Not only were trading cards being designed at a higher level to bring in the "Golden Age", but the NBA was in the midst of an upswing of its own. Collectors wanted cards of players like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'neal. The sports card industry and NBA could not have been hotter, and one early 90's insert set captured the essence of all that excitement, new creativity in design and insert magic.
The '93 Topps Stadium Club product was a premium product that showcased superb photography and a high gloss surface. Sure laugh now, but take a look at a '91 Hoops card and you'll appreciate what Topps did with its '93 TSC release. To go along with its awesome 400 card base set, TSC also inserted a 21 card set into its series 2 boxes at a rate of 1:36. The TSC Beam Team insert set was truly a masterpiece of its time. The Beam Team set features the great photography found in the base set and combines it with the best stars from a hugely popular NBA and cool design. Some of the action shots Topps came up with for this set are really tremendous. Just look at the Dominique Wilkins card. Simply Awesome!
The list of players found in this set is really mind boggling. From Ewing, Robinson and Olajuwon to Barkley, Stockton and Rodman, this set has just about everyone in it. Unfortunately, two glaring omissions are that of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I know neither played during the '93 NBA season, but they are in the TSC base set. Otherwise, a checklist for an early 90's set doesn't get much better than this.
Many collectors jumped on this set because of the "Shaq' Attack" craze of the mid 90's and Jordan found in the set. The Jordan Beam Team is considered to be one of his "must have" cards for Jordan collectors. I've seen varying prices for this set, so be cautious if you're looking to build this one. There currently are a number of Buy Now sets up on eBay with exorbitant prices from $199 to $250. That is way too much for this set that has a book value of $120. Yes, in 1993 the set did sell for upwards of $300, but the calendar reads 2010 today. I did find this Buy Now auction for $75 (click here). That's actually a pretty good price as the Jordan and O'neal typically sell for around $30 (click here) and $35 (click here) respectively.
I myself built the set the easy way and bought it completed about two years ago. I know that's like cheating, but I saved a lot on shipping charges by not having to pay $2-$3 each to have all 21 cards shipped from different sellers. The Jordan, Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins are certainly favorites of mine, but the Shaq' is where it's at for me. Let's just say, if you've been following my blog, you'll see it soon in the Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown.