Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A National Hero

An impressive collection of basketball cards sent my way included my new most prized possession.

Jon of longtime website Community Gum was lucky enough to hit up the National this year, something I've scarcely even dreamed of doing. I'm more of a small potatoes card show kind of guy, but I nearly (nearly!) fell out of my chair when he reached out to me to ask if there's anything he should look for that I might be interested in. This is just part one of a multi-part post as I don't feel like writing about baseball tonight for some strange reason, so we'll just be looking at hoopsters here.

Upper Deck has carried on the Fleer line long past its expiration date in its basketball product, as it recycles old designs to show players in their college uniforms as Fleer Retro. It's a weird concept. Obviously, I'd be more interested in these sets if Upper Deck had an NBA license, but there's always room in my collection for The Glide as a Houston Cougar or Houston Rocket. This EX throwback uses a clear acetate meets die cut style that Upper Deck shouldn't be able to afford to manufacture at this point. Are they out of business yet?

These crazy Bread for Energy/Bread for Health inserts feature some Blazers of (recent) yore. I deduced that these were from the 2011-12 Panini Past & Present set by seeing this very set on Jon's want list, so he must have had some extras. Felton and Crawford came from a much loathed Blazers team, with Felton arriving to join the team for the first time completely out of shape and Crawford accused of quitting on the team midseason when it became clear that the playoffs were out of reach. I'm not sure who the guy on the far right is, but sources indicate that he's banned from the blog for the foreseeable future. (These still go in the Blazers binder, of course.)

Wesley Matthews was my favorite Blazers player, so last season I finally went out and did what any adult person should do with their disposable income: throw it away on a replica jersey of said player. Wes promptly went out and blew out his Achilles, sealing his team's fate for the season and threw a rolling chain of events his own fate with the team. Matthews supposedly wasn't tendered any kind of contract offer in the offseason as a result of some serious roster shakeup thanks to... (sigh)... moving on. Anyway, I'll be following Matthews' post-Blazers career closely and wish him the best. He will probably be added to my player collections at some point.

Congratulations! What did I win? A... draft pick redemption!

It's a, um, hmm... non-auto as the notes say? I'm guessing there's a story behind this one. Maybe Jon can explain it to me someday.

It's a nice looking card, at least. Leonard is one of the few Blazers that remain from the roster that made the playoffs the last two seasons and he figures to get a larger role in the offense and the much larger leap in playing time that comes with it.

Cool, Panini! Thanks for the "autograph"! (Actually, Panini should be apologizing to Jon, unless it's Meyers himself that is the culprit? I don't know how these things work.)

Here's the kicker - I felt really silly for even requesting this, but the only thing that came to mind when Jon mentioned the National was for him to look out for a good deal on a Clyde Drexler rookie. I have a weird history with Fleer's inaugural NBA set that I don't really feel like getting into at the moment. (Maybe I'll save that for a round of Late Night Blog Confessional?) In any case, I've never owned a rookie card of my all-time favorite basketball player and now I do. And it's in perfect shape! (I couldn't even bear to remove it from the top loader to scan it.) Not that condition matters all that much to me, but I was floored when I saw this card. I am forever in debt to Jon for tracking this down for me and will be keeping his want lists close at hand during my future wheelings, dealings and card show shopping. Even decades removed from Clyde's departure from Portland, his stuff (and all things Blazers) come at a bit of a premium around here, so I've always been hesitant to pull the trigger on one of these.

Thanks again to Jon!


  1. Nice additions to the Blazers collection especially the Glide Rookie

  2. Really happy I could find that at the last minute for you. I thought for sure I was going to strike out. Everyone I asked said they had one but it sold until that last day.

    So, I bought a case of Past & Present to chase my master set (did terribly on that) and those are some of the wares. That year had a double rookie redemption class. I don't know the details, but I think a labor dispute meant they couldn't make the cards for the product, so they had redemptions made up for both years. One year were all intended to be non-autos (like that one - I think because the draft hadn't happened yet) and the other year were autos only (Kyrie Irving possible). Then after release, there was a fake lottery to determine what code went with which player. I say fake, because the codes are in a very suspicious order and not very random at all. In my case, the best I did with the rookie autos was Klay Thompson (which was not good at the time). Should have sold it during the Championship run.


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