Saturday, April 14, 2018

It's (NBA) Playoff Time!

Basketball's second season commences. It must be repack time. 

By the slimmest of margins, the Portland Trail Blazers snagged the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, their highest seed in 18 years. Their won-loss record was not stellar, but they captured a division title on the regular season's final day, falling just shy of 50 wins. There are a ton of "good, but not necessarily great" teams in the league this year, especially in the West, which begins to explain how a sub-50 win Blazers team finds themselves in a favorable playoff position this year. They will face the New Orleans Pelicans, in what I feel is a favorable matchup considering that DeMarcus Cousins is injured and unavailable.

To celebrate the start of the playoffs (P.S. I have tickets to tonight's Pelicans/Blazers Game 1), I picked up a $5 repack box from our downtown Target location. These always contain 25% less cards than their baseball counterparts, which makes me question whether basketball cards in general are worth more than baseball (doesn't seem possible.) Some other factors must be at play here. However, we see this totally legitimate basketball player on the side of the Jumbo Box and know that we can only move forward. It's time to look at some basketball cards before we return to your regularly scheduled programming.

This is an impressive dunk by Marcus Camby in the original style Toronto Raptors jersey. They seemed like the first team to become self-aware when it came to basketball jersey designs.

Fleer was apparently on life support when Upper Deck took over the (former) Fleer brands. They probably could have done something more exciting with this Hot Prospects set.

This Dale Davis Stadium Club card just screams "promo photo" instead of "real life action". I only scanned this because Davis looks super awkward here.

This Dwight Howard card from the current Panini Prizm set was showing on the front of the box, which helped me to decide to grab this and not some other thing. Howard's card is a silver Prizm version. He also plays for the Hornets after a stint with the Rockets.

When I was really young, I once saw Mark Eaton play in some sort of exhibition/charity game at a local community center and thought he was the largest person on the planet, like an actual medieval giant.

Old-school James Edwards doesn't look terrible impressed with the tiny human trying to guard him. I don't usually let Lakers infect this blog, but this photo was too good to pass up.

I feel like the basketball repacks are kind of a cheat, because they can tend to include some college cards, like this Duke guy here.

Here's another Duke... er, Dukes guy.

Former Stanford chump Adam Keefe looks terrified for some reason.

So does Kurt Thomas!

Just showing off the old Vancouver Grizzlies jersey here.

Hey, it's a basketball!

I really like these longer cards, but I feel like the six-pocket pages to store them in were quite a rarity back in the '90s when these sets were being cranked out.

Theo Ratliff looks extremely uncomfortable in a suit here. I looked to see if Upper Deck did this to him because he was recently traded or something, but... nope.

Here's an early, pre-Blazers J.R. Rider card. Is that Danny Ainge down there? Hi, Danny.

This was the card I was happiest to get the most out of this box, as Ridnour is someone I ostensibly collect, being an Oregon alum. This also looks like someone let a kid wear an adult sized uniform.

John Starks' star burned brightly for the Knicks, but his run there was fairly brief. He bounced around a bit after leaving New York.

NBA Legend, I guess, Tim Hardaway.

I want to remember players for what they did on the court, and Hardway certainly had his stellar moments there. It's just hard to totally forget what kind of person he was revealed to be later in life.

I sneaked in another Laker here, because I was a fan of Nick the Quick back in his college days (no idea why, it's pretty random) and this is a nice looking card. Well, aside from the squished Nick in the lower left corner.

This is just a reminder that the Topps Archives concept has been around for quite awhile. When they got an NBA license again in 1992, they put out an interesting little set of players on would-be designs from their lost years, based off the baseball sets. It's not exactly the most collectible set in terms of value, but it's fun.


  1. Have fun at the game! Good luck to your Blazers. What a shock the Bulls didn't make it.
    I bet the basketball repacks have less because there is less junk wax flooding the market to use for padding, but it looks like you get a better variety as a result.

  2. Even as a Theo Ratliff collector, I think I'd be disappointed in that card. Brutal! On the flipside, that Blue Edwards card is exactly why I collect Muggsy Bogues. So many great shots of him D-ing someone up or going in for a high five/chest bump, and not realizing until the last moment, "Oh yeah... I'm 5'3"..."

  3. You got a lot more variety than I usually get with them. I don't think I've ever seen a Jam Session card come out of a repack, ever. And I've bought hundreds over the years. Finest and Metal are rare brands for me to see I repacks as well.

    Enjoy the game tonight! It's just coming on my TV as I type this.

  4. That James Edwards is fantastic. Lots of neat cards here.

    I haven't followed the NBA in about 15 years, so can you explain what Tim Hardaway did off the court, and is that why he's not in the Hall of Fame? I kinda figured he should be based on his career numbers (and lesser known players getting in) Then again maybe he wasn't as good on the court as I remember.

  5. Well, without getting into it too much, there’s a whole section of his Wikipedia page dedicated to it. But it sounds like he’s changed his tune, so there’s that.

  6. John Starks as a member of the Jazz? I don't remember that at all.


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