Box Break: 2011-12 Panini Hoops

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.

Artist’s Proof (1): Tayshaun Prince
Glossy (2): Patrick Patterson, Daniel Gibson

A Night to Remember (4): Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Dwyane Wade, Jason Terry
Action Photos (3): Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire, Stephen Curry

Courtside (3): Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce
Slam Dunk Champions (3): Kenny ‘Sky’ Walker, Josh Smith, Blake Griffin

Hall of Fame Heroes (4): Nate Thurmond, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Dolph Schayes

Hoop Dreams (1): James Harden

Autographs (2): Hasheem Thabeet, Randy Foye


For a sub-$50 box, Hoops delivers as advertised, providing a bunch of inserts and parallels and the two autos per box, with a shot at a nice one (Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, etc…)

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.

Wednesday Wax: 1999-00 Topps Series 1 Hobby

The Set:
1999-00 Topps Series 1
36 packs per box, 11 cards per pack
Series 1 base set contains 110 base cards, 10 rookies inserted 1 in 5
MVP Promo, 1 in 336 packs
Record Numbers, 1 in 12 packs
Season’s Best, 1 in 12 packs
Patriarchs, 1 in 22 packs
Picture Perfect, 1 in 8 packs
Prodigy, 1 in 36 packs
Prodigy Refractor, 1 in 144 packs
Autographs Group A, 1 in 877 packs
Autographs Group B, 1 in 351 packs

Our Break:
Definitely received a complete base set, likely came up with two.  As with our Series 2 break, the base cards have the blindingly bright orange borders, with otherwise nice action shots of the player in the center.  The photography in the Shaq we’ve shown above is magnificent, capturing the dominance of Shaq’s time with the Lakers.  Again though, we busted this box for shot at some nice inserts, and because it was a cheap break with much enjoyment in pack breaking.  It’s nice to open 18 packs and realize you still have half the box to go.

’99 Draft Picks (8): Jason Terry, Corey Maggette x2, Ron Artest x2, Richard Hamilton x2, Elton Brand

Picture Perfect (6): Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Keith Van Horn, Tim Hardaway, Ron Mercer, David Robinson

Record Numbers (4): Karl Malone, Kerry Kittles, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan

Season’s Best (2): Tim Hardaway, Vince Carter

Patriarchs (2): Mitch Richmond, Patrick Ewing

Prodigy (1): Michael Doleac

Prodigy Refractors (1): Matt Harpring


Once again, the design and flair on some of these insert sets, Patriarchs and Season’s Best in particular, is something you just don’t see in modern-day sets.  The Picture Perfect inserts don’t do much for me, but most of the others are attractive and colorful sets.  Prodigy has a Chrome feel.  The excitement I felt opening the Prodigy insert and refractor quickly faded when I saw the players on each card.  Certainly could have done better, but pulling an insert with 1:144 odds felt pretty good.

Pulling multiples on several rookies was disappointing as well, but at least these are of guys that are still playing today.

As with our series 2 break, this one was a blast to break, and it won’t cost a fortune to pick up.  These should be available for under $30 on ebay or elsewhere.  One of these days we’ll open an autograph, but for now, we’ll treasure our Matt Harpring Refractor.

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!

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’.

Insert Set Flashback: 1994-95 Ultra Rebound Kings

Change of plans for today’s post. I was hoping to have a box break for today’s Wednesday Wax. Unfortunately the boxes that came in earlier in the week were damaged during shipping. Instead I am highlighting another insert set, 1994-95 Ultra Rebound Kings.

The Set:
1994-95 Ultra Rebound Kings

Set Odds:
1:2 Series 2 packs

Key Cards:
Shaquille O’Neal $2.00
Chris Webber $1.00

Why I Like It:
One of the other first insert sets I attempted to build.  I opened a ton of packs of 94-95 Ultra and it became one of my favorite sets because I was so familar with the cards.  Rebound Kings is a 10 card set that contains cards of 6 current/future Hall of Famers, 5 of them true centers (Mourning, Mutombo, Olajuwon, O’Neal, Robinson).  Pretty good ratio there – shows how the league has gone away from the traditional center toward a power forward/center hybrid.