player’s history.  Honestly, all of the insert sets from Stadium Club Chrome were well done.   Maybe there will be a Stadium Club Chrome edition of ‘Wednesday Wax’ coming in the near future…