2011 Hall of Fame Class

Headlining those being inducted tomorrow into the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Dennis Rodman, 2-time NBA All-Star, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time NBA Champion (2 with Pistons, 3 with Bulls), 7-time NBA Rebounding Champion, 22nd on All-Time Rebounding list, entering HOF on a Helicopter.

Chris Mullin, 5-time NBA All-Star, 4 All-NBA Teams, Member of original Dream Team

Artis Gilmore, 5-time ABA All-Star, 6-time NBA All-Star, 1971-72 ABA MVP, 1975 ABA Champion

Arvydas Sabonis, 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, 8-time European Player of the Year.  Excellent article from SI on the mystery man.

Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders, 8-time NBA Champion, only Bill Russell and Sam Jones have more championships as a player.  Great article on Satch and his contributions beyond his playing career.


Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Classics

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Classics
18 packs per box, 8 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards, 40 Legends, 40 Autographed rookies

Our Break:

Complete set of 100 base cards plus 30 duplicates
Legends /999 (2): Michael Finley, Chris Webber
Silver /250 (1): Jeff Green


Classic Moments (1): Rajon Rondo
Classic Combos (1): Karl Malone/John Stockton
Dress Code (2): David Lee, Andrea Bargnani
Dress Code Silver /250 (1): Toney Douglas



Classic Greats (1): Artis Gilmore
Blast From The Past (2): Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh


Membership Materials /499 (2): Tayshaun Prince, Pau Gasol


Autographed Rookies /699 (2): Luke Harangody, Terrico White

Impressions:

The base set design is one of my favorite designs from the past several years.  It does have a throwback feel with script text of the player, position, and Classics logo.  The primary team colors filling the majority of the background on the base cards make for a relatively bright and colorful set.  The base set had at least 3 players from each team, with a good mix of stars, established veterans, and up-and-coming players.  We also received a complete set of base cards, which is pretty rare and definitely a plus for those set collectors and the player collectors who want to be sure to pull a favorite player.

The two ‘Legend’ cards we pulled had a red and black color scheme with a black and white photo to give the card a look of nostalgia.  While the obvious legends were included like Bird, Magic, Dr. J, Moses, etc.., some of the choices confused me a bit, such as Michael Finley, Glenn Robinson, and Jamal Mashburn, among others.  Are these guys really ‘Legends’?

While I found the base set appealing, the inserts were another story.  I found most of the inserts relatively bland, lacking the vibrant coloring of the base set.  Instead most of the inserts have a similar look, feel, and color scheme.  The Blast From The Past inserts confused me as well.  Chris Bosh’s card, for instance, features him in a Raptors uniform.  Glad to see we have blasted back a whole year to revisit his exile in Toronto.  I’d imagine most folks would be more excited to pull a card featuring Bosh in his new Heat uniform.

The insert ratio is appreciated, which including memorabilia and autographs was close to one per pack (15/18).

The Membership Materials cards are made to look like membership cards, and contain a mix of retired and current players.  Seeing at least one of the memorabilia or autographed cards from the box feature a retired player would have been nice.

We pulled two rookie autographs in the box- no complaints there.  The rookie autographs in the set are just excellent as they follow the base design and are signed on-card.  Surely the top rookie autographs are popular and selling well.

Recap:

Base Set: 5/5 Stars
Inserts: 2/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 4/5 Stars
Overall: 3.75/5 Stars

My biggest suggestion for a future Classics product would be to include more retired players per box (only 4 cards in my box), which is what most would probably expect from a product labeled ‘Classics’.  Maybe this was just an odd box.


TTM Tuesday: Favorite Returns, Derrick McKey

For this TTM Tuesday I will highlight another of my favorite returns, one that went straight to my personal collection, an autograph received from one of my favorite Indiana Pacers, Derrick McKey.  McKey was a member of the 1987-88 All-Rookie team and was named to the NBA All-Defensive 2nd team twice.  He spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Supersonics and the Indiana Pacers and played a key role in several deep playoff runs for both teams.  Received this Fleer Tradition card signed in about 2 weeks back in 2008.


Insert Set Flashback: 1995-96 Metal Rookie Roll Call


The Set:
1995-96 Metal Rookie Roll Call

Set Odds:
Randomly inserted in series one packs

Key Cards:
Jerry Stackhouse $3.00
Rasheed Wallace $2.50

Why I Like It:
I was in love with Fleer Metal cards back in the day.  This particular insert set is one of the most colorful designs I have ever seen on cards that wouldn’t be considered holographic or a refractor.  These cards are even better looking in person than in the scans.  Each card contains a background of basketballs colored almost like oil on a blacktop, with an action shot of the player in uniform.

The set features nearly all of the top picks from the 1995 NBA draft, the exception being Kevin Garnett, the best player by far to come out of this class.  Cherokee Parks and Brent Barry are the only players appearing in this 10-card set who were not drafted in the top 10 of the 95′ draft.  Pulling this set out makes me want to find and open a box of Fleer Metal!


Insert Set Flashback: 1996 Skybox USA Texaco

Since I am still waiting on boxes that were damaged during their first shipment, again I will go with a special insert set flashback.  I hope to have a box break later in the day.


The Set:
1996 Skybox USA Texaco

Set Odds:
Could be obtained in special 3-card packs

Key Cards:
Shaquille O’Neal $1.25
Scottie Pippen $1.00

Why I Like It:
I’ve always been a fan of Olympic sets, and although the design isn’t the most exciting with a silver background and a player action shot, it still features the best players in the world at that time, the Dream Team III.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a lineup of Stockton, Hill, Pippen, Malone, and Shaq (or Hakeem, or Robinson) on the floor at the same time?  I actually prefer the design on the back of the cards to the front, as they feature the player with a flag backdrop with a list of career accomplishments on the left.

For more on Dream Team III and the 1996 Olympics, see the FIBA site for the tournament:

FIBA, 1996 Olympic Basketball

Interesting to note that Charles Barkley led team USA in scoring at just 12.4 ppg.  What balanced scoring!


TTM Tuesday: Favorite Returns, Eric Gordon

This week I will highlight a favorite return of mine from shooting guard Eric Gordon, received back in early 2008 in about two weeks through Indiana University.

It’s always fun to speculate on which college players will become stars in the pros, and college players are often better signers through the mail than current NBA players.  This was a custom index card I sent out and was pleased with the result.

Gordon should be considered one of the top 10 players at his position, surging on an up-and-coming Clippers squad that could make some noise in the coming years with a solid young core of Griffin, Gordon, DeAndre Jordan (Restricted FA), and others.


Insert Set Flashback: 1993-94 Fleer NBA Superstars


The Set:
1993-94 Fleer NBA Superstars

Set Odds:
Randomly Inserted

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan $10.00
Shaquille O’Neal $4.00

Why I Like It:
This 20 card set highlights the best players in the league at the time.  The sleek design features game shots on the right side with an overlayed image of the player.  In my opinion the most attractive insert set created up to that time.  Makes me miss the 90’s NBA and want to watch intros for the ‘NBA on NBC’.