Sunday, January 27, 2008

2005-06 Topps Basketball

This one's for Brian...

This is the first time in years I built a basketball set, but I would still pick up a pack or two a year when the baseball offerings got slim for old time's sake. Back in the day though, the NBA was my favorite sport. I'd go to at least 3 or 4 Hawks games a year and this is when 'Nique and Doc and Moses and Willis were roaming the court, not the current trainwreck of a franchise. I bought basketball cards back before they were cool and have several vintage Fleer sets to show for it now. Ever since Dominique got traded to the Clippers though, my interest in hoops has dwindled to almost nothing but for some damn reason I still got the urge to open a pack every so often. Then they usually end up just like this one, filed away still in the wrapper in a box full of other unappreciated basketball packs.

154 Rasheed Wallace
12 Cuttino Mobley
184 PJ Brown
165 Nick Collison
9 Rafer Alston
39 Mike Dunleavy Black parallel numbered 455/500 (1:19)
239 Hakim Warrick RC
55 Jason Kidd
199 Dikembe Mutombo
68 JR Smith
169 Josh Howard
124 Speedy Claxton
Checklist card

This set mystifies me. The wrapper is pitch black. Allen Iverson is the featured player, complete with tats, cornrows and a dark Sixers uniform. To top it off, the Topps logo itself is totally blinged out in so many diamonds Tom Shane had to make a second trip to Antwerp. Anyone seeing this pack on the shelf would immediately think this set is hard core. All Black borders, platinum foil stamping, relic cards of 50 cent's bloody gauze from the last time he got shot, this set has total street cred. Then you open the pack.

The best way I can think to describe the design of these cards is that it's like a pattern you'd see on a set of brightly colored tumblers you'd find in the outdoor/garden department at Target during a "Spring into Summer" sale. Kind of a wavy, bubbly, watery motif in bright colors on an extremely white background with shiny foil stars and a basketball floating in the upper right corner so you don't confuse this for a pack of invitations to a wedding shower. I think this is the first set to include celebrities in the base set, further adding an Entertainment Tonight feel to it. This is a really nice, pleasant looking set. That looks absolutely nothing like the wrapper it's in. I guess what I'm saying is this set is NWA Ice Cube on the outside and "Are We There Yet" Ice Cube on the inside.

The pack isn't too bad. Jason Kidd's not a bad pull. Rasheed's a good player and his stat line of one game with the Hawks amuses me. Speedy Claxton needs to be in Leavenworth for stealing cap space though. I've heard of most of the players in the pack which is saying something. The rookie is not one of them however, and I have no clue if he's still in the league to be honest. The Mike Dunleavy parallel card comes closest to the promise of the menacing wrapper as it is thick as about three regular cards and has a black border. Well, dark gray border at least. It looks like it was the pack searcher deterrent card for the set. I'll take a numbered parallel over a chunk of worthless cardboard every day of the week. I'm not sure why Topps is the only company out there that realizes that the thick cards inserted to fool people looking for jersey cards can actually be something useful. I do wish I hadn't looked over the checklist card though, now I really want a Jenny McCarthy or Carmen Electra card. I'm a big fan of their, erm, work in various periodicals.

1 comment:

Brian said...

wow. A whole post dedicated to little ole me. I feel honoured. Although this does NOT mean we're engaged, or even going steady. I'm not that cheap of a date.
But thanks for proving my point at least.... basketball cards.... yuck.