Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mail Time: A Few Knicks Forward Danilo Gallinari Pickups

One of my favorite current players to collect is Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knickerbockers. The former 6th overall pick of the Knicks in the 2008 draft has a world of potential, but is plagued at times by inconsistency and lack of assertiveness. At 22 years of age and only two years of NBA experience, Gallinari is still transitioning from the European game. The talent, size and work ethic is there. It's just a matter of Gallinari gaining confidence in himself and taking that next leap as the Knicks third or even second offensive option. This all of course hinges on whether the Knicks will trade Danilo over the next few weeks. There's some player named 'Melo out west that everyone keeps talking about.

Here are a few recent Gallinari pickups I made on the Bay. The second Upper Deck Ultimate RC is for trade on my Trade Page.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kicks: KG's Footwear Shot At The Defending Champs

Most of the Kicks post series has focused on past iconic athletic footwear, but these new ANTA Kevin Garnett kicks caught my eye. Mainly, because of the message it sends to the Celtics hated rival… the LA Lakers. The shoe has the Celtics record against the Lakers, 152-120, right on the tongue of the shoe. I like the message KG is sending for Sunday's showdown against the Lakers. He believes the Celtics are the superior team/franchise, and he's not afraid to say it… or wear it.

I'm not sure these are the kicks I'd be rockin' on the hoops court, but I could definitely see my self putting these on with a pair of jeans. They're kinda cool. What do you think? Are these cool kicks? Do you like the message KG is sending with these green goblins?

Here's a link to more picks of the ANTA KG 1 shoe: click here.

Images courtesy of

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yet Another 90's Insert Set: '96 Jam Session Show Stoppers

'96 Jam Session David Robinson Show Stoppers 
90's insert sets came in all shapes and sizes. Whether it was die cuts or holograms, card designers let their imaginations go wild. One prominent design feature was foiling. I was a big fan of foiled card surfaces back in the day and continue to be a fan today. Most cards that have foiling incorporated in the designs today are mainly used as an accent on boarders and around jersey pieces. That's fine by me as the foiling always looks great and really dresses a card up even if it's just used as an accent. However, some companies went all out with foiling during the 90's by creating entire card surfaces made up of foiling.

The '94 Fleer Ultra Power in the Key set (click here) is a prime example of the use of foiling during the 90's. If that's not enough foiling for you though, checkout this '96 Jam Session Show Stoppers David Robinson insert. Not only is the entire surface foil, but it's a taller 2.5 x 4.75 inch as apposed to the traditional 2.5 x 3.5 inch card size. That means a whole lot more foiling. Which I like.

The scan really doesn't do this card justice. These Jam Session cards look a little better in hand. The entire set consists of nine cards and we inserted into hobby boxes at a ratio of 1:48. I only have the Robinson from the set, but I'd love to put this set together. Some of my favorite 90's players are featured in the set including Michael Jordan, Anfernee Hardaway and Grant Hill. Not too shabby of a player checklist.

So if anyone has any cards from this set, let me know. Here's a link to my trade album and want lists. I'm certainly open to trades for this… Yet Another 90's Insert Set.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poster Review: Nolan Ryan "Texas Ranger" Nike Poster

Nolan Ryan "Texas Ranger" Nike Poster (1989)
Texas Ranger fans and poster hunters alike, this is one of the coolest vintage posters out there. It screams awesomeness almost as much as a Nolan Ryan fastball screaming toward a bruised pitcher's hand. "The Ryan Express" played 27 seasons in the Majors finishing with the Texas Rangers in 1993. He left the Houston Astros because of a contract dispute and joined the Rangers in '89. Of course, the marketing wizards at Nike had to jump all over the legends career move.

The idea behind the poster is obvious and simple. Ryan is being depicted as a Texas Ranger lawman who disseminates justice through his gun of an arm. There are even baseballs in the gun holsters. Nice touch be Nike. Ryan lived up to expectations during that first season with the Rangers by going 16 and 10 in 32 starts with a 3.20 ERA and 301 strikeouts. Not too shabby for a then 42 year old.

The post is of course out of print and that usually means it sells for a house payment, however, I found a couple reasonably priced copies for sale on eBay (click here). I would go with the "Best Offer" auction and see what happens. Here's a completed "Live Auction" from a week ago that was a great deal (click here). Just goes to show that patience can be a collectors best friend, or at least a wallets best friend.

Whether it's for your den, dorm room or man cave, iconic sports posters can be that centerpiece item to finish off a room. After a 60 inch plasma TV of course. Enjoy the poster hunt and… "Every Bounce of the Ball".

- Need more poster reviews? Click here to access previous Hoopography poster review posts.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hoopography Is Now On Twitter

Twitter is everywhere. It seems that professional athletes, celebrities and even everyday people like you and me have a Twitter account. In fact, I do have a Twitter account. I've actually had an account for about a year now, but never really used it. However, VOTC wrote an interesting post that has inspired me to feed my blog over to the Hoopography Twitter page. I will also post interesting cards and memorabilia I come across on eBay.

Between the Hoopography blog, Facebook page and Twitter page, I hope to continue networking with fellow sports memorabilia collectors and hobby enthusiasts. Checkout the new Hoopography Twitter page and of course… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Country In The Hoopography House: '98 SkyBox Ruby

Quick trivia question. Who was the first ever pick of the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies franchise? It was none other than the 6th overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft, Bryant "Big Country" Reeves. The 7 footer was nearly 300 pounds and had a pretty cool flat top hair cut. Although Reeves had several solid seasons early on in his career he only played six seasons in the NBA. Unfortunately, weight issues and injuries took a toll on Reeves after he singed a six-year $61.8 million contract.

The card is a '98 SkyBox Premium Ruby #'d/50. These Ruby cards are absolutely gorgeous. Similar to a refractor, but I think a bit nicer. Plus, this was a cheapie. Which is always nice.

I've picked up a couple Ruby cards over the past few weeks from different years including a Thurman Thomas. These can get pretty expensive because of their scarcity. The foil surface is cool too, but is suseptable to chipping. The patient collector can find mint versions of these at decent prices. Just make sure to look closely at the edges and corners for wear. Thanks for reading and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Jordan Collection Part 3: '97 Upper Deck SPx Force

'97 Upper Deck SPx Force (M. Jordan, J. Stackhouse, M. Richmond and L. Sprewell)
I have quite a few Michael Jordan cards in my collection, but none might be as cool looking as this 1997 Upper Deck SPx Force insert card. The hologram featuring four former NBA stars (Jordan, Richmond, Stackhouse and Sprewell) is impressive and the die cut is extreme. However, the burnt orange background is what really brings this card together.

Upper Deck's early SPx products of the mid 90's were all about innovation and creativity. SPx offered collectors something different that the tradition trading card. That forward thinking design mentality is alive and well today in the SPx line with the very cool hockey and football Shadow Box cards. Although Upper Deck has done a nice job with the SPx line, I don't think the tree would be flourishing like it has without it's early roots.

The '97 SPx Force cards are rare with an insertion rate of 1:360, and there are only five cards in the set. I have three of those cards, so I should just get the other two to complete the set. The book value is $50.00 on this Jordan one (there are two different Jordan cards in the set) and they usually sell pretty close that $50.00. There are also auto'd versions that obviously sell for quite a bit more.

As far as Jordan inserts go, this is one cool looking card that I'm excited to have in my Jordan Collection. Thanks for reading and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Warren Spahn vol. 2: 2009 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Auto

I started a post series following my Warren Spahn collection about four months ago. Unfortunately, this is only the second post in that four month time period. I failed to realize how expensive it can be collecting HOF greats like Spahn. It's especially expensive when the vintage cards I'm looking for I want to be graded. It's not that I care so much to get a PSA 10, it's more that I don't want a card that is counterfeit or that has been altered. I'm fine with a 1948 Bowman Spahn that has a PSA grade of 4, 3, 2 or even 1. I just want to make sure they are the real deal.

So enough of my Spahn collecting woes. As Ice Cube said back in the day, "Today was a good day". Yeah, how many trading card blogs are going from Warren Spahn to Ice Cube? Hoopography roles like that. And why not? It was a good day. I received this 2009 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Auto from my exploits on the Bay last week. It's a nice looking card. I wish there was a pic of Spahn on there, but this is a nice continuation to my Spahn collection.

I'm sure some readers are asking why I'm blogging and even collecting Warren Spahn cards? That's really a pretty good question and I'll explain. My trading card collection is broken down into 50% basketball, 20% baseball, 20% football and 10% hockey. I wasn't a math major, so I had to take a sec to make sure that worked out. So I actually collect a lot of different sports, sets and players. Warren Spahn figures into my collection because he was from my home town of Buffalo, NY. Plus he's often considered to be the best lefty ever. I'm sure there's a few Sandy Koufax fans out there that disagree with that statement. Other than Billy Martin, I'm not really collecting too many vintage baseball cards. So this Spahn collection is really fun.

Thanks for reading and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Friday, January 21, 2011

UD Black In The Hoopography House

'09 Upper Deck Upper Deck Black Brad Daugherty Auto #'d 2/50
Like with many collectors, Upper Deck's Black line is one of their favorites in the hobby. The styling is what I like to call, "Aggressively Cool". Unfortunately, the pricing on these cards is less than cool and more than aggressive. However, I've finally been able to land a UD Black card. This 2 of 50 Brad Daugherty auto'd card is from the '09 UD Black. For some reason, I have a minor obsession with the early 90's Cleveland Cavaliers teams. Particularly, I like the Mark Price and Brad Daugherty auto'd cards that have recently been released in the past few years.

I'd love to add another UD Black card or two to my collection, but it all depends on the price and condition. As you probably know, the cards with thicker stock tend to damage easily. So beware if you are looking to add a UD Black card to your collection. Chipping and corner wear is common with many of these cards. I was pleasantly surprised with the Daugherty as it looked cleaner than in the eBay photo.

What are some of your thoughts on the UD Black product? Are you a fan or not?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Auto's Are Just Plan Classics

I know… most post titles don't get any more cheesy than that. As you can see, the three auto's are from the early 90's Classic company. I'm a big fan of many of the Classic auto's. One of my favorite Classic auto's even made it all the way to forth place on my Top 25 PC Countdown. The fact is, Classic put out some of the best on-card auto's of superstar players like Shaquille O'neal, Alex Rodriguez, Drew Bledsoe, Chris Webber, Pavel Bure, Desmond Howard and many more. The really cool thing about many of these auto's is that there were plenty made. That means that every collector can pickup a sweet college era auto of their favorite player.

Speaking of favorite players, Chris Webber and the Fab Five had me hooked from day one. I attribute my craziness for kicks directly to the fab freshmen. Looking back at hoops trading cards of old, I'm also glad C-Web and the Wolverines got the shorts lengthened a bit. The '93 Webber Classic Gold Auto is from a special set that Classic limited to 9,500 and shipped to collectors in a swanky wooden box (click here). This is a must have for any Webber or Fab Five fan.

The Mashburn card is from the same '93 Gold set as the Webber. It's definately a cool card. I like it better than the Webber card. First off, Masburn has one of the coolest nicknames ever, "Monster Mash". Yeah… that's right, I said it. Plus, checkout those Converse kicks the "Monster Mash" is rockin'. Mashburn was a beast at Kentucky and I'm glad to add this one to my collection.

Finally, there were a number of collecting crazes during the '92-'93 collecting season. We had the "Shaq Attack" and of course Michael Jordan, but Manon Rheaume cards were hot as well. Rheaume is the first woman to play in an NHL contest. She competed in games during the '92 and '93 preseasons for the Tamp Bay Lighting. At one time, her Classic auto's were selling for similar amounts as the O'neal auto's. That's really saying something, If you know how hot those O'neal cards were.

If you're looking to pick up an auto or two of your favorite 90's athletes, take a look at the Classic auto's. They're not to shabby. As always, happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Contest Update: Timeless Treasures Contest Winner

Congrats to Colbey (flywheels) over at the Cardboard Collection and Random Toy Reviews for winning the Panini Timeless Treasures five card lot. I used to randomize the entires and obtain a winner. You can see the results in the snapshot below. Colbey, please make sure to email me your mailing address at I will be sending prize packages out this Friday.

My goal with Hoopography is to meet and network with fellow collectors from around the world. I think these little contests help to enhance that goal. Please feel free to visit Hoopography in the future and comment on any post you might find interesting.  Also, if you have any collecting questions or trade requests, please don't hesitate to email me at

I'm a big believer in taking something positive out of everything I do. With that said, I have a little motto I like to go by… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beware Of The Frozen Acetate Card

'08 Upper Deck Trilogy 1-2 Combo Clear Cut Miller/Vanek Dual Auto #'d 40/100
As many of you are well aware or, acetate is one of my favorite trading card technologies. Acetate cards consist of images that have been incased or printed on translucent plastic. A prime example, and one of my favorites, is the Ryan Miller/Thomas Vanek UD Trilogy dual auto'ed card pictured above. Acetate cards look cool and are certainly fun to collect. However, living in Buffalo, NY, they can have a fragile side as well.

I got back into the hobby a little more than three years ago and was amazed at how the industry and trading cards themselves had changed. For example, I remembered acetate cards from the late 90's (click here), but the modern acetate card is typically a lot thicker and often features an autograph. One of my first big eBay purchases getting back into the hobby was a Dominique Wilkins 2003 Upper Deck Focus Auto (click here). More important than the cost of the card, was the excitement I had of adding a Dominique Wilkins autograph to my collection. Unfortunately, it can get pretty cold here in Buffalo.

Cold and acetate doesn't go very well together. The ultra thick Wilkins Auto Focus card cracked during shipment like a nasty chip spiders on a car windshield. In below freezing weather, all it takes is a dropped envelope or reckless mail carrier to shatter an acetate card. Luckily, the seller refunded my entire order. Which was very nice since it really wasn't the sellers fault. Today, I rarely buy an acetate card during the cold winter months. If I just can't refuse a good deal, I will tell the seller to hold onto the card until it warms up a bit. The difference in a few degrees can be the difference between a sweet Miller/Vanek auto or a shattered Wilkins auto.

Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bo Knows… KICKS: Nike Air Trainer SC

Nike Air Trainer SC
Today I get the chance to combine two of my favorite post series, Bo Knows… and KICKS. That's definitely a good thing since it's been a couple weeks since I've added to either series. And with Nike's very successful Bo Knows… ad campaign that I'm obviously playing off of for this post title, it's about time I combined the two series.

As previously mentioned, Nike's Bo Knows… ad campaign was enormously successful. Unfortunately, it was also brief due to the catastrophic hip injury Bo suffered against the Bengals in a 1991 NFL playoff game. Really, the Bengals? Come on! What's something positive the Bengals have done for sports in the past 20 years? I can't think of anything and the Jackson injury is just making me more displeased with the Bungles franchise. Anyways, back to the Nike campaign. Despite the injury and 20 years, Nike has never really given up on the iconic campaign.

2010 Nike Trainer SC
Nike has re-released the Air Trainer SC recently (pictured right). This is an updated version of the original SC. In the past, Nike was just producing the Air Trainer SC as retro's. You can see the original Air Trainer SC at the top of the post. The retro version has been released in almost ever color scheme imaginable, but I like the orange, blue and white. It's just classic.

Most of the sneakers I feature in the KICKS series I have worn personally at some point in time. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of rockin' this cross trainers as of yet, but I'm working on it.

Yep, Bo Knows… Kicks. Checkout the Nike TV commercial from the early 90's below and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

- Need more Bo Knows… posts? (click here)
- Need more KICKS posts? (click here)
- Want free Panini Timeless Treasures cards? (click here)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Contest Update: Hoopography Top 25 PC Countdown #1

The PC Top 25 countdown contest for the Donruss Rated Rookies is over, but the Timeless Treasures giveaway is still going strong! So if you what some free Timeless Treasures auto'd and jersey cards, make sure to enter. Click here to view the rules of the Timeless Treasures giveaway and to enter.

'92 SkyBox Dream Team Plastic Card
I was a little worried that no one would be able to guess what my favorite card is in my PC. I know that was a tough task with all the different players, sports and sets I collect, but Offy over at Sports Syzygy put all the contest clues together. Offy, please make sure to email me your mailing address at, so I can send you the cards. Thanks to Panini and everyone who participated.

My favorite card in my PC is the 1992 SkyBox Plastic Dream Team card. Aside from the fact that the '92 Dream Team is my favorite team of all-time and features many of my favorite players in NBA history, this was one of the first plastic cards ever made. It was a precursor to the acetate technology that I love so much. It's a really great looking card with the red, white and blue of Team USA and was pretty hot back in the early 90's.

The card doesn't have crazy book value at $30.00, but the sentimental value attached to the card for me is invaluable. I added this card to a very early trading card collection on a family road trip to SeaWorld in Ohio during '92. I was just ten years old at the time. In a sense, this is not only the top card in my PC and the Countdown, but it was also the first. Because of the great family memories this card conjures up, the trading card technology used and the players/team featured, the '92 SkyBox Dream Team Plastic card takes the top spot on my countdown.

Thanks for checking out the countdown. It was a lot of fun putting it together over the past couple months. I'll do a post this week with cards I received while I was conducting the countdown that likely would've made the countdown. Congrats again to Offy for guessing my favorite card in my PC. Don't forget to checkout the Timeless Treasures giveaway and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Poll: Will Derek Jeter Have A Resurgence In 2011?

Sweet, sweet acetate!
Derek Jeter is coming off of his worst statistical season in his 16 season MLB career. With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in under a month (28 days), I'm starting to get excited about the upcoming MLB season. One of the biggest questions for my favorite team is whether Derek Jeter can bounce back from a season in which he batted .270, hit 10 hrs and stole 18 bases. Also, despite winning a Gold Glove, 2010 saw a diminish in Jeter's range at the shortstop position.

So the question is, what type of season is Jeter going to put together this year? The poll options consist of some of Jeter's best and worst season averages. What do you think?

- Make sure to checkout the card contests/giveaways I'm holding to try your luck at winning some free Panini cards (click here).

Contest: 2011 Panini Timeless Treasures Giveaway

All cards above go to the winner except the LaMarcus Aldridge.
That's going to G_Moses over at The Basketball Card Blog.
Checkout his blog and you'll see why.
I've got another contest/giveaway for readers featuring the contents of a box of Panini's Timeless Treasures.  Big thanks to Panini for sending me the box for review. I hate to see the cards go, but hopefully there's a collector out there who will enjoy them more than I will.

Checkout a second contest I'm running featuring Donruss Rated Rookie cards (John Wall included) and a Tyreke Evans jersey card. The prize package includes 22 total Donruss basketball cards (click here).

Contest Rules:
  • If you aren't already, become a follower of Hoopography and/or the Hoopography Facebook page.
  • Comment below to be entered in the contest once.
  • Post something regarding the contest on your blog and receive a second entry. You must place a link to that "pub" post with the comment so I can verify it.
  • I will put all entries into to declare a winner.
  • Contest ends this Wed. the 19th at 10:00 PM EST.
  • I will post the results Thursday the 20th.
  • Good Luck and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Contest Featuring John Wall, Tyreke Evans And More

John Wall
Donruss Rated Rookie
I'm running a number of contests over the next few days to giveaway the cards I recently reviewed from Panini. Click here to enter the first contest

The prize pack includes John Wall, Tyreke Evans (jersey card), Gordon Hayward and more. 

Good luck and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Friday, January 14, 2011

Contest/Giveaway: Can You Guess The #1 Card In My Top 25 Count Down?

Over the past couple months, I've been conducting a Top 25 PC Countdown. I've gone from #25 to #2 and am finally down to my favorite card in my entire collection. If you've been following the countdown, I'm sure you've noticed a pattern. I'm a huge fan of 90's inserts, but can you guess what my favorite PC card is?

To celebrate the conclusion of the countdown and giveaway some of the cards Panini recently sent me, I thought it'd be fun to giveaway some Donruss Rated Rookie cards and a Tyreke Evans Production Line jersey card. Here's what you need to do to enter:

Contest Rules:
  • You must be a follower of Hoopography and/or the Hoopography Facebook page
  • You must give the year, make and name of the card. Example: 1996 Topps Finest Kevin Garnett RC. Try to be as specific as possible.
  • The contest will go on as long as it has to. In other words, the contest is open until someone guesses the #1 card on my Top 25 Countdown. I check the blog a few times a day and will announce a winner within a few hours of the correct guess being posted.
  • First participant to guess correctly wins.
  • One guess per contestant. However, if you publicize the contest on your blog, you will get a 2nd guess. Make sure to include a link to your "pub" post when guessing.
  • Post your guesses in the comments section of this post.
  • Please read and adhere to all rules above.
Contest Hints:
  • Take a look at the previous Top 25 Countdown posts to get a feel of what and the many players I collect.
  • The winning answer comes from the early 90's.
  • Many all-time great players are featured on this one card.
  • I've had it for almost 20 years
  • Take note of some of my favorite card technologies.
  • My favorite team of all-time is featured.
  • It is not one of the cards from the prize package below.
Contest Prize:
  • The prize pack includes 21 Rated Rookie cards (including John Wall) along with a Tyreke Evans Jersey card #'d to 399. My favorite card in my collection and the winning answer is not one of the cards below being offered in the prize package.
Just a few of the 21 Rated Rookie cards included!!!

How Long Do You Expect To Wait For eBay Items?

So I went out to the mailbox today expecting to receive a card I recently purchased. It's my first Upper Deck Black card, and I'm pretty excited about. The problem is that I've been waiting for almost two weeks. I was just about to leave an email for the seller requesting my card. However, I forgot the card was coming all the way from Japan and should be in early next week.

I was a little premature in wanting to email the seller, but I'm really excited about getting that little manila envelope. This got me wondering how long most collectors expect to wait for an item purchased on eBay or any of the other secondary market sources. I typically wait a week before I'll contact the seller. I understand we're all busy and this isn't a primary source of income/job for most sellers. So I think a week or so is plenty of time to get an item out to a buyer, providing they're not from overseas of course.

- Question: So how long do you expect to wait for eBay items you've won? What's a reasonable time frame?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Will Shawne Merriman Be A Smart Investment For The Buffalo Bills, Fans And Collectors?

The Buffalo Bills recently resigned former All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman to a two year contract extension. The former 12th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft is only 26 years old. However, he's coming off a myriad of injuries and has only played in 18 games over the past three seasons. The Bills obviously feel he's worth a two year commitment, but is he worth the commitment of the fans and collectors?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The "Dominator" Dominates This Cool Card On The Cheap

1997 Upper Deck Dominik Hasek Holoview Collection
One of my favorite Buffalo athletes of all-time is former Buffalo Sabres net-minder Dominik Hasek. The "Dominator" was just that, dominant. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner and two-time Hart Trophy (League MVP) winner has a minuscule career 2.02 GAA and .925 career SV%. As much as I like current Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, he's got nothing on Hasek.

Here's a recent Hasek pickup I made on eBay for just under $3.00 including shipping. This 1997 Upper Deck Holoview Collection card combines two of my favorite card attributes with the vivid holoview surface and die-cut edges. I'm also digging the late 90's Buffalo Sabres uniforms. I love getting cool cards on the cheap. Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Box Review: 2011 Timeless Treasures Basketball

Panini sent me a box of 2011 Timeless Treasures Basketball which was recently released last week. I busted a box of 2010 Timeless Treasures last year and pulled a sweet LeBron James Prime Patch. I wasn't as lucky this year, but it was certainly fun to open a hobby box/tin of a brand new product. Of course, A special thanks to Panini for sending me the box. I'll be giving away the contents of this box as well as last weeks Donruss Basketball box break later this week in a number of contests. So stay tuned for those contests and giveaways!!!

Panini's 2011 Timeless Treasures (TT's) doesn't know whether it wants to be a high end product at a decent price or a so so product that's overpriced. Doing a quick search on eBay for 2011 Timeless Treasures yields a hodgepodge of awesome RC auto's and some awkward single color jersey cards or sticker auto's. Two of the most impressive aspects of TT's is the list of legends like Oscar Robinson and Scottie Pippen included in the set and the Rookie Recruits auto'd cards. The Rookie Recruits auto's were nice cards in last years product and are definitely one of the biggest draws in this years TT's.

At $90.00 a box/tin for six cards, there is certainly a risk factor. However, TT's is one of the best products currently on the market for those collectors looking to score a nice John Wall, Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins or Landry Fields auto. That doesn't mean TT's is without it's flaws. Which makes it one of the riskiest basketball products on the market. Score a LeBron Prime Patch, Hall of Fame Prime Quad or John Wall RC auto and it's well worth the risk.

2011 Timeless Treasures Box Review:

- Overall Product Design: C+
- Value: D
- Fun Factor: B-
- Hits: C+
- Overall: C

For me as a Knicks fan, this was a nice box/tin as I pulled a Knickerbocker RC of Timofey Mozgov. As an impartial reviewer, I have to admit this wasn't the best box I've ever opened. The look of the jersey and auto'd cards are nice. If you've read the post thus far, you know I'm also a big fan of the Rookie Recruits cards. However, the base cards really should be on thicker card stock instead of the 35 pt. traditional stock. I also can't justify the $90.00 price tag for this box. The Mozgov is the most valuable card at only $5.00-$10.00. That's not exactly mojo. The bottom line on Panini's TT is that it's a nice product with tons of potential. It all depends on whether you're the type of collector that can afford to purchase boxes on potential (lets face it, collectors purchase most products for the hits). I recommend waiting a few weeks for the retail prices to go down on TTs or stick to the singles on eBay.

What's your review?

- Stay tuned for contests and giveaways later this week for Timeless Treasures and Donruss Basketball cards.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Darko And The Young T-Wolves

2004 Topps Chrome RC Refractor
Don't look now, but Darko Milicic is actually having a respectable season in Minnesota. Just so I don't get any of those "Are you crazy emails!!!", I wrote "respectable" not great or even good. Feel free to send the emails anyways… if you really want to. I can take it.

The former 2nd overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA Draft is certainly known more as a bust that a decent player. However, Milicic has started all 36 games for the Timberwolves and is averaging 9 points, 2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in only 24 minutes/game. Those aren't all-star caliber numbers, but they sure aren't Kwame Brown numbers either.

The 25 year old will likely never live up to the number 2 draft selection, but where Darko was selected isn't his fault. As of right now, Milicic is one of the league leaders in blocks while playing limited minutes.

The Timberwolves are having another difficult season, but there is some talent on that roster that should be interesting to see develop over the next few seasons (Flynn, Love, Rubio, Beasley and Johnson). Notice, that I wrote "some talent", and I even italicised the word. There's no question the T-Wolves are far from being a good team, but they are interesting with some of the talent that's there along with the high lottery pick they should get this summer and potential trade value of Ricky Rubio (or whatever happens with Rubio's rights).

At only 25 years of age, Darko could be a small part of a resurgent T-Wolves future. At this point, any part of a team's future is better than many figured for Milicic considering the lackluster start to his career.

Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Should Collegiate Athletes Get Paid?

In light of the BCS National Championship game being played tonight, I thought the question of monetary payment for collegiate student-athletes was fitting. I would argue that the student-athlete is already receiving numerous benefits monetarily, academically and athletically through the scholarships they have the opportunity to take advantage of. Sir Charles gives his opinion in the video below. What's yours?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beast Mode In Seattle

With the unlikely win by the Seattle Seahawks yesterday over the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and Marshawn Lynch's incredible touchdown run, I thought I'd show off a few of the Lynch cards in my collection.

Being a Buffalo Bills fan, there really aren't too many current players to collect. At least, not many to get too excited about. I've been a fan of Lynch since Buffalo Drafted him with the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. The one-time Pro Bowl selection ('08) is only 24 years old and obviously has some talent. That's why I was disappointed when the Bills traded him to the Seahawks earlier this season. Getting a 4th round pick in this years NFL Draft and a conditional pick in next years didn't help to ease the pain either.

I had hoped the Bills would have held on to the powerful young back to go along with the speedy C.J. Spiller. Fortunately for Seahawks fans and viewers yesterday, that wasn't the case. I'll continue to collect Lynch auto's, ref's and patch cards. His 65 yard run last night reminds me of some of the other famous runs in NFL history like the "Look at that!" MNF Bo Jackson run down the sidelines or the Marcus Allen Super Bowl XVIII run. Lynch's running style may not be the most graceful or the fastest, but he does have a running style. And that running style is called… "Beast Mode".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guess Who Saw The Stanley Cup This Week?

It was me… and probably a bunch of other people in the Buffalo area this week. The Buffalo Sabres are celebrating their 40th anniversary this season and have a very cool display at the Buffalo Albright-Knox Art Gallery. One of the attractions was a short appearance by the Stanley Cup and accompanying league trophies. Viewers were able to take photos and actually touch the trophies. That's cool for a dorky guy like me. I took full advantage of this opportunity and captured pics of each trophy. I'll post all the pics in a few days, but the NFL Wild Card games are about to start. So here are just a few of the highlights.

Lord Stanley's Cup
Me standing with the Conn Smythe Trophy pretending I was the most valuable player of the NHL Playoffs

Friday, January 7, 2011

Box Review: 2010-11 Panini's Donruss Basketball

Harkening back to one of the best card designs of the 80's, the Rated Rookie is back. Panini's Donruss Basketball product went live Wednesday, and with the number of cards already appearing on the secondary markets, it looks like collectors are busting quite a few boxes. And thanks to Panini, this blogger was able to checkout a box of the newest product in the basketball trading card industry first hand. So enough with the post introduction. Here's a snapshot of Donruss Basketball and a brief review.

2010-11 Panini Donruss Basketball Snapshot
- Box Breakdown:
  • Release Date: January 5th, 2011
  • Hobby Box Cost: $65.95
  • 27 Rated Rookie Cards
  • 21 Team Photo Checklist Cards
  • 8 Serial #'d
  • 14 Die Cut Cards
  • 2 Jersey Cards
  • 1 Autographed Card

- Card/Product Design: Overall card/product design should be the most important part of any product and Panini didn't disappoint with Donruss Basketball. The design team at Panini reached back into the card design vault for an iconic design with the Rated Rookies. Because of that, the RC's in Donruss are particularly sought after and really make this a fun product. However, the Rated Rookies aren't the only thing Panini got right with the design of Donruss. The foil "d" logo on the bottom right of each card for "Donruss" is a nice touch. The photography is excellent with a myriad of basketball actions featured. I also like the die cuts which add another little detail to the product. It's those little details that really make for an excellent design.

Nicolas Batum Base (Back)
The backs of the cards are basic, but do provide the necessary info and stats a nerd like me checks out. I also really like the little player trivia on the backs of each card. Not the best looking card back ever, but certainly more than adequate.

Finally, the only issues I have with the design of Donruss has to do with the lack of team colors on the base cards and sticker auto's. I know this is a nit picky issue, but it would make a big difference to many collectors who put base sets together. The sticker auto thing is simply an issue that every collector has and it doesn't look like it'll be going away anytime soon. The auto'd card I pulled doesn't really look bad with the sticker auto, but I obviously would have liked to have pulled an on-card auto. Otherwise, the inserts are solid (particularly the very cool Duos cards), the die cuts give an added element and the Rated Rookies brings a nostalgic feeling back to trading cards. Grade: B-

- Photography: Photography is such an important element of trading cards that it really needs it's own category. I'm generally impressed with the quality of photography in most of Panini's products, and that stands true with Donruss. There are tons of different stances and action shots. The team checklist cards are diverse and feature on court as well as traditional team photos. There are cards with just a single player featured, and also ones with multiple defenders in the background. Thanks to great photography, no card looks alike. Grade: A

- Fun Factor: How much fun a box of cards is to open is really one of those subjective categories. I've opened many boxes and packs over the years and always enjoy the process. This is the third box of cards I've been able to open of Panini product in the past year, and I can say that this was the most fun. The bottom line is there is so much going on from die cuts and hits, to the Rated Rookies and Press Proofs. I felt like there was something noteworthy from all 24 packs. That spells fun to me. Grade: A-

John Wall Rated Rookie
- Value: The first few auctions are just now starting to conclude on eBay. I did a quick check of the completed auctions thus far and it looks like the product is doing very well in some areas, but struggling in others. That's to be expected in the hobby. As for this box, the value is there. The Rated Rookie cards are selling very well, particularly since you get so many per box. That means collectors want 'em. I know the John Wall base RC is selling for right around $4.00 - $8.00. Many of the other RC's are selling for $2.00-$6.00. Those are pretty solid numbers considering there are so many RC's in a box that costs around $65.00.

The true worth of the box won't be known until I see what the hits are selling for on eBay. The big card I pulled from the box is a DeMarcus Cousins Rated Rookie #'d 285/299. There are no completed auctions yet, but there are two BIN auctions currently on eBay. One for $50.00 and another for $125.00. I think the $125.00 number is pretty high since that's what the John Wall RC Auto is selling for.

Considering the price of John Wall cards and other RC's, the value is there at $65/box. Especially if you factor in trade values for the base and insert cards. Grade: B+ (Note: Value grade could go up depending on the results of completed auctions for the DeMarcus Cousins RC Auto)

- Hits: Anytime a highly sought after auto is pulled of a rookie, you know you've got a good box. That's the case here. The DeMarcus Cousins auto is really a very nice hit. As previously mentioned in the Card Design category, the sticker auto isn't as nice as an on-card, but it's still an exciting pull. The Production Line jersey cards also look great. One of my biggest issues with Panini is jersey/swatch placement. Cutting off a players torso or legs to fit a piece of jersey makes for an ugly card. As you can see from the image below, Panini did a great job in placing the jersey and featured players on these cards. They also used the team colors on these cards which really do make a difference. I pulled three hits of three NBA stars. Aside from the sticker auto issue and maybe a plain white jersey swatch on the Gasol card, you can't ask for much more. Grade: B

- Overall: For most collectors, this hobby is all about fun. With that said, Panini delivered with Donruss Basketball. I'm no teacher, but I am a former college prof and can add these scores up. Grade: B+

            Pau Gasol Production Line Jersey             DeMarcus Cousins Rated Rookie Auto            Tyreke Evans Production Line Jersey

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Poll: Would You Rather Have Vince Young As Your Teams Starting QB Next Season?

So it looks like Vince Young will be available for your NFL team to pick up this off-season. There's no questioning the former 3rd overall pick's physical talent. However, it seems the Tennessee Titans are not happy with the quarterbacks maturity and professional development.

I get that Young is a dynamic 27 year old football player, but I do not want him as the starting quarterback of my Bills. That's actually really saying a lot with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm in Buffalo. Not that there really is any chatter about Young coming to the Bills. Ultimately, I think Young will end up in Arizona or Miami. Both make some sense as physical talent/potential typically win out with pro GM's (accept with teams like the Patriots). They just draft and sign smart, professional football players and keep on winning.

So that's my take. I'm voting "No" in this one. What's your vote?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So Which Is Cooler, The Face Paint or Auto?

Here's a collection oldie, but goodie. This is an auto'd Ray Bentley card my dad got me way back in the day. Bentley was a Bills linebacker from 1986-91 during the first couple Super Bowls. Since his retirement, Ray has enjoyed a successful career as a television announcer for Fox and ESPN. Taking a look at that scary looking face paint, Bentley surprisingly has also penned a number of children's books. As playing pro football, being a football announcer and children's author wasn't enough, Bentley also rocked a solid mullet to go along with a modest fu manchu mustache.

So which part of this card is cooler, the black face paint or auto? For me, the coolest part of this card is that my dad got it for me. Because of that, I'm going to have to abstain from the question. I'll just say that the huge signature is pretty cool and the face paint connected to the fu manchu is also pretty killer. One things for sure, I'm happy to have this card in my collection.

Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Legend of the "Croatian Mozart"

1993 Upper Deck Petrovic Game Faces
So I'm feeling a little under the weather today, but in the spirit of posting, I've decided to repost one of my favorite posts from several months ago. If you haven't read this post or don't remember it, enjoy. I'll hopefully be back with a new post tomorrow.

With the FIBA World Championships currently going on in Istanbul, Turkey, I think it only fitting to bring an international flair to Hoopography today. One of my all-time favorite and internationally beloved players to ever step on a court is Drazen Petrovic. Born in Sibenic, Croatia, Petrovic had a brilliant basketball career in both Europe and the NBA. Petrovic was given the nickname "Croatian Mozart" because of his knack of turning basketball into an art form, but Petrovic's obsession and intensity was also duly noted by the games greats. Michael Jordan said of Petrovic, " It was a thrill to play against Drazen. Every time we competed, he came with an aggressive attitude. He came at me as hard as I came at him. So, we've had some great battles in the past and unfortunately, they were short battles".

Drazen led numerous Euro clubs to FIBA Euro Championships, his national team to international prominence and the NJ nets to the playoffs. Yes, the NJ Nets to the NBA Playoffs. If you're not old enough to remember Petrovic, you know he must have been spectacular to accomplish a feat like that. The truth is however, we didn't get long enough to truly witness his greatness. He spent four seasons in the NBA. A season and a half was spent as a reserve on the Portland Trailblazers from '90 - '91. The '92 and '93 seasons were spent as the leader of a young, but talented NJ Nets team. While with the Nets, Petrovic averaged 20.6 points, 1.3 steals and 3.1 assists/game in '92 and 22.3 points, 1.3 steals and 3.5 assists/game in '93. He also was named to the All-NBA 3rd Team in 1993.

Sadly, Petrovic's stellar 1993 campaign was his last. He passed away on June 7th, 1993, as a passenger in an automobile accident. He and a two others were traveling back to Croatia from a European basketball tournament. While driving on the German Autobahn, the VW Golf Petrovic and two others were traveling in hit a truck that lost control from the oncoming lane. Visibility and vehicle control were limited due to rain. Petrovic was 28 years old.

Drazen Petrovic is not a player that you collect autographed or shiny 90's inserts of. His time and legend predate that era in card collecting history. Simply, you collect the memories that you can find on cards like the '93 Upper Deck Game Faces card pictured in this post or the 80's and 90's Panini Euro stickers. I collect many players and sets, but Petrovic cards and stickers are high on that list.

I'm a New York Knicks fan today, I followed Michael Jordan through his rarefied air in the 90's, but I've always had an affinity in my heart for Drazen and Croatian/Yugoslavian basketball. As younger fans today learn the game Petrovic loved so much, and its history, they will hopefully hear the name and legend of the "Croatian Mozart".

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hoopography 2010 Product Year In Review

When doing a 2010 year in review of the trading card hobby, I don't think the name Stephen Strasburg can be mentioned quickly enough. The rookie phenom took the industry over this past summer. That's why I'll take all the suspense out of my pick for card of the year. It's really pretty simple. Take your pick of any of the highly sought after flamethrower's RC's. For me, the Bowman BP1 Strasburg RC is the card of the year. The Bowman Superfractor was easily the most hyped card in the hobby. I think ever blogger wrote about it and it even caught quite a bit of national media coverage. However, most collectors can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on one card. No matter how great the card or player is on it. That's why the Bowman base RC takes card of the year in the entire hobby for me. This card allowed every collector to get in on the fun and hype of Strasburg mania. Today, that card is selling for just under $10, which is further proof of the excitement the talented pitcher has and continues to create even after going under the knife for Tommy John surgery. Without question, 2010 was the year of Strasburg.

So with the Card of the Year suspense over with, it's time to get to the best of the rest. I wanted to do an entire review to include all four of the major North American sports, but I quickly realized that would have taken forever, and I don't work for a price guide or any company in the industry. So I'm sticking with my first hobby love of hoops cards. However, if a company does want my employment, i'll be happy to get paid for researching and providing my knowledgable opinion on the hobby.

I should also mention that every card image has been provided by various media releases I received via email, Facebook or company websites. That means that any product I highlight in this post that I did not get a media image for I was not able to get a corresponding image for. So hopefully you'll remember the designs of these products.

Finally, this is a 2010 product review as seen through my eyes. That means you may or may not agree with my selections, reasoning's and opinions. The cool part about this whole blog thing is that you get to voice your opinions in the comments section of the post. One of the reasons I started Hoopography was to get feed back from fellow collectors and hobby enthusiasts. So feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the 2010 product lineup and this review.

- Biggest Bang For Your Buck (Hobby Box): So we all know how it works. A product goes live for the suggested retail price and a month later it's two-thirds the price. That means patient collectors can get some pretty nice bargains. Without question, the biggest bang for collectors is Panini's Hall of Fame product. Show me another product that gives you two autographed and one memorabilia card of only Hall of Fame basketball players for $50 a box. You can't. I know these boxes started at around $85/box, but you can bust one open now for just under $50.

In addition to a nice hobby box price and HOF players, all the auto's are on-card! Finally, Panini highlighted the '92 Olympic Dream Team with base, memorabilia and auto'd cards. These Dream Team cards are easily some of the best cards of the year. With everything this product has to offer, it's a definant good bang for you buck.

Panini scored big again for budget mined collectors with it's Classics product, and for me, it earns an honorable mention in the … Bang For You Buck Category.

The two biggest draws to this product is plenty of nice looking RC's and on-card auto's. The on-card auto's included highly desirable rookies such as Blake Griffin and Tyreke Evans as well as legends like Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy and Chris Mullin.

In addition to the auto's, jersey cards and relatively reasonable box price, the photography across the entire product is superb. With 18 packs, four auto'd or memorabilia cards and the multitude of RC's this product offers for a reasonable $60 - $85, Panini Classics is a winner.

- Best Base Card Design: So lets face it, UD's last basketball installment of their extremely successful Exquisite line could probably take just about every category up for review. Since this was going to be the last installment of Exquisite basketball, UD didn't hold back. There are even Rookie Edition auto's of legends from other sports like Tiger Woods, Mario Lemieux and John Elway. This is truly a product that will stand the test of time. It will also show up again later on in the review.

Just as the auto'd and jersey cards are exquisite, so to are the base cards. This a design that has really been around for a few years, but it still holds up and looked great in 2010. Most of the base cards feature a closeup action shot and are serial numbered to 199. It's also nice to get a base card on some pretty thick card stock. It's almost not fair to call these base cards.

Panini's Crown Royale product harkened back to the mid 90's for it's die cut crown design and for good reason. That design worked back then and still works today.

Die cuts and metal foiling/etching almost always looks good. Unfortunately, it seems like Panini doesn't share those same sentiments, but the design team at Panini thought out of the box for Crown Royale. I also like the patterned backgrounds on these cards. Very cool. There's nothing else like it out there today and certainly deserves a mention for best base card design.

- Auto'd Sub/Insert Set of the Year: So what collector doesn't like auto'd cards? It's an opportunity to get as close to our favorite athletes as most of us ever will get. These cards are also driving the hobby today. That means it's important for companies to produce some really great auto'd cards and aside form some pretty awful sticker auto'd cards, companies really came through.

In the interest of saving some time for both me and you the reader, I think these cards can really speak for themselves. Here are some of the best auto'd sets from 2010:

             Panini HOF Dream Team Auto's                Panini Crown Royale Majestic Signatures              Panini Prestige Old School Auto's
            UD Exquisite Rookie Autographs               Panini National Treasures Rookie Auto's       Panini National Treasures Notable Nicknames

- Biggest Disappointment: Upper Deck had some very good products like the above mentioned Exquisite, but it also had its share of flops like Greats of the Game. This was a good idea, but poor execution, between the black and white background on many of the cards and sticker auto's, this product just didn't get collectors excited. The card design just seemed too flat. If UD plans on releasing this line in 2011 it needs a total redesign and new approach.

Panini put some pretty solid products out last year, but National Treasure was supposed to be the cream of the crop. Although there are some A+ cards such as the Rookie auto's and Notable Nicknames, National Treasure was a bit disappointing (especially when factoring in the $400 price tag). The main problems were sticker auto's and a lack luster base card design. I certainly can't say that NT was a bad product or even average. Actually, it's a very nice looking product with some value and superb RC's. However, at $400 a box I'm looking for an A+, not a B. Panini's Absolute Memorabilia also deserves a loud shout out in this category.

- Most Fun To Bust Open: I had the pleasure of busting open a number of boxes and packs this year at several different price points. I was able to pull a Timeless Treasures LeBron James Prime 3 colored Patch card that was numbered to only 25. I also pulled a few auto's and jersey cards out of Panini Court Kings, but my favorite product to open was a tie between Panini Threads and Panini Prestige. For a relatively decent price, I was able to open a number of packs for both products. I pulled a jersey card or two, but the different amount of parallels and inserts are what made these two products fun to open. They certainly didn't product and future house down payment type cards, but were enjoyable.

- Product of the Year: Is there really any question to what the product of the year in the basketball trading card industry was? It's Upper Deck's Exquisite basketball collection. Sure, I can't afford to buy a box of the stuff, but that doesn't mean it isn't the best. The base cards look great. The base RC's are highly sought after and you can get a beautiful Jordan or LeBron auto that is sure to be the gem in most collectors' collections. UD sure went out with a bang on it's last officially licenced NBA product.

- Card of the Year: The Card of the Year category is like the the Academy Award for best actor category. I saved the best for last. Unfortunately, I couldn't decide on just one. Could you?
                               UD Exquisite Tiger Woods/LeBron James 2/4 Exclusive                      UD Exquisite Blake Griffin Rookie Base Card

        Panini National Treasures Blake Griffin Rookie Auto                                                  Panini Court Kings Le Cinque Piu Belle Auto

So that's the Hoopography 2010 Product Year in Review. It was a pretty good year across the hobby. Panini had a good showing during their inaugural year with an NBA licence and hopefully will improve upon that start in 2011. Between the good, the bad and the ugly, what do you think of 2010?