Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Which NBA Slam Dunk Contest Performance Ranks #1 (Jordan '88, Webb '86, Carter '00, Richardson '03, Wilkins '88)?

'85 Star Co. Group Photo/Checklist
There have been a number of amazing physical and creative performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest over the years, but which is the best overall performance? I picked five videos of the best performances that include each dunk form the selected contests. Sure, there have been some memorable single rounds or dunks by contestants, J.R. Rider's East Bay Funk Dunk, but what if we could compare the best overall performances from the most memorable contestants? Well now you can.

I know, I know. Everyone has there favorite Dunk Contest performances, but I really think these are the best five of all-time: Jordan '88, Webb '86, Carter '00, Wilkins '88 and Richardson '03. So checkout the videos and get to ranking the best overall NBA Slam Dunk Contest performances. Make sure to take into consideration each dunk from all rounds. I hope everyone enjoys these dunktacular videos and of course "…Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Spud Webb '86 Contest Vince Carter '00 Contest
Jordan/Wilkins '88 Contest Richardson '03 Contest

Monday, November 29, 2010

Poster Review: Griffey-The Next Generation Costacos Brothers Poster

Griffey-The Next Generation
Costacos Brothers Poster
Costacos Brothers came up with some great posters during the 80's and 90's, and this Griffey-The Next Generation poster was no different. The market for Griffey Jr. memorabilia is certainly immense. Particularly, for early pieces like this Jr. and Sr. poster. Reason being, well all I really need to say is that it's Jr. Before phenoms like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, there was Griffey Jr.

I'm not particularly sure on the exact year this poster was released, but I'm assuming it was in '88 or '89. The background lockers are littered with fun details from family photo's to a "Dad's Root beer" can. Also, the name and font on the poster was taken from a popular late 80's and early 90's television show, Star Trek-The Next Generation. How do I know this you might ask? Let's just say I was a dork phenoms back in the day.

This is really a tremendous poster that is of course, scarce today. Here are two "autographed" posters I was able to find on eBay: click here and click here for more poster reviews.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Product Preview: 2010 Panini National Treasures Football

One of Panini's most recognizable and important brands is its National Treasures line. National Treasures is Panini's most high end product which features many auto's, patches and very hefty price tags. There are products and price points for all collectors, but it's imperative that those price points match the quality and value of the product. 2009's National Treasures Football and 2010's National Treasures Basketball were disappointing at best. The fact is, the value and quality were not there for those products. At $400 a box, sticker auto's are not acceptable. For that matter, sub par quality or design of any kind is unacceptable. It seems Panini has rectified any concerns collectors may have voiced in regards to last years NT Football product with its 2010 installment.

Panini just released some product images of its March 2, 2011 National Treasures Football release. There will be a dramatic increase in the number of on-card auto's including some very nice looking Pen Pals and Rookie/Patch auto'd cards. It does appear there still will be a number of sticker auto's in the product, but this is a nice step in the right direction. The Knight's Lance, Panini's official blog, is stating that each $400 box will include eight cards, including six auto'd or memorabilia cards per box.

I certainly like the effort to include more on-card auto's and hope this strategy will cary over to Panini's 2011 National Treasures Basketball product. If the box breaks look anything similar to the many card images that Panini has dangled in front of collectors, this will be one of the more sought after products of the year. Here's just a few of the images The Knight's Lance has recently posted. What do you think?:

Should The NFL Have A Team In L.A.?

It seems the NFL has wanted a team back in the second largest market in America since the Raiders left L.A. after the 1994 season. ESPN's Outside The Lines (OTL) did a piece this week on the likely hood of L.A. acquiring a team anytime soon. The segment was very well done as most OTL pieces are, and brings up a number of important questions. As this topic affects all readers/sports fans, I'll pose those questions to you. Will L.A. acquire a team in the next five years? Should L.A. get an NFL franchise, and what franchise will eventually move to L.A.?                                             (Third Party and RSS Feed readers, click here to view OTL video)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Poll: Is The Reported Offer By The Yankees To Derek Jeter Insulting, Spot On Or Simply Way Too Much?

1997 Flair Derek Jeter Hot Gloves
As a New York Yankees fan myself, I would like to see Jeter back in pinstripes next season. I would like to say… at the right price, but money doesn't really matter when you print as much of it as the Yankees seem to print. However, that doesn't mean I want the Yankees to throw A-Rod money at this smoldering free agent fire.

Although I am a Jeter fan and appreciate everything he's done for the franchise, I'm a Yankees fan first. The truth of the matter is that the 36 year old shortstop had his worst statistical season of his illustrious 15 year career. In 157 games last season, Jeter hit .270 with 10 HR's, 67 RBI's and 18 SB's. For a bit of a shortstop reference point, Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals hit .269 with 10 HR's, 65 RBI's, 17 SB's and made a whopping $400,000. Ok, whopping to you or me, but the Yankees have reportedly offered Jeter $45,000,000 over three years.

There's no questioning the intangibles Jeter brings to the Yankee lineup and clubhouse, and those should be worth something. Are those intangibles worth more than $14,600,000 a year? Not likely, but here's the thing. This is the New York Yankees and Jeter will continue to be a productive player. I don't think he's going to have as poor of a season as he had last year. Actually, I think he'll bounce back with a very respectable .288 BA, 12 HR's, 85 RBI's and 15 SB's. Those are very productive offensive numbers for almost any shortstop in the MLB today. Despite the best efforts of the AL Gold Glove, Jeter's defense is a liability in the field and will need to be addressed over the longevity of any contract he agrees to with the Yanks. The truth of the matter is, the Yankees offered Jeter far more than he's worth on the field and took into account what he means to the team off the field. I think he and the Yankees will eventually agree on a three year deal worth about $60,000,000. To date, Jeter has earned $182,830,000 from MLB contracts alone. I think another $45 or $60 million is fine.

So what do you think? Is the reported offer by the Yankees insulting, spot on or too much?

Fun Facts: Here's a list of the top 35 MLB earners of all-time: (click here).

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's Your White Whale?

1996 Upper Deck SPx Anfernee Hardaway Tribute Auto 239/300                                         Upper Deck Authenticated COA

The endless pursuit of that elusive item referred to as a "White Whale" is what gets a collector's heart pumping. I recently ended my nearly three year search for this '96 UD SPx Anfernee Hardaway Tribute Auto'd card, and thought it would be fun to find out what are some of the white whales that other collectors have and/or are currently chasing?

As for my white whale, "it's a beaut Clark". Yep, Thanksgiving is over and I just watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'll spare you from anymore Christmas movie quotes for now and get right to the card. With a print run of only three hundred, this card is fairly rare. Also, once a Hardaway fan gets a hold of the Tribute Auto, they rarely let it out of their collection. There's good reason for this. Upper Deck's SPx line debuted in '96 and the early SPx card designs are highly regarded by collectors. These were die cut sets that featured hologram technology on every card. No matter what the sport, it's always fun to bust open a box of the '96, '97, or '98 SPx products.

During the mid to late 90's, Hardaway was one of UD's most important spokesmen. Behind The G.O.A.T., no one was more important to UD's basketball product than Mr. Hardaway. Because of this, UD and UDA featured Hardaway in many sets and UDA products. One of those featured cards was the '96 UD SPx Hardaway Non Auto'd Tribute card inserted into pack at a rate of 1:95. UD also inserted a Michael Jordan Record Breaker card into packs at a rate of 1:75. Since it's such a cool looking card, I included it here in the post for your viewing. UD also inserted trade cards into packs that could be redeemed for the corresponding Jordan or Hardaway auto. The Hardaway Trade auto is an auto'd version of the SPx base card and can be seen here. Although the Trade auto is nice, the Tribute auto is a bit different.

The Tribute auto was not available from packs. Actually, the only way you could obtain the card was through Upper Deck Authenticated. UDA is simply UD's memorabilia division. These three hundred Hardaway Tribute auto's were sold to collectors through UDA catalogues and the scarce brick and mortar stores. As previously mentioned, I've been searching for this card for almost three years. Since that time, I've only seen three of these for sale. The first did not have the matching COA. The second sold for well above my price limit. The third is the card you see in this post. Like I said, Hardaway collectors don't let go of this one. It's been at the top of my wish list for a longtime, and I was finally able to add it to my collection recently. I'm certainly excited about catching my whale, but that also means the next whale is being hunted.

So that's my white whale story, what's yours? I would love to hear about any white whale you've caught or are currently chasing? Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: "He Got Game"

Besides being a hoops film with the best name of a lead character ever, Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game is a “Spike Lee Joint” that attempts to add a family dynamic to the Blue Chips basketball recruit movie theme. This attempt is nicely executed with the father-son relationship portrayed by Denzel Washington (Jake Shuttlesworth) and Ray Allen (Jesus Shuttlesworth), and separates He Got Game from other basketball movies.

He Got Game sets the tone for the film by introducing viewers to Denzel Washington’s character, Jake Shuttlesworth. The basic story line goes as follows: Jake is in prison for murder and a powerful politician will reduce or commute his sentence if Jake can convince his estranged son, Jesus Shuttleworth, to go to the powerful politicians’ alma mater, “Big State”. That is the basic plot of the film without giving anything away. Lee does a fantastic job of melding these plot lines together with the emotion of the father-son relationship and the realities of high profile collegiate recruiting.

The film also does a great job of showing the difficult choices a highly touted collegiate prospect will make amid endless temptation. He Got Game also shows the sociological aspects of where many of the best basketball players in America hale from. Often, many talented players come from less than advantageous socio-economic situations and are forced to not only make decisions based on their own individual dreams and aspirations, but also those of their entire family. He Got Game shows the struggles Jesus Shuttlesworth deals with as he deliberates over the futures of himself, his family and his estranged  father. 

I’m not a film critic so I’ll spear readers with my analysis of the technical aspects of the film, and will conclude with my final points on the basketball side of the film. He Got Game is a must watch for any basketball fan and certainly any top high school recruit. This is a basketball film that deals with many of the issues that top high school athletes will face off the court. The film might be slightly over the top with its portrayal of the dark side of collegiate recruitment, but the idea was to show the types of temptation and decisions that young athletes may have to make for themselves and others. From great character names to rich college boosters, He Got Game has it all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2009 & 2010 UD SPx Shadow Box: Innovative or Unimaginative Gimmick?

In an age of sticker auto's and small relic/jersey patches, the need for trading card innovation is welcomed with open arms. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the creative and sometimes outrageous designs of 90's inserts. I also appreciate and collect today's products, but I really get excited about what the 90's card industry had to offer. That's what made last year's football and hockey 2009 Upper Deck SPx Shadow Box cards so interesting.

That's right. I did write, "shadow bow". These cards feature a really cool 3d player image in the middle of the hallowed out trading card. This is not a totally new idea. Actually, it's similar to the '92 Fleer 3d acrylic basketball cards that were only available to collectors through a wrapper exchange. These cards are slightly different in that they are truly multi-layered with a separate image on the surface and inside the card. In addition, these cards are so nicely designed that they would even look cool without the shadow box effect, however, that effect really puts these cards over the top.

I first heard about these Shadow Box cards through fellow bloggers at Waxheaven and The Chronicles of Fuji. As you can imagine, these are pretty thick cards. Also, they're rare at an insertion rate of one per case. There also are autographed version that come with a separate COA card to guarantee authenticity. It's rumored that these auto'd bad boys have a very limited print run near five or less, so good luck with that. I'm happy with the Thurman Thomas I picked up recently for under $7.00 including shipping. That's a steal for this Bills fan.

There certainly has been a fair share of innovative and creatively designed products released over the past few years, but Upper Deck really came through with these Shadow Box cards. The 2010 SPx hockey and football products have been released and this year's Shadow Box cards are hitting eBay right now. With the recent troubles the Upper Deck company is rumored to be going through, it's nice to see they are still managing to putout some quality products that spark at least this collector's interest.

So you know my thoughts. I'm placing a vote for, "Yes, they are innovative and look great". I'm pretty excited to add this Thurman Thomas card to my collection, and I'll definitely be checking out the 2010 Shadow Box cards as they become available on eBay. That's enough from me. What do you think about Upper Deck's Shadow Box cards?

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Ultimate Basketball or Ultimately Disappointing?

I'm not a huge fan of focusing on the negatives. In fact, I have a Master's degree in Sport Psychology and strive to take something positive out of everything I do. I also try to focus on the positives of every product I review here on Hoopography. With that said, I also value a truthful and as objective product review as possible. In an attempt to follow those values and product review principles,  I took my time in putting this 2010 Ultimate Basketball review together.

Like many collectors, I've been a fan of Upper Deck design since the companies first release in 1989. That also means I was saddened when Upper Deck lost it's NBA license last year. I wrongfully assumed that meant UD would not be producing basketball trading card products for the foreseeable future. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong. Upper Deck announced several months ago a number of upcoming basketball releases featuring images obtained utilizing its NCAA agreements. Unquestionably, the most anticipated basketball product of this year from UD was the recently released 2010 Ultimate Basketball product.

Ultimate has been a staple product line for UD in all four major sports for the better part of the decade. I myself was excited to hear UD was still going to release Ultimate Basketball for 2010, and even more intrigued that it would be comprised of images and autographs from the best collegiate basketball players of all-time. Because of the names involved, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, Julius Erving, etc., I thought this product had the opportunity to be the best basketball product of 2010.

As previously mentioned, I don't like to focus on the negatives, but they need to be stated in any type of objective review. The biggest problem with this year's Ultimate basketball is an issue that has plagued the hobby in the past few years, sticker auto's. Upper Deck had the opportunity to create a basketball product that featured some of the best collegiate stars of all-time, and instead of putting 100 percent into that product, the stickers seem to cheapen 2010 Ultimate.

The other obvious issue is with a number of the black and white Ultimate Legends auto's. These are the hugely successful one per case cards that have been featured in the Ultimate Football products for a number of years (click here) and are making their first appearance in the basketball line. First off, these are the few on-card auto's in the product and most are tremendous. However, some of the auto's have a dark background that makes it difficult to even make out the auto (click here). Auto's are certainly great, but what good are they if you can't see them?

The sticker auto's and almost invisible on-card auto's are certainly frustrating, but UD did do a number of things right with Ultimate Basketball. The player checklist is a dream list for basketball junkies like me. That list includes Mullin, Hardaway, Hurley, Wilkins, Olajuwon and some of the biggest stars of today. I also really like the inscription auto's. What collector doesn't like inscription auto's? For some odd reason, all the Christian Laettner auto'd cards are on-card. That's why I picked up the card you see in the post image. So this is certainly a product that is yielding some great singles.

As excited as I and I'm sure many collectors were for this product to come out, eBay sales have dropped quickly in the past few weeks since Ultimate Basketball was released. The original retail price was right around $85 - $90 a box. Here's a two box completed auction lot that sold for a very modest $86.50 (click here). There's a lot to like about Ultimate Basketball, but ultimately… it's disappointing.

I'd like to hear what fellow collectors think about 2010 Ultimate Basketball. Is it truly ultimate, or is it just ultimately disappointing?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


              Image Courtesy of NKETLK.com                                          '93 Classic Four Sport Tri-Card (Hardaway, O'neal, Webber)

The Air Force Max Nikes are one of the most iconic kicks of the mid 90's. These hardcore baller kicks were originally released in 1993 for Sir Charles himself. No, not me. Actually, they were released for Sir Charles Barkley. There's no denying Barkley's influence as a spokesperson for Nike, but it was Michigan's Fab Five that shot this sneaker into the pop culture stratispher.

These were cool kicks that an all freshmen, baggy shorts, black socks wearing starting five wore while they took the collegiate basketball ranks by storm. Truth be told, the Fab didn't actually start wearing these as freshmen. Actually, it was the Nike Air Flight Huaraches that the Five first started rockin' that fateful freshman year, but they did wear the Air Force Max Nikes during their sophmore seasons. Checkout the '93 Classic Four Sport Tri-Card featuring Anfernee Hardaway, Shaquille O'neal and Chris Webber. First, this is a really cool card and I'm excited that this KICKS series post allows me to show this card off. Second, checkout what Webber is got on his feet. It might be a little tough to tell, but those are the AF Max sneakers. Sure, those Converse kicks Hardaway was breakin' ankles in are cool, but the Nikes are iconic.

The Air Force Max sneakers were rereleased as retro's a year or two ago. They're a pair I would have loved to add to my collection, but it just wasn't in the cards. How's that for a play on words? I know a number of people who bought a pair and they love 'em. The unquestioned best design feature is the visible heel air sole. The mostly all black color scheme with a pair of black Nike socks is a nice look too.

In honor of the Tri-Card and the fact that the three players featured are some of my favorites to collect, here are the videos of their NBA Draft selections:

Anfernee Hardaway '93 Draft Shaquille O'neal '92 Draft Chris Webber '93 Draft

Friday, November 19, 2010

'08 Upper Deck Ultimate Legends Jim Kelly Autograph

Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills of the 90's are legends here in the Buffalo/WNY area. Sure, they didn't win "the big one or four", but it sure was one heck of a ride. Those were fun times for Bills fans. Every game was exciting, and those teams were loaded with talent and characters. Kelly was certainly one of those talented characters. He had a gun of an arm and was tough as nails. I think I can speak for Bills fans everywhere when saying he is missed on he field.

Although missed here on the field, Kelly is still active in the Buffalo/WNY area. He's a resident of the area and is active in a number of charities including his own called Hunter's Hope. Hunter's Hope is a foundation setup in remembrance of Kelly and his wife's late son Hunter. The mission of the foundation is to bring awareness to Krabbe Disease and related Leukodystrophies. In addition to his charitable work, there has been talk of interest in purchasing the Bills from a group lead by Kelly and other former players. Then again, there's always whispers of the team being sold or even moving.

As for the Ultimate Legends Kelly Auto, it came in earlier this week and is one sweet looking on-card Kelly auto. These Ultimate Legend auto's are highly sought after by collectors every year and for good reason. They feature auto's of the best players from past decades on a cool foil surface. Upper Deck finally released a basketball version in their Ultimate basketball product, but that's a story for an upcoming post. For now, I'm just going to enjoy a card of quite possibly the biggest Bills legend of them all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Template Woes

In my never ending quest to create the best sports memorabilia blog I can put together, I spent the bulk of my free time (all be it limited) looking for a new blog template for Hoopography. I found some nice templates that I tried out, but I wasn't able to customize any of them. This led me back to the Awesome Inc. template that I've been using since I switched over to Blogger.com from Apple's iWeb blogging service. It's not that I don't like the Awesome Inc. template. It's just that I think it could be better. Mainly, it looks a bit old and is pretty basic.

In an ever changing world, and an even faster changing tech world, the Blogger.com templates are pretty pedestrian. Unfortunately, my basic knowledge of HTML code and limited time means I'm not going to attempt to build a template of my own. For now, I'm going to continue to tweak the Awesome Inc. template until Blogger.com updates its templates. Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kicks: (Shawn Kemp's) 1996 Reebok Kamikaze II

(Reebok Kamikaze II)
It's been a couple weeks since the last Kicks post, but I think this installment is a good one. Shawn Kemp terrorized the NBA during the mid 90's by reigning down thunderous dunks on unsuspecting defenders and crashing the boards. How did Kemp manage to rule the NBA skies back in the day? It's these sweet kicks of course.

These Reebok Kamikaze II's came out just in time for the 1996 NBA season. If you remember, this was the season Kemp's Sonics made it all the way to the NBA Finals. I know the Sonics lost that Finals in six games to the Chicago Bulls, but I don't think it's a coincidence that Seattle and Kemp had their best seasons during the Kamikaze II's reign. Just look at that crazy sneaker design. With kicks like that, who couldn't get up and throw it down like that. Ok, on an 8ft rim of course.

Need more Shawn Kemp? Checkout this Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less post on Kemp's RC's from several months ago.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown #4: '92 Classic 4 Sport Quad Auto

('92 Classic 4 Sport Gold Future Superstars Quad Auto 5,510/9,500:
Phil Nevin, Shaquille O'neal, Roman Hamrlik & Desmond Howard)
The O'neal theme continues in my PC Top 25 with the #4 card in the countdown. This early O'neal auto was a card I bought almost two years ago on eBay and I'm still excited about the purchase. If you've been following this countdown, you'll know I'm obviously an early O'neal collector. This card is certainly a gem in my O'neal collection, but what's really cool is "The Heisman" himself is also featured on this sweet quad auto:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chase For The Cup: 2010 Upper The Cup

Tyler Meyers 2010 Upper Deck The Cup
In my never ending quest to build a solid Buffalo Sabres collection, I've managed to add another card to my 2010 UD The Cup endeavor. Tyler Myers might only be a defenseman, but I think he's the best young defenseman in the NHL. That means he'll be in Buffalo for a longtime. With that in mind, I grabbed this 2010 UD The Cup Foundations Quad Jersey card.

UD's The Cup is a great product and singles are selling very nicely on eBay. This is my first Myers card, but hopefully not my last. Sabres young and speedy forward Tyler Ennis is my next Sabres Target.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Video: A Dime of Pennies For Your Thoughts

(Third party and RSS readers, click here to view video/media)

With "Penny" Hardaway being one of my favorite all-time hoopsters, this is one of my favorite all-time YouTube videos. It's hard not to like highlight videos and this Top 10 Hardaway video is no exception. There are dunks, buzzer beaters and crazy dimes galore in this one. Hope you enjoy the video and… "Every Bounce of the Ball".

- Need more Hardaway? Click here to view recent Anfernee Hardaway posts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who Should Be The Yankees Full Time Catcher Next Season?

So the Yankees recently stated that longtime catcher Jorge Posada will most likely be relegated to DH duties next season. I've been asking for this move for about three years now. It's not that I dislike Mr. Posada, but lets face it, he's pretty horrible behind the plate. This is a move that's been a longtime coming. So the question is, who should the Yankees put behind the plate next year as their full time starting catcher: Jesus Montero or Francisco Cervelli? 
Cervelli            or            Montero

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown: #5 Shaquille O'neal '93 Hoops Redemption RC

(Shaquille O'neal 1993 NBAHOOPS Redemption RC)

Is there another O'neal RC that was hotter than this 1993 Hoops Redemption RC back in the day? Maybe, but not many. Will I highlight one of those other hot Shaq' RC's in a future Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown post? Absolutely! But more importantly, did anyone every have a bigger and more squared-off hat sitting on their giant head than that Orlando Magic billboard sitting on the top of O'neal's dome? Not that I could find.

The "Shaq' Attack" was pretty hot back in the mid 90's and this Hoops Redemption card was right in the middle of the "Attack". I love this card. It totally screams 90's with the previously mentioned giant square hat and graphically rad necktie. The card once had a huge $100+ book value, but now has a more modest $60 value. Luckily for collectors, this O'neal gem can be had for an eBay price of $25 - $35. Not bad for one of Shaq's most sought after RC's.

Between the 90's feel this card oozes and the amount of time I spent fogging up my local card shop's showcase glass, this '93 Hoops Redemption O'neal RC takes the #5 spot on the Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown. Stay tuned for the top four cards in the countdown and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Your Brag Pics on Facebook

One of the greatest aspects of the sports memorabilia and trading card hobby is the sharing of treasured items with fellow collectors. Blogging is certainly a great outlet for collectors to showoff their collections, but there are also other social media outlets like Facebook where collectors can connect and share images.

I have a Facebook fanpage setup in support of this blog. I link each blog post to the fanpage as well as interesting sports related articles from around the net. I also upload brag photos from my collection as well as trade bait. One of the most important goals I had when creating Hoopography and the Facebook fanpage was to meet and network with collectors from around the U.S. and world.

As I mentioned before, it's always fun to showoff memorabilia and trading cards from our collections. If you have a sports themed piece of memorabilia, trading card, sweet box pull or a favorite item in your collection you're looking to show off, you can post them right on the Hoopography Facebook fanpage. I usually check the page once or twice a day. As I previously wrote, my goal with Hoopography is to meet and network with collectors and there's no better way than showing off and talking about our collections. Hope to see you on Facebook and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mail Time and It's A Good One: Yankees, Bills, Auto's, Ref's, Patches!!!

I'm always excited about any new cards I'm able to add to my collection, but I'm really pumped about this recent haul. I normally don't buy this many cards in a week, but I was able to get a few nice deals. Auto'd cards are always great and there's a few of those here, but the bright red Precious Metal Gems Smith card certainly is an eye catcher. So without any further ado, here are a few of my recent eBay conquests:
'10 Francisco Cervelli Topps 206 Auto
'95 Juwan Howard Topps Finest Ref.                                 '08 Marshawn Lynch UD Heroes Auto 14/25

'04 Winfield/Mattingly Upper Deck Ultimate Dual Materials 30/60 

'04 Lee Evans UD Ultimate RC Signatures 150/250      '97 Bruce Smith Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems 18/150              

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Product Preview: 2011 Playoff Contenders Patches

Panini just released some images and details for its 2011 Playoff Contenders Patches product scheduled to be released sometime in February. I haven't been a big fan of the Contenders line in the past (aside from last year's Season Tickets set), and I don't think I'm going to be a fan of this year's either. It's not that 2011 Contenders is a bad product. Actually, I think this is going to be a very nice product with value for collectors. I'll get into the negatives later, but here are some of the good aspect Contenders offers.

Each hobby box will include four auto's and at least one of those auto's will be of a 2010 Lottery Pick. That's actually a really nice touch and means you'll get a RC auto in every box of a player you've heard of before. Also, four auto's per box isn't too shabby either at a suggested retail price of $120 (or $80 - $100 on eBay). Some of the product highlights seem to also have a decent amount of thought behind their designs. Most notably, the Place In History set features stars who were drafted be teams other than the ones they are currently on today. These are all nice features of 2011 Contenders, and I better stop right there before I talk myself into buying a box.

The problem I have is that the product appears to be laden with sticker auto's. I understand Panini was originally a sticker company, but I don't want stickers on my trading cards. It's one thing to feature sticker auto's in a product or two in order to keep prices down, but it's another to have them in every product (aside from 2010 Panini Basketball HOF). The other issue has to do with the manufactured patches that consequently which renames the Contenders line to: Playoff Contenders Patches.

To be honest, I'm sort of up in the air with this addition to the product. I'm not a fan of manufactured patches, but the Demarcus Cousins RC Patch below does look pretty decent. The problem is, with the seemingly endless amount of products coming out year after years, I'm not going to spend money on something that looks decent. There are just too many products out there, especially with stickers. The lines are definitely blurred between product.

2011 Contenders is a product that has some interesting design and possible value, but also has a lot of the typical Panini missteps. I'll have to see more images and box breaks on YouTube when it's released in February. Here are few of the images released by Panini:

So what do you think? Is 2011 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches a product you're interested in adding to your collection? What do you think of the addition of patches to the Contenders product line?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Legend of Bill Barilko And My Favorite Hockey Song

(1992 Pro Set Hockey #340 [front])
The trading cards produced in the late 80's and early 90's are notoriously known as "junk wax". I've always disliked that term. I certainly understand the monetary value isn't there, but I also think there is more to trading cards and memorabilia in general than simply dollars and cents. There's a story to every player and every moment in sport. That's part of the fun and intrigue of sport and certainly our hobby. Those stories are sometimes fresh in our minds and easy for us to rehash, but sometimes they're a little more hazy.

I am a hockey fan, but I don't know the history of the game as much as I do other sports like basketball. Fortunately, I appreciate the aforementioned "junk wax". A simple turn of a card reveals a very undervalued aspect of a trading card, the back. I started reading the back of this '92 Pro Set card and not only did I learn about the legend of Bill Barilko and the 1951 Stanley Cup Finals, but the story also sounded very familiar. Turns out, this is the story that inspired one of my favorite songs.

(1992 Pro Set Hockey #340 [back])
The Tragically Hip are an alternative/rock group from Kingston, Ontario in Canada. They're very popular here in the Buffalo, NY area and have been producing fantastic music since 1983. One of their most popular songs is entitled, "Fifty-Mission Cap", which chronicles the legend of Bill Barilko. The cool thing for collectors is that lead singer, Gordon Downie, exclaimed in the song that he read the Barilko story on the back of a Hockey card and this #340 Pro Set card is that hockey card.

Hope you enjoyed this little piece of hockey, music and trading card history. Here's the "Fifty-Mission Cap" song by The Tragically Hip.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleveland's "What Should I Do?" Response

Nike released a much talked about LeBron James TV commercial a couple of weeks ago. I thought the media coverage was a bit overblown, but that isn't anything over today's norm. The "What should I do" Nike commercial has sparked a new video that's making the rounds on YouTube. Rather than asking, "What Should I do?", how's about what do you think about this response from Cleveland fans?

Yet Another 90's Insert Set: '97 Ultra Court Masters

As I'm sure you're all well aware of, I love 90's inserts sets. The quality of design and creativity was at its peak during that time. Whether it was holograms, die cuts, acetate or the early jersey and auto'd cards, 90's card companies had it going on. I have about five separate 90's insert set collections going right now between basketball and football products, but none is more exciting to me than the '97 Ultra Court Masters acetate basketball set.

I've been working on putting the 15 card set together for sometime now, but it seems there are also a number of other collectors assembling the set. Many of these cards sell for above their book values. Not by much, but enough to make it difficult to put the set together quickly. I'm used to the half priced cards on eBay, so $5 or $10 over book value is expensive to me.

The set has all the usual 90's suspects including Grant Hill, David Robinson, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. Of Course, the Michael Jordan is the most sought after card and fetches the highest price tag of $100 to $125 (checkout this overpriced BIN Jordan Court Masters). The Hardaway is the gem of the set for me. His cards are easily my favorite to collect (click here), and the Court Masters PSA Graded 10 is a very nice addition to my "Penny" Hardaway collection.

The other three cards in the set I've been able to secure are of Juwan Howard, Reggie Miller and Shaquille O'neal. I'm not a huge fan of graded cards. Basically, I only search out graded cards if I'm looking for a vintage card. The reason I have three graded cards in the start of this set is solely due to price. Most of the time there are 3 or 4 cards from the set listed at the same time by one seller. In order to keep shipping costs down or to get a jump on completing the set, collectors are driving the bid prices up by zeroing in on the multiple listings. I bought all four of these cards from sellers who only listed one Court Masters card at a time. Three of them just happen to be graded.

Either way, these cards are fairly rare with an insertion ratio of 1:180. The set isn't cheap either at $450. So I'll try to grab these awesome acetate cards anyway possible, graded/ungraded, trade/buy, whatever. I have a ways to go with 11 more cards in the set, but hopefully I'll be able to update any progress soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who Would You Rather Start An NBA Franchise With, Blake Griffin or John Wall?


Both Blake Griffin and John Wall are off to impressive starts to their NBA careers. Griffin is averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds in his first 5 games and Wall is putting up averages of 23.7 points, 4 steal and 10.3 assists in his first 3 games thus far. Both have been impressive for sure. I think any NBA GM would love to start a franchise with either player, but because of the nature of the point guard position, I would have to pick Wall over Griffin. I like Griffin's more polished game and tenacity, but Wall's impact on the game is so much greater simply because the ball is always in his hands. Either way, both players should be fun to watch and collect.

What do you think? Which player would you rather start an NBA franchise with, Blake Griffin or John Wall?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Upper Deck The Cup PC Additions

2010 UD The Cup Thomas Vanek Signature Patches
I was really excited when Upper Deck released preview images of their 2010 The Cup product a few months ago on their Facebook page. This product single handily got me ready for the NHL season to start. Unfortunately, my Buffalo Sabres haven't gotten off to the kind of start I and many other fans were expecting, but the season is still young. Now to the cards!!!

2010 UD The Cup
Chris Butler Rookie Patch/Auto
I've been on a mission to add a few of these Stanley Cup worthy cards to my collection, and my first couple purchases have arrived. I have two more cards coming from this year's Cup product, but these first two cards of Thomas Vanek and Chris Butler are awesome. They look great on screen, but trust me, these look even better in-hand. Both cards have on-card auto's and multi-colored patches. Two attributes that are highly desired by all collectors.

With all the complaints I've heard from collectors lately about tiny single colored patches and sticker auto's, mine included, Upper Deck really delivered with 2010 The Cup. That's why my hunt will continue so I can bag a few more cards from this extremely well thought out and executed product.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poll: What's The Yankees Biggest Need?

(1997 Upper Deck SPx Cornerstones #'d/500)
So with the World Series over, it's time to get back to the important stuff. Like what the Yankees need to do to get back in the Series next year. The Yankees recently resigned Manger Joe Girardi to a three year deal, so what's the Yankees most urgent need this offseason to get number 28?