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.
Panini Hoops has 8 cards per pack, 36 packs per hobby box. Each box typically contains two autographed cards per box, a glossy parallel card or two, an Artist’s proof parallel card or two, and a myriad of insert cards. Here is what Hoops Hobby pulled.
Some of these insert sets I like and may even try to complete myself. I find I enjoy the simple set designs like ‘Hoop Dreams’ and ‘Courtside’. The Slam Dunk set and ‘A Night to Remember’ have too much going on in one card.
The autographs are underwhelming, with this box providing Hasheem Thabeet (not afraid to go ahead and label Hasheem a big bust), and bench player Randy Foye. It’s a shame these autographs aren’t on-card, but again, for a sub-$50 product, can’t complain.
Hoops appeals to the crowd that likes opening a ton of cards, pulling a ton of inserts, and loves pulling multiple cards of their favorite players. Many of the stars have multiple base cards in this release. The base cards could be used for TTM autograph collectors and in-person autographs. While the value is good for the price, the potential for this release is so high, though, and it comes as a slight disappointment to me just because of some of the insert sets being underwhelming in design. I would like to see future releases such as these modeled after the 2010-11 Donruss product, which had a similar starting price point and received more praise from collectors.
Excited about adding these three cards to the Pacers autograph collection, which now includes autographs of 76 different Pacer players.
David West’s SP Authentic rookie autograph can be had at a reasonable price. He is still capable of a double-double on any given night.
Lou Amundson is becoming a fan favorite in Indiana with his high energy and constant hustle. He scored a career-high 21 points last week to lead the Pacers over the Portland Trailblazers.
And of course Rik Smits is an all-time Pacer great who is fairly short on different autograph cards, only included in a few sets, Skybox Autographics from the mid-late 90s, as well as the 2005-06 Topps Style set.
Panini’s second basketball product of the season, Preferred, is out and its singles are appearing on ebay. Each box contains three autographs and a fold-out booklet with jersey swatches from up to 8 current and former players. I have to say, these booklets are awesome, particularly the patch versions.
I’m impressed with the product. At the $200/box price, I’ll be looking to pick up singles. At first glance, I wasn’t thrilled with the triangular Crown Royale autographs, but they are growing on me. It helps that these are on-card signatures.
2010-11 Panini Prestige
8 packs per retail box, 10 cards per retail pack
150 card base veterans and legends, 95 rookies (2 versions for each)
Bonus Shots parallel (#’d versions out of 499, 249, 49, 25 and rookies out of 999)
Franchise Favorites inserts and memorabilia versions
Playmakers inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
Hardcourt Heroes inserts and memorabilia versions
Inside the Numbers inserts and memorabilia versions
Old School Inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
NBA Draft Class inserts
Prestigious Picks inserts and memorabilia verions
Prestigious Pros inserts and memorabilia versions
Stars of the NBA inserts and memorabilia versions
Stat Stars inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
Super Sophs inserts and memorabilia verions
True Colors inserts and memorabilia verions
NBA Draft Class Logo autographs
Lacking a hobby box to break this week, I turned to my local Target and found this retail box on sale. The results are pretty typical of what to expect from a retail box. Pulling the John Wall was fortunate and made the break an above average one, but with the rookies included and the game worn card, which I imagine is included at one-per-box on average, you could do much worse on a retail break.
The base set has both legends and current players. It was nice to find old favorites such as Muggsey Bogues and Dell Curry in the product along with new stars of the game.
Honestly since I opened a few packs of Prestige upon its release, I’ve felt the base set design a bit lacking. The gray splashes on the right don’t do anything for me, although the photography used for many of the cards is pretty exciting, such as in the Kobe for example.
If you can find these boxes, particularly at a discounted price, they are worth picking up for a fun break that delivers on rookies, inserts and memorablia cards.
While the Sixers have played one of the league’s easiest schedules so far in the early season, their 12-5 record cannot be discounted. Even in a loss to the Wade-less Heat Saturday night, I was struck by the quality depth of this Sixers squad. In Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner, they’ve got three guys who would start for some teams and heck, they should probably be starting for their own team. Team balance is a result of their quality depth. Going into their game Monday against the Wizards, the Sixers had seven players averaging double figure scoring, led by Louis Williams (coming off the bench) at 15.5 ppg. Sidenote: Louis is currently shooting better from outside the 3-point arc than inside it.
With a young core that is locked up for the next several years, this team should be a contender in the East for years. They’ve already got some playoff experience and will get more this season.
Will this recent success and bright outlook for the Sixers have any kind of hobby impact? While Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday have more recent and probably more readily available rookie cards and autographs, some other Sixers might be flying under the radar a bit. Andre Iguodala’s rookie cards and autographs have some room to grow in value. Louis Williams autographs can be had for less than $10 easily. A few of the cards below might be worth a pickup if you can find them on the cheap:
2004-05 Topps Chrome #174 Andre Iguodala RC
2004-05 SP Authentic #179 Andre Iguodala AU RC
2005-06 SPx #126 Louis Williams JSY AU RC
and other rookie autographs.
1 in 2 series one retail packs
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
2002-03 Fleer Hot Shots
24 packs per box, 8 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 Basic cards, 29 Give and Go, 39 All-Stars
27 Rookie Hats-Off /350
6 Vince Carter Hats-Off /350
6 Rookies /350
Hot Hands Parallels /199, Rookies /99
Give and Go Dual Event/Game Used /50
All-Stars Triple Event/Game Used /25
Hot Shots 1:8 packs, Event Worn 1:30 packs
En Fuego 1:12 packs, Event Worn 1:44 packs
Net Burners 1:24 packs, Event Worn /100
Hot Numbers /350, Event Worn /50
Parallel Versions of Event Worn cards
A fun time for basketball breaks, to be sure. The chase cards here are the Yao Ming rookie memorabilia cards, the All-Star Triple jerseys numbered to 25, as well as the other parallel memorabilia versions of the insert sets.
An excellent base set with lots of inserts, parallels and memorabilia cards in each box. This is a 2000s box with a 90s feel. It has two subsets. The Give and Go cards for the most part show a point guard or high assist man on the front with the finisher on the back. The second subset contains participants in the previous year’s All-Star weekend, and by participants, I mean in the rookie-sophomore game, three-point contest, dunk contest, and All-Star game. That’s why we have guys in there like Chris Mihm.
These cards have a glossy finish, more noticeable on the darker cards like some of the Rookie Hats-Off cards. These memorabilia cards are condition sensitive, particularly on the corners.
Want to point out that the typical box will not contain 6 memorabilia cards. The overall odds of pulling a memorabilia card are 1 in 8 packs, but this box contained a ‘hot pack’ with 4 memorabilia cards in the one pack (the 4 Rookie Hats-off cards).
Not sure how many redemption cards were inserted for this product, but we were lucky enough to avoid them.
Overall a blast to open, and it was certainly exciting to open a hot-pack, even if we didn’t hit any of the higher valued rookies such as Yao, Carlos Boozer, or the scarcer All-Star or Give and Go jerseys. A product I wanted to open at the time it came out, and still a worthwhile break today.
1997-98 Ultra Jam City
1 in 8 series 1 packs
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.
The 1999-00 Fleer Feel the Game sets were some of the earliest basketball game used card sets released. The Fleer Focus versions inserted at just 1 in 288 packs. At those odds, I am surprised that the Grant Hill card pictured above has a high book value of only $20. These can be had at an affordable price, they just don’t show up that often.
Question – Today, most products guarantee at least one memorabilia card per box, most more than that. How has your enjoyment of the hobby been impacted by the decreased rarity of memorabilia cards?