Thursday, January 27, 2022

At Last, Some New Hoops

Panini drops the first set of the new NBA season while we're already past the midway point. 
In the sports card world, it's hard to argue that the global pandemic has made anything more stupid and irritating than NBA cards. Availability was already starting to become an issue prior to 2020, but what I can only assume to be a mix of supply chain issues and general cruddiness pushed most of Panini's NBA release schedule for the 2020-21 season well beyond the end of the actual season. And now, well into January, we finally have the first cards of the current season.

I have to admit that I'm totally surprised that this is actually my favorite Hoops design in years. The design elements, like the team logo in the upper keft corner and the basketball court design on the bottom actually seem somewhat inspired. It could be that it's just been too long since I've seen new NBA cards with a regular photo background, but I'm really liking these.

I'm impressed with the back of the card even more, and that's saying a lot considering how Panini usually treats this stuff. While it's true that I wish the "previous season plus career totals" wasn't the default setting for Panini cards, there's more than enough going on with this to make up for it. I actually like the pixelated looking close-up photo (taken from the photo on the front, naturally.) And there's an interesting dotted three-point line going on in the bottom section. I don't even hate the weird slightly rotated rectangle in the middle, which reminds me a bit of the '90s without, well, being too '90s if that makes any sense.

Of course, I started this post talking about availability of these cards when I ended up having to go to desperate lengths (eBay breaks) to get these. As of this writing, blasters are just finally showing up online and are probably as difficult as ever to actually find in a store.

The prospects of the current Blazers season are pretty dismal at this point, but CJ McCollum is back with the team (until he gets traded, I guess?)

Of course, as exciting as it is to finally see new season basketball cards, there are loads of empty seats in the background of these shots. I did say I wanted to see real photos and not what Panini throws together in all of their other shinier sets, didn't I?

As this is the only rookie card I've had in hand so far, I'm not sure if they used this fake out of focus background style for all of the new guys or if there's more of a variety of looks. Still, considering that these are always going to be Media Day shots, it looks better than what's been done previously.

Derrick Jones Jr. is the only ex-Blazer on the current checklist, although both Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter (Freedom) appear in Blazers uniforms with their respective new team logos. I'll have to track down both of their cards somehow, since I won't be getting them in any breaks.

I have a history of basically never having Blazers players on my fantasy team. This is not an intentional thing, it's just the way things have worked out over the years. I did pick up Robert Covington off of the ol' waiver wire, however. He doesn't score a lot, but he has been picking up some stats in other more coveted categories for me (steals and blocks!)


  1. Both the Raptors rookie cards from my group break look the same, background-wise, as yours.

  2. I agree, I like those designs. Reminds me a but of 93-94 Upper Deck.

  3. I totally prefer seeing cards with fans and courts in the background. Without them we wouldn't get novelty cards like the Menendez brothers.

  4. I sure hope Hoops pops up in retail...and that the price isn't inflated.

    1. Blasters just hit eBay recently for what it's worth. I haven't seen any pop up on Target's website, though.

  5. I saw some of these at the store the other day. I didn't buy any, but hopefully they'll start showing up in the areas of the people who do want some sooner than later.


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