Panini America, the NBA's exclusive trading card and sticker partner, has signed Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin to an exclusive multi-year agreement.
Griffin joins a growing roster of exclusive athletes that are part of the Panini family, including five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick of the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Panini originally signed Griffin to an exclusive rookie deal for the 2009-10 season when Griffin was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, but Griffin's season ended early due to injury.
Griffin competed on the 2011 NBA All-Star Team, the first rookie All-Star voted to the game by coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998. He also took first prize in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
"Panini America will forever hold a special place for me because it's the company that helped make a dream come true by producing my first NBA trading cards," Griffin said. "The opportunity to join the Panini family and work with a company that is at the forefront of innovation and has reinvigorated the trading card category is special."
As part of the exclusive multi-year agreement, Griffin's autographs and memorabilia will be found only in Panini products. He also will be featured on Panini products and packaging, as well as in Panini's national advertising, marketing and social media initiatives.
Griffin and his Panini America teammates will be the faces of the company's new Panini Authentic memorabilia division (www.paniniauthentic.com) that launches next month.
In addition, all four exclusive Panini athletes will be highlighted in Panini HRX, new video trading cards that have been in development for the last 18 months.
One of the most talked-about talents in the NBA this season with slam dunks routinely featured in national highlights, Griffin also has had success away from the court, igniting the trading card world and becoming a favorite of collectors. His Panini-produced Rookie Cards from the 2009-10 National Treasures basketball set have sold for as much as $4,000 this season. Scarcer copies of the card have fetched as much as $7,000.
"Blake has captured the imagination of millions of people across the world this season – fans and non-fans alike – and we saw him as a must-have player," said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. "His unique blend of athleticism, power and tenacity make him an unparalleled talent on the court. "
Panini America became the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009-10 season.