Next up is 2006-07 Topps Basketball. I don’t think that I had seen any cards from this set before breaking open this box. It’s not a spectacular design, but it is growing on me. It bears some slight similarities to this year’s O-Pee-Chee baseball set except the info isn’t all at the bottom and the area with the name is a little larger. The Chrome versions of these cards are better looking due to the fact that the giant area of foil surrounding the name has been replaced with a nice team color. These cards actually scan better than they look. The foil ruins the cards in real life.
As a Celtics fan, this box was a lot of fun to break. You’ve got rookie cards of Rajon Rondo and Leon Powe (who looks to be a former Celtic at this point, but could re-sign with the team once healthy) along with such memorable names as Allan Ray (strike that, reverse it and you’ve got an NBA Championship) and Kevin Pittsnogle. This set also focused on Celtics Legend Larry Bird and if you are a fan then this set doesn’t disappoint.
I’m not going to post pictures of the parallels. Strangely, I got just one gold parallel which is numbered to 500 (Andre Iguodala) and two black parallels numbered to 99 (Danny Granger and Denham Brown).
In traditional Topps fashion, there are a ton of insert sets. Most of them are fun and they’re all loaded with stars. Here’s Marcus Camby from the Own the Game insert set which is a Topps staple. These cards highlight league leaders. I pulled 4th and 5th in assists (Billups and J-Kidd) and the top 4 in blocks (Camby, Kirilenko, Mourning and Josh Smith). They run in order and getting the top 5 scorers in one box would be nice.
Both Tim Duncan and David Robinson have been players that I’ve enjoyed watching play. I enjoy big men with finesse a lot more than guys like Shaq who just lower a shoulder and knock guys out of the way to score. I could sit all day and watch guys like Duncan, Garnett, etc. who score off of the glass, use the hook shot and are smart players.
This Duncan is from the Hobby Masters insert set. These cards talk about why these players are popular with collectors. Again, these ran in order and I got 5 – 9 (McGrady, D-Wade, Vinsanity, Duncan and Garnett).
Next up is Chauncey Billups from the Clutch City Stars set. These cards are of players who played in the 2006 All-Star Game in Houston. I guess being popular with the fans makes you clutch. I won’t go off on a rant about my thoughts on fan based All-Star voting right now. These ran in order as well. I got numbers 10-14 who were Rip Hamilton, Arenas, Billups, Kobe and Nash.
They also play a rookie/sophomore game during All-Star weekend and these cards highlight those players. I only got 4 of these and something went terribly wrong at the Topps factory because they weren’t all consecutive. I pulled 4, 5, 17 and 18. That would be Danny Granger, Chris Paul (pictured), Andres Nocioni and former Celtic Delonte West.
These Pride of the Program cards are kind of strange. None of the trios on these cards are all that impressive. Dwayne Wade, Shaq and… Antoine Walker? I loved Walker when he was in Boston, but he was a cry baby and a hugely bad influence on Paul Pierce. Look at how much Pierce has changed on his own and then playing with Garnett and Allen.
They could do this set now, limit it to 4 – 6 teams such as the Celtics, Cavs, Lakers and Orlando who actually have three legitimate stars.
Every now and then, video game related cards will pop up in products. The first that I remember were the EA cards in NBA Hoops back in the 90s. This was when Sega Genesis ruled supreme and tons of people played hockey video games whether or not they actually watched the real sport. Madden wasn’t all that great back then, but the NHL games were great even being immortalized in Kevin Smith’s classic Mallrats.
This card features virtual LeBron James and has a code for NBA 2K7 on the back. These days, video games and exclusivity are as ridiculous as baseball cards. EA got exclusive rights to football and a few other sports so now if you want to play a better game made by another company, you have to do so with retired or fake players. I also pulled Dwight Howard from this set.
For those who don’t know, Topps stopped making basketball cards for most of the 80s. For most of that time, Fleer was the only game in town and many superstars only had Fleer rookie cards.
Topps has played the “what if” card a few times with various basketball sets. In 1992-93, Topps released Topps Archives Basketball. Unlike their baseball counterpart, this was not a reprint set. This set used the baseball designs from each year to show what various rookie cards may have looked like if Topps were producing cards back then. It was a fun set and a favorite of scammer trying to sell cheap cards for higher prices as “rookie” cards. Topps has also revisited this idea with Bill Russell and Larry Bird. They’re fun cards and are nice inserts. I put together the Russell set and will be tracking down the other 8 Birds that I need for this set.
Finally, Topps also did something to honor Larry Bird in the base set. Similar to the 20 different Ken Griffey Jr. cards in 2009 Upper Deck series 2, Topps produced 33 different Larry Bird cards which were numbered 33. Unlike the Griffey cards whose backs reflect the year pictured on the front, the Bird cards all have identical backs which makes it a little difficult keeping track of which ones you have and which you need. I’m going to try and track all of these down as well and have already picked up a few more with store credit that I had at CheckOutMyCards.com.
I don’t think I could have been happier with this box. Sure, I could have pulled an autograph or relic, but for $32 you don’t have to. I got a full set, but sadly no second Rondo rookie. I got one more Bird base card than I should have and best of all, each card only cost a whopping seven cents a piece. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about here.