Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown #6: 1988 Entenmann's Michael Jordan

With a strong passion for Entenmann's crumb top cheese cake and Michael Jordan cards, this 1988 Entenmann's Michael Jordan SGC graded 96 promo card is number 6 on my Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown

I love great photography and this card certainly features an awesome action shot of the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.). Plus, checkout those sweet Nike Air Jordan II's "His Airness" is rockin'. It doesn't get better than a rare 80's Jordan promo card, or does it? Stay tuned for the next card in the Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Team Hoopography Needs A Big Fantasy Football Win Today

I'm sure many of you are in a fantasy sports league of some sorts, and I'm no different. I really enjoy fantasy sports, but I particularly like fantasy football. I love watching all the games on Sunday and not only rooting for my Buffalo Bills, but also my fantasy team called "Hoopography". Yeah I know, not very original, but it's better than some of my former team names like "Buffalo Blitz" and "ChuckDBlitz". The best part of running my very own fantasy football franchise is actually putting the team together via the draft and free agency.

I like my team and would put it up against anyone in my league. I knew I put together a strong team right after the draft, and I was proven right after the first quarter of the season. I started the season with a 4 and 1 record. Impressive for sure, but I've lost the last two matchups in a row since starting off so strongly. That being said, I'm in need of a big win this week to stay near the top of the league.

There're some fantasy studs on my team including Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Cedric Benson, Brandon Lloyd, soon to be fantasy stud Marshawn Lynch and Dustin Keller, but my favorite player is Calvin "Megetron" Johnson. His fantasy stats are solid at 12.2 points a game, but he seems to have a number of touchdowns taken away from him like the infamous game winning score that was disallowed in week 1. With Johnson coming off a buy and Team Hoopography a loss last week, I need a big game from "Megatron". So hopefully there'll be no more of this:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 Countdown: # 7

(1994 Michael Jordan Fleer Ultra Power In The Key)
The 90's was filled with great Michael Jordan inserts and this '94 Fleer Ultra Power In The Key insert is one of the best. Sure there are Jordan inserts that dwarf the $30.00 book value, but not many that look better than this foil covered gem. I know card perfection is subjective, but this is as close to perfection that I've seen. That's why this '94 Michael Jordan Fleer Ultra Power In The Key insert is # 7 on my Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Ode To My Favorite Post Series On The Blogosphere: Sports All-Time Draft Bust - Ryan Leaf

(Ryan Leaf 1998 Upper Deck Game Jersey RC)
Many trading card bloggers like to write posts in series because of an ever expanding set/player collection they have going or a creative itch they've been inspired by. For example, I have the Bo Knows and Kicks Series just to name a couple, but my favorite post series on the blogosphere is Sports Busts over on The Chronicles of Fuji. Since I'm such a big fan of those posts, I thought I would do a quick tribute to Fuji's series with a Sports Busts post of my own. I also just got this 1998 Upper Deck Game Jersey Ryan Leaf RC the other day, so I thought this would be the right avenue for a post.

Leaf is arguably the biggest draft bust in sports history. Sure, the numbers are bad (Leaf appeared in 25 games, started 21, had a 48.4 completion percentage, throw 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions), but the success of the player drafted one spot ahead of Leaf in the '98 NFL Draft might exacerbate his bust status. In the weeks leading up to the '98 Draft, Leaf and Payton Manning were considered by many scouts to be neck and neck as far as talent and potential. Fortunately for Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian and fans, Manning was the right prospect.

Leaf struggled with a number of setbacks including injuries, immaturity and stress management issues. There was no questioning his arm strength and collegiate career at Washington State, but the NFL can exert an entire different level of demands on a player. Unfortunately for Leaf, he was not able to handle those demands.

After Leaf's retirement from the NFL just prior to the start of the 2002 season, it seemed that he was taking the necessary steps to get his life on track. He graduated with a degree in arts and humanities from Washington State in 2005. In 2006, he joined the West Texas A&M coaching staff. Unfortunately, Leaf was put on an indefinite leave of absence in 2008 after asking an A&M student-athlete for a pill to help with chronic wrist pain. In 2009, he was indicted on burglary and controlled substance charges. Leaf plead guilty on seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance this past April. He was sentenced to ten years of probation and had to pay $20,000.

Leaf is still a young guy at 34 years of age. He has a lot of life ahead of him. Sports bust or not, he still has time to live a positive and productive life. I'm rooting for him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm Just A Glutton For Punishment: My Marshawn Lynch Addiction

('08 Marshawn Lynch Upper Deck Exquisite Endorsements 08/30)
The Buffalo Bills are enduring their worst season in franchise history, and that means a few things for this collector and fan. The obvious is that football Sundays are a bit difficult to watch. Less obvious, but just as crucial, there really aren't too many players to collect on the Bills right now. I've added a few cards to my PC of a few Bills players, but it's tough when none of those players are doing much on the field. The same goes for Marshawn Lynch. I've picked up a number of nice UD Exquisite and Ultimate auto'd/jersey cards the past year, and it seems like I just can't stop. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

He was recently traded to the Seattle Seahawks and will hopefully start putting some big numbers up. He's still only 24 years old and has a boat load of talent. It'd be nice if he could make another Pro Bowl or ten. That would certainly help the value of these cards go up, but it's really not about the book value. I really like these Lynch cards. Maybe its the crazy "Marshawn Lynch 23" signatures or his tough running style. Whatever it is, I'm Just A Glutton For Punishment.

Video: Anne Meara & Jerry Stiller On LeBron James

Episode 6: Basketball @ Yahoo! Video
(Third party and RSS feed readers, click here to view video/media)

I'm a huge fan of the Seinfeld and King of Queens television sitcoms. So when I saw that two of those show's alums did a short commentary on LeBron James, I had to watch. Hope you enjoy, there's a few funny moments in this approximately 2:30 video. 

So what are your thoughts on LeBron James and "Team South Bitch"… I mean "Beach"? I thoroughly enjoyed the thrashing the Miami Warm took by the hands of the Celtics on opening night, and I look forward to their struggles this season. Boston looked like the better team, even though they're arguably not a better collection of talents. I know it'll be a season-long process down there in Miami to create some cohesion and get everyone to understand their roles, but it was nice to see them get off to a bad start. That's my take. What's yours?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kicks: Nike Air Penny & Lil' Penny

Image Courtesy of:
There's no questioning the design and performance of Nike's basketball kicks, but lets face it, a lot of Nike's success stems from its ability to pump out great marketing campaigns. Case and point, the mid 90's Lil' Penny character to market the Nike Air Penny line. I became a hoops fan because of "His Airness" way back when. I converted to Knickerbockerism somewhere toward the late 90's, early oughts, but somewhere between MJ and the Knicks conversion is Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. I guess it's all tied together and makes sense. MJ tortured the Knicks and "Penny" tortured Jordan every now and then (Would've been longer if not for injuries.):

("Penny" showing Jordan just who the new kid on the block is.)

('96 UD SPx Hardaway Tribute Card)
Hardaway is by far my favorite player to collect trading cards and memorabilia of. I really liked his game when he and Shaquille O'neal were the future of the NBA. There are tons of great 90's inserts and on-card auto's of Penny as well. Some the highest cards on my wish list are of Penny Hardaway. He is definitely one of those players that garners a cult following by collectors, just as players like Larry "Grand Ma Ma" Johnson and Grant Hill do. The '96 Upper Deck SPx Tribute card not only features a great card design, but also shows Hardaway rockin' the Nike Air Penny kicks. There's also an auto'd version of this card serial numbered to 300 that is tops on my wish list. Besides becoming one of Upper Deck's biggest spokesmen of the 90's, Hardaway was nearly front and center in one of Nike's most successful and entertaining ad campaigns.

I say "nearly front and center" because Hardaway was out shinned by "Lil' Penny" in the many Nike TV ads to promote the Air Penny kicks. "Lil Penny's" voice was of course performed by movie director Spike Lee. The fast talking quick witted puppet helped Anfernee Hardaway become a household name. Much the same way Mars Blackmon did for Jordan in the late 80's and early 90's. Maybe the lack of Spike Lee in the Lebron James commercials is why James' popularity has dipped.

(Nike Air Penny TV AD)

(Nike Promotional Poster)
The Nike Air Penny kicks themselves were truly a work of fashion and sneaker art. The swede texture and detailed stitching gave these kicks a refined looked that was only enhanced by the Orlando Magic blue and white colors. The visible Air Max heel sole screams 90's and the white outer sole was unmistakable going up and down a basketball court. These were obviously some stylish kicks, but they were also comfortable. I had a pair and really enjoyed the fit of the mid-sole. However, I did have one complaint. Not everyone gets a new pair of their own shows like Jordan or Penny would have before every game. The bottom tread on the white portion of the sole would tend to wear out and lose traction. Despite this performance flaw, these are some stylish kicks and just so happen to be rumored for a 2011 Spring retro release. You can bet this collector will be first in line to pickup my second par of Air Penny kicks in two decades.

- (Third part and RSS feed readers, click here to view videos/media)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Poll: How Many Games Will D-Wade Manage To Play?

(Separated Shoulder… looks painful)
Like many basketball fans, I'm a big fan of D-Wade's game. He can get to the basket, knock down clutch shots, D it up and get to the foul line. It seems as though Mr. Wade can do just about anything he wants out on the court. The problem is that it also seems like he can't stay on the court. Call it bad luck, style of play or poor genes, but Wade has failed to complete an entire 82 game season during his 7 year career (games played: 'o4: 61, '05: 77, '06: 75, '07: 51, '08: 51, '09: 79, '10: 77). Although he'll be lacing the kicks up for tonights much anticipated season opener against the Boston Celtics, he's already starting the 2010-11 season with a sore hamstring. So how many games will D-Wade manage to play this season?

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Very First Jersey Card

(2006 Thurman Thomas Limited Leaf Player Threads)
This 2006 Thurman Thomas Limited Leaf Player Threads card may not be much to look at, but it's the first jersey card I ever added to my collection. Like many collectors, I left the hobby when I was a little younger only to come back to it nearly a decade later. When I got back into trading cards and sports memorabilia the hobby had changed from innovative 90's designs to bringing collectors closer to the game with autographs and jersey pieces. I couldn't believe what I saw the first time I got on eBay to see if people still collected trading cards. Not only was the hobby still kicking, but one of the first eBay searches I conducted lead me to this very card. Like I said, this Thomas Player Threads card may not be the best looking card ever, but it's the hook that got me back in the boat.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown: #8

(1994 Shaquille O'neal Fleer Ultra Jam City)
The Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown continues with this 1994 Shaquille O'neal Fleer Ultra Jam City foil insert card. This masterpiece of foiling combines many of my favorite card attributes including being a 90's insert as well as an Orlando Magic era O'neal card. This was a hot item back in the day and commanded a pretty solid price of $30 - $40. I never could afford a card anywhere near that when I was a younger collector, but I remember admiring this card behind the glass in the local card shops. Today the O'neal Jam City card sells for a much more affordable $10 - $15. However, buyer beware! Foil cards are notorious for edge chipping and soft corners, and these Jam City cards are no different. It took me some time to find a mint version.

I've had a lot of fun with this countdown, and hopefully everyone else has enjoyed it as well. There're only seven cards left in the countdown, and I'm sure you'll pickup on a common theme. For now, stay tuned for the next Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown post and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: "Tip Off" By Filip Bondy

The 1984 NBA Draft is considered by many basketball fans to be the best draft in NBA history. It was littered with high-profile players coming out of college like Phi Slamma Jamma's Akeem Olajuwon, Kentucky's Sam Bowie and North Carolina's Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. The draft also featured future Hall of Famers John Stockton and "Sir" Charles Barkley. There were also some great roll players that came out of the '84 draft too like Kevin Willis, Otis Thorpe, Michael Cage, Alvin Robertson and Jerome Kersey. Any NBA GM would drool over the opportunity to put a roster together just from the prospects that were in the '84 draft class.

Filip Bondy captures the headlines as well as the back stories that helped shape this iconic draft through his book, Tip Off. The book is a basketball fan's guide to the collegiate events and player personnel moves that led up to the draft and eventually shaped the landscape of the late 80's and 90's NBA. Bondy does a great job of making the reader feel as if he/she is in the "war rooms" with the NBA GM's as they forever changed the paths of their franchises.

The author goes into great detail with the decision making process of players, scouts, GM's and Owners. Although the outcomes from that draft are already history, I still found myself on the edge of my seat wondering which teams were going to draft which players. One can't help but scream out, "No Portland, don't do it!". Obviously referring to the Trailblazers selecting Sam Bowie with the second over-all pick just ahead of Michael Jordan, but why did Portland pick Bowie over Jordan? That might be one of the biggest draft blunders ever looking back at their careers, but there were a number of logical circumstances that led to that fateful decision. Bondy gets into the heart of that decision and so much more.

The Blazer's predicament with the second overall pick is just the tip of the iceberg in Tip Off. Whether you're a fan of collegiate or professional basketball, you'll get something out of this informative and entertaining book. I encourage anyone looking for a little NBA history lesson to pick this book up (click here). It's a fun, fast and easy read. Anyone who has read the book or has any thoughts on the 1984 NBA Draft, I would love to hear your thoughts.

- Filip Bondy is currently a sports columnist for the NY Daily News and has a blog called, The Daily Blahg

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poll: Is Vladimir Guerrero A 1st Ballot HOF'er?

('96 Bowman POY)
One of my favorite MLB players to watch swing a bat is Vladimir Guerrero. "Big Bad" Vlad certainly has one of the more unique swings in MLB history, but it's also been remarketably effective. With the ALCS going on between Guerrero's Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, I started wonder whether Vlad is 1st ballot HOF worthy.

Numbers are usually a reliable measure of a players worthiness for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I think Guerrero's numbers really measure up and show just how underrated he's been. Vlad has been one of the best players of the last decade. So my vote is obvious, but what do you think about Guerrero's potential HOF status?

(Vladimir Guerrero's Career Numbers)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Poll: Which Buffalo Sports Team is Off To A More Disappointing Start: Bills or Sabres?

There's no questioning the loyalty of Buffalo sports fans, but lately it's becoming increasingly difficult to be a sports fan here in Buffalo. The Bills are off to their worst start in recent history at 0 and 5 (that recent history isn't that great either) and the Sabres are not doing much better at 1 - 4 and 1. The sports history in Buffalo is rich with triumph and notorious for defeat. Many Buffalo sports fans hang their hard hats on the sports franchises here. Western New Yorkers are passionate and hard working people who expect their teams to reflect that mentality. So far, WNY sports fans have not had much to cheer about or hang their hats on.

I don't think many Bills fans went into this season thinking playoffs, but I'm sure many were hoping to see signs of success to come. Not only are the Bills going to miss the playoffs by a mile, but they may force fans to endure the worst season in Bills franchise history. The Sabres are a bit of a different story with respect to expectations. This is a team that has the talent to make a nice run in the playoffs, but has not been able to pull out another win since it opened the season with a victory at Ottawa. However, there's still time for the Sabres to turn things around at this early stage in the season. 

So which team is off to a more disappointing start? Admittedly, this most likely seems like a simple and straight forward question, but there are a few aspects of the question to consider. Yes, the Bills are bad, really bad, but the Sabres have fallen disappointingly short of pre-season expectations. I think most fans here expected the Bills to have a rough year. That certainly doesn't excuse an 0 and 5 start by the Bills, but the rough start by the Sabres (who fans have higher expectation for) has been very lackluster thus far.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Video: Who Needs A Little Motivation Today?

I talked to a few people today who were a little down in the dumps. I'm not sure if it's the oncoming change in the weather or the slow start by the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. Either way, here's a fun compilation of motivational speeches from some of Hollywood's best. If you need a bit of motivation today, hopefully this will help… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Video: Neo Vs. Mr. Anderson ('91 Star Pics Kenny Anderson Auto)

                          (Front)                                         (Back)

Sure it might be a bit of a stretch to incorporate a scene from the motion picture The Matrix with this '91 Kenny Anderson Star Pics Auto, but it's always a good thing when you can add a video to a post from one of the cooler movies ever. Just think of Kenny Anderson as the Keanu Reeves character before the "red" pill. Mr Anderson had all the ability and potential coming out of Archbishop Molloy High School. The Queens, NY legend was a three-time Parade All-American. A feat that hadn't been achieved since one Lew Alcindor. Mr. Anderson was also named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year among other numerous awards. He was one of the most highly recruited players coming out of high school of all-time and eventually attended Georgia Tech for two seasons. Anderson became the youngest active player in the NBA when the New Jersey Nets selected him 2nd overall in the '91 Draft. There's no question that Mr. Anderson had a solid NBA career spanning 14 seasons and averaging 12.6 points, 6.1 assists/game and was also an NBA All-Star selection in 1994.

Many consider Anderson's potential unrealized. This might be because of the lofty and unrealistic expectations that were placed on Mr. Anderson ever since he was recruited way back in the 6th grade. There have also been numerous reports of personal problems stemming from marital infidelities and bankruptcy that may have also contributed to some of Mr. Anderson's issues. Fortunately, it seems that Mr. Anderson has chosen the "red" pill over the last few years as he recently earned a degree in organizational leadership and has started a business partnership with 24 Hour Fitness. 

It's obvious that Mr. Anderson wasn't "The One" on the basketball court, but maybe he can be "The One" to help positively shape the lives of individuals who attend his 24 Hour Fitness Basketball Camp Academy. This is the second chapter in a life for a former professional athlete who seems to be turning the corner. Time will undoubtably tell whether Mr. Anderson will be successful or not. That success is solely up to him, but a few things are for sure. I really like this old school on-card Star Pics auto and I love saying, "Mr. Anderson".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Yankees Essential Credentials Collection

No question, last night's come from behind win by the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS was exciting for this Yankees fan. Hopefully the Yanks and Phil Hughes can pull out another win to take a two games to none lead back to the Bronx.

With a big Game 2 to be played today, I felt the urge to post a few of my favorite E-X Essential Credentials Yankees cards. The E-X Credentials sets feature one of my favorite card designs ever. I love the bright colors and up close player silhouettes. These cards are a combination of paper and foiling on acetate card stock. Truly one of the coolest insert sets of the 90's.

('98 Bernie Williams E-X Essential Credentials Now #'d 9/74)
('99 Paul O'neill E-X Essential Credentials #'d 16/44)
('98 Andy Pettitte Essential Credentials Future #'d 72/73)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poll: Which Yankees Slugger Has Had A Better Career Since Leaving the Texas Rangers?

There's no question that both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have put up some big numbers in their careers. Teixeira has been a defensive gem at first base winning multiple Gold Gloves ('05, '06 and '09) and A-Rod has been one of the preiminant power hitters at the plate. It's ironic that both will be facing their old team in tonight's ALCS game 1 against the Texas Rangers. So who's had the better career since leaving the Rangers?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown: #9

Hi collectors! We're finally in the top 10 of the Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown with this 1996 Upper Deck SP Holoview Michael Jordan. This isn't the rarest card ever. The SP Holoviews were inserted into packs at a rate of 1:7. This isn't even the most expensive Jordan insert ever either. It has a modest book value of only $25. So why is this card in my PC Top 25 Countdown? Three simple points: 
  1. Checkout those Nike Air Jordan XI's. The Jordan XI's might not only be the best Jordan kicks ever, but they might just be the best basketball sneakers of all time.
  2. The 90's featured some great trading card technologies, but UD mastered the art of the hologram and subsequent holoview. The background on this card is truly awesome.
  3. That's one cool picture of "His Airness"!
Trading cards really don't get too much better than this Jordan Holoview for me. Ok, maybe there are eight or so other cards that might be a little better. I have a few more Jordan Holoviews from the 90's that I'll post sometime this week. Stay tuned for those and the next Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown post.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poll: Kobe Vs. Lebron

The NBA pre-season is well underway. There are a number of teams that went over seas to Europe to play a portion of their pre-season schedule. The L.A. Lakers being one of the more popular teams in the Association were part of that group. While in London, A reporter asked Kobe Bryant who would win a one-on-one contest between he and Lebron James. Kobe was stone cold in his response. I've embedded the above video into this post along with a poll to see what you think. Who would win in a one-on-one game up to 10, Kobe or Lebron?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Favorite NY Yankee (Game 3: Yankees Vs. Twins)

There are lots of great sports options for the TV clicker tonight. Since I don't have three TV's set up in my living room, I'm going to have to find a place to watch all the games tonight. Preferably, a place with the biggest and best HD as well as great food. Yes, I want my cake and I want to eat it too. The Buffalo Sabres play their home opener at 7:05 and the Yankees/Twins game should start around 8:37. That means a late dinner for me as I'll be catching both games at a before mentioned HD TV/food/sports mecca.

Since it's the MLB Playoffs, I'm a bit more excited about the Yanks playing tonight. It should be interesting to see what they get out of their 3rd starter in Phil Hughes. Between the Yanks and Sabres tonight, you would think a sports fan would have enough, but that's just not the case with this sports fan. I'll also be keeping an eye on the Florida St. versus Miami matchup tonight. This will take some clever charm and sweet talking by me to get all the TV's switched to all the games I want to watch, but I'm up to the challenge.

Since the Yanks are playing tonight, I thought I'd show off a card of my favorite pinstriped player, Paul O'neill. You all know I collect many sets and players, but it really doesn't get much better than this 1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials 16 of 44 card for me. I'm a huge fan of the Credentials cards from all sports. They usually feature some funky colors on an acetate card stock. I try to pick one up every now and then, but they can get expensive. This O'neill cost me just under $11.00 which isn't too bad. After all, he is my favorite Yankee ever. Enjoy the sports smorgasbord tonight as well as… "Every Bounce of the Ball".
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials O'neill 16/44

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less: Kevin Durant

('08 UD Rookie Box Set)
I recently received a great email question from a reader called Joel. Joel asked which reasonably priced Kevin Durant RC I think is the best to add to ones collection? That's such a great question on so many levels Joel. First, it gives me a chance to utilize the Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less post series, but more importantly, I get to write about one of the best players in the NBA today. There are a number of great card options for well under the $10 price tag. Actually, there're a few good looking Durant RC's that can be purchased for under $4 - $5. However, the best cards are always the ones that you think look the coolest and you're going to enjoy the most. So the short answer is to pick out the card that you get the most excited about. Here's the long answer:

There's no questioning Kevin Durant's talent and upside. At 22 years of age with a 25.3 point/game and 6.2 rebound/game averages in three NBA seasons, Durant hasn't even scratched the celling on that talent (if there even is a celling). Just as Durant's game should improve, so should his collectability amongst collectors. While many this week are arguing who would win a one on one matchup between Kobe and Lebron, Durant is catching up. He and the Oklahoma City Thunder are an up and coming team. Winning typically catches the attention of collectors and the Thunder should be in the playoff hunt this year again. What will catapult Durant into the collecting stratosphere is team success. If he can do that, here are two of his Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less you might want to add to your collection.

2008 Topps RC
The '08 Topps RC is not the fanciest card out there by any means, but it is one of the best. I'm a huge fan of this Topps design. Aside for the fact that you can typically buy this card form $1 - $5 (click here), there are also plenty of parallel versions including a white and really cool orange color (click here). There are plenty of these out there on the secondary market. Patients is said to be a virtue and can be the best friend to a collectors wallet on this one. That being said, I would grab one of these before the season starts and "Durantuala" fever sets in this season.

2008 UD SP RC

I'm an Upper Deck fan. I always have been and always will be. The '08 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition Premier Prospects Durant card is another inexpensive base card that collectors can purchase for right around $1 - $5 (click here). My favorite thing about this card is the Texas Longhorn Orange Durant rocked during the '07 NBA Draft shown in this cards. Beware with this one. Some sellers are tying to get $15 - $30 for this card on e-marketplaces like eBay.

If you're looking for something with a bit more pizazz and don't mind spending a few extra bucks, here are several more Durant RC's that have collectors salivating:

- '08 Upper Deck SP Authentic Profiles (click here)
- '08 Topps Chrome RC (click here)
- '08 Topps Chrome Refractor RC (click here)
- '08 Topps Echelon RC (click here)

Thanks for the question Joel. I hope this post helps you and other collectors looking to pick up a few Durant RC's. If you have a trading card or sports memorabilia question, feel free to email me via or on the Hoopography Facebook fan page. Good luck in your collecting pursuits and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Several Pennies For Your Thoughts

                                       '95 Topps Finest Refractor                '97 Z-Force Slam Cam

                                 '95 UD SP Championship Die-Cut      '99 TSC Triumvirate Luminescent

As many of you already know, I collect a lot of different players, sets and sports, but Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway inserts are right at the top of that long list of collections. I was a huge fan of the Nike Penny kicks back in the mid 90's as well as the Shaq/Penny led Orlando Magic teams. You can be sure I'll also do a Hardaway sneakers post to add to the Kicks Series, but that's for another time.

As for the cards, I'm not sure which I like best of the four. Each have their own attributes. The TSC Luminescent and Topps Finest Refractor look great throwing back all the colors of the spectrum. The Slam Cam card also has a nice shinny look to it as well (I am very slowly putting the '97 Slam Cam set together), but I really like the Championship Die-Cut card. "Penny" is sporting a pair of Nike Air Up Highs for the first time as a Nike spokesperson. Aside from the die-cut aspect of the card, Upper Deck also utilized a unique rough finish for the surface. It's really a beautiful card.

I have a few post series going currently that highlight some of the player collections I'm building and the "Penny" cards will be added to the series list. Luckily, I have a pretty decent collection already and wont have to wait until I can buy a new card like with the struggling Warren Spahn Series. So stay tuned for a few more Pennies For Your Thoughts and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Poster Review: Nike's Charles Barkley Vs. Godzilla Ad Campaign

Charles Barkley Vs. Godzilla. That's right. Nike ran a very successful ad campaign featuring "Sir Charles" battling the infamous Godzilla, or is Charles the infamous one? Nonetheless, the campaign was entertaining and successful for both Charles and Nike. Nike utilized TV commercials, sneakers, hats, T-shirts and several posters you can find throughout this post to promote its sports apparel lines. Barkley may not have been the NBA's best player during his playing career, but he was easily one of the NBA's most outspoken and controversial stars. To this day, many basketball fans take what Charles has to say seriously as he is not afraid to speak his mind.

(Nike, "I am not a role model" TV Commercial)

Despite being a controversial figure, "Sir Charles" was one of Nike's most successful spokespersons, or more likely, it's because of that controversy that helped propel the off the court success of Charles and the Nike. If Michael Jordan was the seemingly clean cut corporate American spokesperson, then Barkley was his polar opposite. He played the villain role for the NBA and Nike, and played it well.

Charles was one of my favorite players during his career, and is today one of my favorite TV personalities today as an NBA analyst for TNT. He had plenty of game and was certainly a factor in the NBA's resurgence during the late 80's and early 90's golden years. "The Mound Round of Rebound" averaged huge numbers over his sixteen year career filling it up with 22.1 points/game, 11.7 rebounds/game and 3.9 assists/game. To go along with Charles' eleven NBA All-Star appearances, he was also the '93 NBA MVP. Barkley had a distinguished NBA career that also featured a trip to the '93 NBA Finals, two Olympic Gold Medals ('92 & '96), and a spot on the NBA's 50 at 50 Greatest Players list.

Aside from a great playing career, Barkley's poster career is pretty impressive as well. "The Battle of the Century" Nike poster is not your normal sports poster. Nike definitely had a little fun with this one. I really like the entire Godzilla campaign that Nike introduced in 1992. I don't think there's a better comparison for a player like Barkley who himself was a monster on the court.
There's no question that this was a great marketing campaign for the creative ad wizards over at Nike. Instead of shying away from a controversial and abrasive personality, Nike embraced Barkley and used his personality to its advantage. I should know. I bought a pair of the Nike Air Max CB 2's back in the day partially because of the innovative Barkley Vs. Godzilla campaign. It didn't hurt that Nike made quite a technologically sound and comfortable sneaker either. Here's the TV commercial that started the "Battle of the Century" campaign off.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Excited For The NHL Season To Start! Are You?

The NHL season is a few days away and I'm really excited. Aside from the thrill of the puck dropping, the hobby is abuzz with new hockey products like Upper Deck's 2010 The Cup. In addition to the great new products out there to collect, bloggers get to showcase a few of their most treasured hockey memorabilia items. In light of that, this is a great time to showoff this 2008 Upper Deck Trilogy 1-2 Clearcut Auto's of Buffalo Sabres stars Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. Unfortunately, the scan does not do this 40/100 acetate card justice. The card is see through and may be the cause for the color of the card not translating very well in the scan. It really is a great looking item, and I was really excited to add it to my collection. So it's obvious that I'm excited for the season to get started, but what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to the start of the NHL season and new hockey products coming out?

If you need more NHL news to get you ready for the season, checkout Sports Jambalaya where a few of us bloggers have given our predictions for the upcoming season. Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Video: UDA's 5 Step Authentication Process

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

Upper Deck Authenticated makes some of the most sought after sports memorabilia in the marketplace today. They also produce some of the most expensive memorabilia in the marketplace. With such high quality pieces and a considerable investment on the collectors part, it behoves Upper Deck and collectors to have a reliable authentication process in place. 

If you ever wanted to know how UDA authenticates its products or the purpose of those little holograms on the corners of sports memorabilia pieces, checkout this short video.

The video is certainly informative, but here's the fun part. What's your favorite piece of sports memorabilia? It can be anything from a UDA product, poster, signed baseball, pair of kicks, figurine, auto'd picture, bobblehead, etc. I know we all collect a lot of diverse items, so the sky is the limit. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Poll: Which Batter from this Yankees/Red Sox Quad Jersey Would You Want Up in the Bottom of the 9th?

(2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Quad Jersey)
In lue of the Yankees/Red Sox series double-header today, I have a little poll question for readers. Which player from this '08 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Quad Jersey card would you want up to bat in the bottom of the 9th of an A.L.C.S. game 7 down by one and with two outs? For the purposes of this question, let's assume/consider each player in their prime.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Product Preview Polls: Good, Bad or Indifferent?

Panini recently sent out a few media releases for a number of their upcoming basketball (Threads & Timeless Treasures) and football (Gridiron Gear) products. I'll give a short take on my thoughts regarding each product, but there's also polls for you to give each product a "Good", "Bad" or "Indifferent" vote of your own. Of course, there's also the "comments" section for you to really sing Panini's praises or exclaim your Panini hatred.

Panini Threads Basketball:

My Take: Panini's 2011 Threads Basketball release is a mix of Panini's best and worst. I posted about the Threads Rookies a couple of days ago. They're one of the best looking basketball card designs that I've seen in a long time. The use of wood card stock is really appropriate. These will also be on-card auto'd. Those are all obviously good selling points to collectors. The question I have is whether the Threads Rookies cards will be realistically obtainable for collectors. Is this going to be a case hit item or will you have a reasonable chance at pulling one of these great looking cards from a single box break? I also like the Rookie Team Threads jersey die-cuts. They were a nice little set last year and certainly add to this years product.

The good from this product is a step in the right direction for Panini basketball. The bad is a lot of the same from last years basketball products. Mainly, much of Threads looks pretty pedestrian with a few sticker auto's slapped on for good measure. In fairness to Panini, the media release does say there are more than 20,000 on-card auto's in the product, but many of the images from the release look like they have sticker auto's. We'll have to see when the first boxes are busted in late November. I'm also not a big fan of the base card design. I know many collectors just bust boxes for the hits, but there still are collectors who appreciate base cards. I'm not really sure I can appreciate the Threads base card. This isn't really a product that I'm excited about as much as there are a few insert sets that are interesting. Sometimes that's all it takes to prop a product up.

Panini Gridiron Gear:

My Take: 2010 Gridiron Gear is a product that looks pretty solid from top to bottom. The base card design is done simply, but effectively. There are some saddle features on the base cards that add to the entire card but do not take away from the highlighted NFL star. Very well done. The inserts, auto'd and relic cards look good too. I really like the NFL Gridiron Signatures cards as well as the Plates & Patches. However, I'm not a big fan of some of the patch placements and designs. Panini seems to arbitrarily cut holes in cards and stick a piece of jersey in there. It doesn't look like that is as much of an issue with Gridiron Gear as in years past, but there are a couple questionable patch placements. Would it hurt to put some foiling or a graphic around a patch? That would really make the patches look like they were put on the card with some purpose.

I've gotten more and more into football cards over the last year and this is a product I'll probably buy a pack or two of just for a chance at pulling a C.J. Spiller card or Gridiron Signatures Jim Kelly card.

Panini Timeless Treasures Basketball:

My Take: I busted a box of 2010 Timeless Treasures several months ago and really liked it. The 1 of 25 Lebron James Prime Jersey Patch card that I pulled probably had a lot to do with that, but I'm really a fan of the overall design and color scheme of this product line. The base cards have a cool and sophisticated elegance about them. The list of players on the product checklist is impressive. I also love the themes and designs of the inserts, auto's and relic sets. I do however have a few nit picky observations.

The patch placements and lack of foiling or graphic highlighting the patches is a big issue for me. It's not so much the placement of patches in Timeless Treasure, as it's the lack of any design element around the patches. Again this is nit picking, but at $100 for a five card box, I want perfection or close to perfection. Speaking of the $100 price tag, or $20 per card, are collectors getting on-card or sticker auto's? That makes a big difference as I'm sure many of you know.

Panini Treasures is a product line that I really like. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this years release to decide on whether to pick up a box or not, but I like what I see so far.