I received a box of 2010 Panini Court Kings yesterday from Panini America for review. I've been waiting for this product to come out ever since Panini started posting product images on their Facebook page (click here). All-in-all, it was a fun box to open with some really good looking cards, but I also had a couple of knitpicking complaints that I'll get into. First thing's first though, I need to thank Panini for thinking enough of Hoopography to send me a box for review. This is the second box I've received from Panini for review, Timeless Treasures being the first. Also, I will be giving away one of the cards from this box right here on the blog, so look for an upcoming contest giveaway sometime this weekend or early this coming week.
As mentioned above, I've been waiting for 2010 Court Kings to come out for a few months now. The cards have a "painting on canvas" look to them that I think looks really great and adds a sort of elegant sophistication to trading cards. Simply, its a little something different in an industry that is often flooded by the same designs product after product. No where is this "painting on canvas" effect more evident than on the box topper.
The Court Kings box toppers are part of a 5 x 7, 50 card sub set. Each box contains one individually sealed box topper. I opened it last and it was like opening an added bonus after going through the 11 card pack. Some of these box toppers are auto'd and I'm sure would be a great addition to any collection. The box topper in my box was this Devin Harris card numbered 111/349. If you look at a checklist for Court Kings, you'll see quite an impressive list of current and former NBA stars including: Kobe, Patrick Ewing, Kevin Durant, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Chris Bosh and Pete Maravich.
There were four base cards in the eleven card box. Each card is serial numbered depending on whether the card is a non-parallel #'d/450, a bronze #'d/149 or a silver #'d/99. The David Lee was a low print #'d 03/99! I'm never opposed to metal foiling of any kind. However, I wish David Lee was still with the Knicks so I could add this low print card to my PC.
I'm a big fan of great photography and Court Kings delivers on that. It's also cool how some background details are highlighted and some aren't due to the "painting on canvas" effect. This characteristic is really evident toward the top of the Hedo Turkoglu card with the blue arena advertising standing out. Plus I really like how KG is coming around Hedo to block his shot. Because of how the Celtic Green stands out, it almost looks like the card is supposed to feature KG and not Hedo. These Court Kings base cards are pretty solid all the way around, and the parallels add another fun dimension.
For as much as I liked the base cards, I felt these Artistry inserts were pretty pedestrian. They're basically a base card with out the great action shots or cool backgrounds. I do however like how tuff Carmelo looks and am rooting for the Knicks to trade Eddie Curry to the Nuggets for 'Melo. Hey, A guy can dream… right?
Each box is supposed to contain four auto's or memorabilia cards per box, but I was lucky enough to pull four auto'd/memorabilia cards plus a rookie redemption. That's a total of five in an eleven card box. Not too bad. In past Panini releases, I had been critical of some of the patch/jersey placements that were simply cut into the middle of a players torso. That design flaw is not a problem in Court Kings. Checkout the Allen Iverson dual jersey #'d 46/99. The memorabilia was placed on the sides so as not to arbitrarily cut into the image of the player. One complaint I do have about this card is the centering of the foiled "Court Kings" logo. It's… "just a bit outside", thanks Bob Eucker.
The Wayne Ellington Rookie Auto is nice. Nothing to get too excited about. It's #'d 194/649 and looks cool because of that "painting on canvas" effect again. I'm not a fan of sticker auto's, but I do understand their place in the hobby to keep product prices down. Also, there're plenty of other subsets in Court Kings 2010 that do feature on-card auto's.
As mentioned, I did receive a redemption. I know some collectors despise redemption cards, but I'm not one of them. I think they're fun and I've heard from other collectors that Panini does a pretty good job about getting them out to collectors in a reasonable amount of time. I was obviously hoping the rookie redemption I pulled would be for Blake Griffin or Brandon Jennings, but it was instead for Jonas Jerebko. He actually did have a decent rookie season last year with 9.3 points and 6 rebounds/game. It could be a good prospecting card in the future.
The final memorabilia cards that I pulled were pretty nice. This is the second Lebron James Jersey card I've pulled in the last two boxes of Panini product that I've opened. Those are pretty good odds, and this John Stockton card with the old school Jazz uniform isn't a bad looking card either. The James card is from the "Masterpieces" insert set that features 20 current and past NBA Stars. Again the "painting on canvas" theme is carried through the "Masterpieces" set and is even highlighted with the picture framing image on the card. Panini also came through again with the great photography and action shots. Just like a Van Gogh, James' expression is priceless. The "Dribble Kings" Stockton card is my favorite out of the entire box. The card is #'d 88/299 and is part of a 15 card sub set. Those are some short shorts Stockton is sporting there, but it's still a cool looking card.
The bottom line on Panini's 2010 Court Kings is that it's a pretty well done product that I would definitely recommend. Between the individually sealed box topper, four memorabilia /auto'd cards and redemption card, this was a fun box to open. Also, I can't say enough about the "painting on canvas" effect on all the cards. It really brings out the subtle details from a players tattoos to the arena advertising. My only complaint is really a luck of the draw complaint. I can't argue with five auto'd/memorabilia cards in a box that's supposed to yield four, but one on-card auto or prime patch would've been nice (prime: Panini's designation for a mutli-colored jersey swatch/patch). Again, that is simply the luck of the draw and me knit-picking. All-in-all though, this was a fun product to open and continues to show how Panini's basketball products improve release after release.
Ok, so you probably read about an hour ago that I'd be giving away a card from this box. If you managed to read the entire review, you deserve to know which card that will be. I'll announce a contest either this Sunday or Monday for one lucky reader to win the LeBron James "Masterpieces" jersey card #'d 194 of 299. So stay tuned and good luck!