Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holy Gold Refractor: '97 Juwan Howard Topps Finest Gold Refractor

I picked this 1997 Topps Finest Gold Refractor Juwan Howard a few weeks ago for a cool $1.25 plus $3.00 for shipping. I thought that was a pretty good deal. I know Howard isn't exactly LeBron James or Michael Jordan, but there are some really great parallels and inserts out there of the former Fab Fiver. I like collecting some of those great cards because they don't hurt the card budget too much and they're great additions to my collection.

It seems Howard has played for just about ever team in the Association. In fact, he's played for eight teams (Dallas and Denver twice) during his sixteen season career. Howard joined the Miami Heat a couple of weeks ago as a free agent. Although Howard has never played a game for Pat Riley and the Heat in previous seasons, this is the second time Howard has signed a free agent contract to play down in South Beach. Many forget that this year's mega free agent frenzy was not the first such of its kind, and arguably, not the greatest.

The free agent class of 1996 included Michael Jordan, a young Shaquille O'neal, Alonzo Morning, Allan Houston, Kenny Anderson, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, Juwan Howard and more. Howard was signed to a huge deal with the Heat to team up with 'Zo and Tim "Killer Crossover" Hardaway. Fortunately or unfortunately for the Heat, David Stern and the NBA voided the contract because of some salary bonus and cap issues. That may have tuned out to be a blessing as the eventual $105 million contract that Howard singed with the then Washington Bullets has been seen as a cautionary tale for NBA GM's across the league. Although Howard has had a very nice career, he did not end up putting up $105 million stats.

The Howard '97 Topps Finest Gold Refractor is a really great looking card. Like many collectors, I'm a huge fan of refractors and the Gold Refractors look even cooler. This is the second '97 Finest Gold Refractor I've added to my collection. I also recently bought a Kevin Garnett Gold Refractor (click here).

I've always rooted for Howard since the Fab Five days. I would like to see him finally win an NBA Championship. He's had a solid career, and is a consummate professional, but I just can't get behind the Miami Heat.


  1. This was the last of the Hey Day of Finest (1993-1997) Once Topps started to make Chrome - Finest became irrelavent

  2. John, Yeah… it's unfortunate too. They had a go little run there.

  3. I've never been a Michigan fan, but it was hard not to root for them back in the day. I just started to collect their autographs. Howard was my first. I found his Signature Rookies autographed card on COMC. Next up... Jalen Rose.

  4. I'm also trying to put a "Fab Five" auto collection together. My problem is that I have too many collections going at the same time. Good Luck Mark!!!