Saturday, April 14, 2012

Larry "Grandmama" Johnson In The Hoopography House: '11 Panini Notable Nicknames Auto

2011 Panini National Treasures
Notable Nicknames Larry Johnson Auto
One of my favorite new sets of the past couple years has been the Notable Nicknames cards from the 2010 and 2011 National Treasures releases. The check lists are fantastic, I love the designs and they are all on-card auto's. What more can a collector want? Well… I guess I would like it if they were a little cheaper on the secondary markets. Some of these cards sell for pretty big money (click here). Even still, I was able to snag this pretty awesome Larry "Grandmama" Johnson Notable Nickname for $30.00 shipped. That's a lot of money for me to spend on one card, but I'm really enjoying adding this treasure to my collection.
Converse TV Commercial Larry Johnson Mix

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Big Guy In The Middle: Marcell Dareus Ref Auto RC

2011 Bowman Chrome Auto/ Ref RC
I really don't know much about this card other than it features Marcell Dareus, who is a key cog in my Buffalo Bills' revamped defensive line, and that I love the look of the auto/ref. as with most refractors, the card looks better in hand. It almost looks like Mr. Dareus takes up the entire surface of the card. At 6'3'', 325 pounds, he is one big boy. I just became a Bills season ticket holder about two months ago in the Paul Maguire Club, so I can't wait to watch Mr. Dareus gobble up some quarterbacks next season.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shawn Kemp In The House: '94 UDA BlowUp Auto

Basketball fans can’t talk 90’s NBA basketball without mentioning the “Reign Man”. Shawn Kemp was a devastating 6 foot 10 inch athlete who could catch an ally-oop from fellow running mate Gary “The Glove” Payton better than anyone in the Association. In addition to his athleticism, Kemp also had the skill-set to work down low in the post. He averaged 14.6 points/game and 10.9 rebounds/game with a .488 field goal percentage during his NBA career. Those numbers are a bit skewed because of a few seasons when his averages dipped for a number of reasons including weight issues. It was reported that Kemp showed up to Cavaliers’ training camp weighing a hefty 275 lbs. during the ’99 lockout shortened NBA season. 275 lbs. might be generous.

I like to remember the Shawn Kemp that many referred to as “Man Child”. This was the player that no team had an defensive answer for during the mid 90’s. The player in this sweet 8 x 10 Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA) Team MVP Blowup Auto'd card. For all of Kemp’s natural abilities though, it would have been fun to watch how much better he would have been if he had only put more time into the game and himself. As it is, I'm still a fan and enjoy watching old clips of Kemp Reignin’ down on Seattle.

 As far as the newest edition to my collection goes, this UDA piece is easily the biggest card I own. It's pretty impressive in the lucite screw down case. I'm a huge fan of anything UDA and this auto's card with matching COA's is really great. Especially since I paid well under $25.00 for it. It will goes nice with the Kemp RC's that I have.

The ’91 Fleer RC features a great action shot of Kemp doing what he did best, dunking. This is my favorite Kemp RC out of the three. Just checkout that awesome blue and red trim around the photo of Kemp. Coupled with the yellow surrounding Kemp's name, this card is so bad it's actually cool. The card has a book value of only $1.50 due to the over abundance of the card. In fact, that is the case for all three of these cards. Trading card manufactures mass produced their sets and thus killed the value of their own products during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The ’91 NBAHOOPS RC has a fairly simple design. I can’t say it’s the best looking card ever made, but it’s a nice buy at around $1 on the secondary markets. Again, the card only has a book value of $1.50 like the ’91 Fleer RC.

The final Kemp RC is a ’91 SkyBox card. The ’91 SkyBox set is one of my all-time favorite sets. I actually like both the ’91 and ’92 SkyBox sets. They have some really funky early 90’s graphics and designs. The Kemp RC from the ’91 set has some of those funky graphics and is a good looking card. Nothing like some randomly colored lines going through the background of a card. Kinda like the always cool laser background used in 90’s school photos (you know the ones I'm talking about). This Kemp RC has a book value of $2.50, but typically sells for right around $.50 to $2.00.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sets I'm Currently Attempting To Assemble

Here are the sets I'm currently working to put together ('97 UD SPx Duo View Hockey is not shown as I do not have any cards in that set, but I am interested in building it!!!). If anyone has any cards in these sets and is interested in trading, let me know. I have a number of cards in each of these sets. I would like to complete a couple of these by the end of the summer. If you are interested in trading, send me an email to or leave a message on the Hoopography Facebook page. Thanks!

         '98 Metal Universe Titanium                                      '97 Upper Deck SPx Cornerstones

            '98 Ex Century Dunk N' Go N                                '98 Topps Finest Mystery Test Refractor

                          '08 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition Auto's                                         '97 Fleer Ultra Court Masters

                                   '97 Upper Deck SPx Holoview Heroes                                   '99 SPx Rookie Auto's

                                '96 Jam Session Showstoppers                                       '97 EX 2000 A Cut Above

                                                  '97 & '98 Big Man On Court                   '98 SPx Hardcourt Holoview (Football and Basketball)

                                                              '97 SPx Promotion                                                   '98 SPx ProMotion 

                                                             '98 SPx ProMotion                                                '97 SPx Cornerstones

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NY Yankees Pitcher Phil Hughes In The Hoopography House: 2007 Upper Deck Masterpeices RC Auto

2007 Upper Deck Masterpeices
Phil Hughes RC Auto
In my never-ending quest to add some New York Yankees auto's to my collection, I picked up this UD Masterpeices auto of Pinstripe's pitcher Phil Hughes off the Bay a few weeks ago. Hughes has had an up and down career thus far. Injuries last year derailed his development from a back of the rotation starting pitcher to a solid middle of the rotation starting pitcher. I am hopeful and encouraged that the once first-round pick can be a good pitcher in the bigs, if he can only stay healthy this year.

Like many collectors, I have always enjoyed these Upper Deck Masterpeices and Chronology cards. They look great and you've got to love the on-card auto's. This is a nice addition to my PC and will make the Yankees games that much more fun for me. Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Crack of the Bat".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Toni Kukoc In The Hoopography House: 2010 Upper Deck SP Sign Of The TimesAuto

2010 Toni Kukoc Upper Deck SP Sign of the Times Auto
Toni Kukoc had some great nicknames during his playing days overseas and in the NBA. From "The Pink Panther" to "The Croatian Sensation, he was a magician with the basketball and maestro on the court. An interracial cog in those Chicago Bulls teams of the mid 90's, Kukoc was one of my favorites to watch. I had been meaning to pickup an auto'd card of his for some time now. If I would have known Panini was going to make a Silhouette card of him in their Preferred release, I would have waited for that. As it is, I'm pretty happy with this Upper Deck Sign of the Times auto. I didn't break the bank on it and the red really pops. Not a bad addition to the ever growing collection.

Enjoy the rest of the Sweet 16 tonight and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Box Review: 2012 Panini Preferred Basketball

Panini's 2012 Preferred basketball went live last Tuesday as the second hoops release this years from the company. Panini is touting Preferred as a high-end product that combines previously successful designs like Crown Royale, Donruss Signatures, Panini's Choice (formerly Cramer's Choice) and my favorite Silhouettes. I checkout all the press releases for upcoming products months before they go live, and every once and a while I get excited for a product to come out just like I did with Preferred. Luckily for me, Panini was nice enough to send me a box for review. So a big thanks goes out to Panini and The Knight's Lance. Now for all the fun.

Each $200 box contains four individually wrapped cards. I know that four cards for $200 seems steep, but you can see the prices for singles on eBay justify that $200 price tag. Also important to note about these four card boxes is that each card is either an auto or jersey booklet. So every card is a hit. Here is everything else you need to know about Preferred:

  • - Every autograph will be limited to a print run of 99 or less
  • - Tons of on-card auto's
  • - The first Panini America autographs of new Clipper Chris Paul
  • 10 Autographed Crown Royale die-cuts will feature retired legends
  • - Three distinct autographed Rookie Card designs for each player — Silhouettes, Crown Royale Die  Cuts and Preferred: all limited to 99 or less
  • Next-level memorabilia cards showcasing never-before-seen player combinations on each booklet
You can see the cards I pulled in the box of Preferred I opened. The Walton is the gem for me. I love collecting cards of legends like Walton and it's a pretty limited at 04/15. The foiling on the Panini's Choice cards really shines and adds a level richness to the product. Also, the on-card auto's really pop off the cards against the white background where the signatures are located. The jersey booklet is nice as well. I love the themes of these booklet cards. You really can't go wrong with a Slam Dunk theme in a basketball trading card, especially when you have the likes of Dr. J, Dominique Wilkins, Blake Griffin and Larry Johnson featured. The only gripe I have with my box break is the Patrick Paterson. Admittedly, I don't collect Patterson, but my grip is less to do with the player and more to do with the design. Where it looks like the Panini team nailed it with every other card in this product, these preferred signatures just lack the effort or higher standard of the other lines in Preferred. It's almost like the Preferred Signatures don't even belong in the product. I know some of the cards are on-card autos for certain players like Kevin Durant, and maybe that would make a difference, but the Preferred Signatures just don't make the grade compared to an otherwise flawless product.

THE VERDICT: Aside from the Preferred Signatures, Panini hit a home run on this one, or should I say slam dunk. The Silhouettes and Panini's Choice are amazing. The on-card auto's are great and the list of current NBA superstars and legends is more than extensive. If you are a collector who is looking for hits, than this is the product for you. Let me know what you think.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Guess I Have Another Player To Collect: Welcome To Buffalo Super Mario Williams

Super Mario Williams at Press Conference
All of you who read the Hoopography blog know I have an infinite number of collecting interests. I have recently limited what I buy and collect to a number of insert sets like the late 90's SPs ProMotion sets in football, basketball, hockey and baseball and the '96 Jam Session Showstoppers 9 card set, but I am definitely going to have to pick up a card or two of my Buffalo Bills newest free agent signing. The Bills offered the biggest defensive free agent on the market the biggest contract for a defensive player in league history at over $100 million. I love the move as a season ticket holder. Trying to look at the move objectively, which is difficult considering the excitement, I hope the last two season ending injuries are a thing of the past.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

So What Do I Do With This Now?: '08 Bowman Chrome Jesus Montero Blue Refractor RC

2008 Bowman Chrome Jesus Montero RC Blue Refractor #'d /99
As an avid sports memorabilia collector and Yankees fan, I decided a few years back to start collecting a Yankees prospect. I wasn't sure who that prospect would be, so I did a bit of research. I talked to other collectors, I read all the MLB prospect ratings and decided on Jesus Montero. Yeah, I know… big surprise there. In truth, I wanted to collect Austin Jackson, but the Yanks traded him just before I could pick up any of his cards. That was a lucky break for me I guess, since we all know it's no fun collecting a guy for your favorite team who ends up getting traded the next year.

So you can imagine my dismay when I heard about Montero being traded a couple months back. I do think my pinstripes made the right baseball decision, but the front office brass obviously weren't keeping my trading card collection in mind when they made the trade.

So basically, I have a card that looks great. I love the blue refractors, but I'm not sure I'm going to hold on to the RC. The whole idea of buying this card for me was to follow Montero as he came up through the minors and contributed to the big club. I know Montero is still one of the hottest young bats in baseball and he could become a big star, but you may see this one in my Trade Bait Album sometime soon.

Happy Collecting and… "Enjoy The Smell of that Spring Training Grass". Actually, scratch that. Have you ever seen a baseball field after professional baseball players are through with it? Those folds are disgusting. Guys are spitting who know what every five seconds. Grounds keepers are throwing manure and pesticides everywhere. With all the half eaten sunflower seeds on the ground, you would think they were getting ready to produce sunflower oil. It's a mess out there. How about this…, "Enjoy Every Crack of the Bat".

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another 90's Insert Set: '93 TSC Beam Team Set

There certainly were insert sets before 1993, but it really wasn't until that year that inserts really exploded. Many companies only had one or maybe two insert sets per product in the late 80's and early 90's like Fleer with its Stickers sets ('87 - '90) and Upper Deck with its Award Winner Holograms ('92). However, as the trading card industry took off in the early 90's, so did the size and scope of its products. Companies started producing smaller sets to insert into base product packs to entice the influx of new consumers that were flooding the hobby and market. Also known as the "Golden Age" of trading cards, the 90's helped spur-on creativity and design in the hobby. As far as the basketball trading card hobby was concerned, a perfect storm was created to coincide with the insert revolution.

Not only were trading cards being designed at a higher level to bring in the "Golden Age", but the NBA was in the midst of an upswing of its own. Collectors wanted cards of players like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'neal. The sports card industry and NBA could not have been hotter, and one early 90's insert set captured the essence of all that excitement, new creativity in design and insert magic.

The '93 Topps Stadium Club product was a premium product that showcased superb photography and a high gloss surface. Sure laugh now, but take a look at a '91 Hoops card and you'll appreciate what Topps did with its '93 TSC release. To go along with its awesome 400 card base set, TSC also inserted a 21 card set into its series 2 boxes at a rate of 1:36. The TSC Beam Team insert set was truly a masterpiece of its time. The Beam Team set features the great photography found in the base set and combines it with the best stars from a hugely popular NBA and cool design. Some of the action shots Topps came up with for this set are really tremendous. Just look at the Dominique Wilkins card. Simply Awesome!

The list of players found in this set is really mind boggling. From Ewing, Robinson and Olajuwon to Barkley, Stockton and Rodman, this set has just about everyone in it. Unfortunately, two glaring omissions are that of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I know neither played during the '93 NBA season, but they are in the TSC base set. Otherwise, a checklist for an early 90's set doesn't get much better than this.

Many collectors jumped on this set because of the "Shaq' Attack" craze of the mid 90's and Jordan found in the set. The Jordan Beam Team is considered to be one of his "must have" cards for Jordan collectors. I've seen varying prices for this set, so be cautious if you're looking to build this one. There currently are a number of Buy Now sets up on eBay with exorbitant prices from $199 to $350. That is way too much for this set that has a book value of $120. Yes, in 1993 the set did sell for well over $300, but the calendar reads 2012 today. I've seen this set sell for around $75 on the lower end and $150ish on the high end. I stole mine at $55.00. The set is a nice buy if you can grab it for $100 (click here) or under as the Jordan and O'neal typically sell for around $35 and $40 respectively. The Jordan really is a $25 - $30 card, but we all know those 90's Jordan inserts can get crazy. It's not uncommon to see one of these go over the $50 mark.

I myself built the set the easy way and bought it completed about three years ago. I know that's like cheating, but I saved a lot on shipping charges by not having to pay $2-$3 each to have all 21 cards shipped from different sellers. The Jordan, Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins are certainly favorites of mine, but the Shaq' is where it's at for me. Easily one of my favorite cards in my collection from one of my favorite 90's sets.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's All In The Details

1998 Upper Deck SPx ProMotion Warrick Dunn (Front)
1998 Upper Deck SPx ProMotion Warrick Dunn (Back)
It's true what they say, "…it's all in the details". Check out this 1998 Upper Deck SPx ProMotion card of Warrick Dunn. The foiling, hologram and die cut details are nice, but look at the football helmet shaped Upper Deck hologram in the bottom right corner. If you look closely, you can even see an earhole. There was some definite thought put into the detail of this card.

The detail of these SPx ProMotion cards is why I am currently trying to put together four SPx insert sets from the late 90's that feature similar diecut and hologram designs. Here's a little more background on these Upper Deck SPx inserts I'm collecting.

As many of you know, I currently have what seems like a thousand collections going. I can't help it. There're just so many great cards, magazines, kicks and posters out there to collect. One of the first actions that got me back into the hobby several years back was the rediscovering of late 90's SPx inserts. Mainly, the '98 SPx Duo View hockey cards, '97 and '98 SPx Pro Motion basketball cards, the '97 SPx Cornerstones baseball cards and the '97 and '98 SPx Pro Motion football cards. With the exception of the '98 Pro Motion cards, these sets are all very similar featuring cool die cut designs and crystal clear holograms. Because of those design attributes, I've always liked them.

So far, I have a few cards in five out of the six SPx sets listed above. The first set I started building was the '97 SPx Pro Motion basketball set. In my humble opinion, it's highlighted by one of the best looking Michael Jordan cards in the hobby (click here). Ironically, that's the only card I need to complete that five card set. Even without the Jordan, I'm pretty excited to be 80% done with the set. Unfortunately, I'm not as far with the other five sets. I have a few cards in each set and am slowly building each set. I would like to complete two out of the six sets this year as they are my highest collecting priority.

If anyone has any SPx insert cards from the six sets I'm collecting, let me know. I'd love to get these collections jump started with a few trades. You can look at my want lists and trade album by clicking here. There are a few jersey and auto'd football, baseball and basketball cards in there now. I'm always open to trades with fellow bloggers as well as anyone who is a member of Collectors Card World and Sports Card Forum. Thanks for reading and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Friday, March 2, 2012

Do You Think Anyone Can Score 100 Points Again?

Wilt Chamberlin scores 100 points
In honor of Wilt The Stilt's 50th Anniversary 100 point game, I thought it only fitting to ask, "will anyone accomplish this feat again"? I don't believe any player in the Association will ever get to that magical 100 point plateau.

The talent is certainly there today. There are a small handful of players currently in the Association who I feel can score 100 points in a single NBA game, but I just don't think today's NBA will allow it. The game is just too complicated. Remember when David Robinson needed to score 71 points to win the NBA Scoring Title in 1994? His Spurs teammates were feeding him the ball left and right, and he still couldn't couldn't even come close. This is just one example to show how great of an accomplishment Chamberlin's feat was. Look at Kobe's attempt or Jordan's 63 agains the Celtics in '86 for additional support.

The bottom-line, this is a much different NBA with more complicated defenses and more talented players than the Chamberlin's 1962 NBA. What do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2012

2011 Panini National Treasures Chris Mullin Auto 10/25

2011 Panini National Treasures Chris Mullin Auto 10/25
I've got a few Chris Mullin cards in my collection that are worth a mention (click here), and this one is no different. I picked it up a few months ago and I'm pretty excited to show it off. The pic of Mullin is cool and the auto is as bright as it is big. For this collector, it doesn't get much better. Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

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

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

I know, I know. Everyone has their favorite Dunk Contest performances, but I really think these are the best five of all-time (not in any order): Jordan '88, Webb '86, Carter '00, Wilkins '88 and Richardson '03. So checkout the videos and get to ranking the best overall NBA Slam Dunk Contest performances. Make sure to take into consideration each dunk from all rounds. I hope everyone enjoys these dunktacular videos and of course "…Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

What's Your White Whale?

1997 Upper Deck SPx ProMotion Michael Jordan
I should preface this post by saying that I really have like 10 white whales, but this 1997 Upper Deck SPx ProMotion Michael Jordan is a card that I've been after for about 4 years. Ever since I saw it I new I wanted to build the entire set. Luckily for me, the set is only five cards and I have four out of the five. The bad part, the Jordan sells for over $100.

This card and design got me so excited way back when that I'm also building the sets from the other sports too (click here). I love 90's inserts from all sports, but this '97 SPx ProMotion Jordan is easily one of the best looking inserts from the era. I hope one day to complete the set and make Captain Ahab happy. So that's my white whale, what's yours?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Upper Deck The Cup In The Hoopography House: '10 Myers/Ennis Dual RC Auto

2010 Upper Deck The Cup
Tyler Ennis/Tyler Meyers Dual Auto 32/35

We all love our hometown teams, and I'm no different. As a Buffalo Sabres fan, I love collecting Sabres inserts/auto's of some of my favorite players like Dominic Hasek, Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis. Actually, Ennis is my favorite current Sabres player. He's having a down year this year, but he's an exciting young forward who I hope will be around Buffalo for a while.

The scan really doesn't do this card justice. The silver foiling doesn't show up in the scan as it does in hand. I also like that Upper Deck used a home and away jersey. Hopefully this card will be in my collection for a long time to come along with two of the Sabres youngest stars.

Athletes are often on a team one season and gone the next. Who are some of the younger players on some of your hometown teams that you would like to see stick around for a few seasons from any sport?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Card Reminds You Of Why You Are In The Hobby?

Gary Sheffield/Dwight Gooden '92 Upper Deck Score Board Dual Auto
We all have cards that remind us of our youth or fund memories. There are also cards that are just plan cool too. I love auto'd cards and this Sheffield/Gooden Dual Auto is no exception. It's not the rarest of auto'd cards out there at 1,992, but it definitely is cool. So no fund memory here… just coolness. I bought the card a couple months ago and it came with the COA from Score Board. I paid around $10.00 for this one, and I am happy with that. However, the prices do vary (click here and here).

Now to the coolness. I'm sure Mr. T himself would be envious of the bling around these guys' necks, and that's part of the fun of this card. I also like how Sheffield is sporting a basketball shirt for a trading card shoot. Again, it's all in the fun of this card. Between the card itself, the auto's and reasonable price, this card reminds me of why I'm in the hobby.

Are there any cards that remind you of why your a collector?