Upper Deck Launches First College Basketball Card Set

Upper Deck Greats of the Game Julius ErvingHot on the heels of Duke’s thrilling 61-59 triumph over Butler in Monday night’s NCAA championship game, Upper Deck has announced the release of its first collegiate-focused sports trading card set: 2010 Greats of the Game Basketball.

The set is the company’s first under its new deal with Collegiate Licensing Company and features only players in college uniforms.

“Our 2010 Greats of the Game Basketball release represents one of our most popular basketball brands from years past and now it’s making its return as a stand-alone product,” said Brandon Miller, Upper Deck’s CLC brand manager. “It is well positioned to thrill hoops fans with strong collegiate content featuring autographs from the likes of Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

The 200-card base set includes both college players and those who’ve gone directly to the pros from high school.

Big Man on Campus Bill RussellFour 25-card subsets include “Big Man on Campus” featuring names such as Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Danny Manning (Kansas) and Bill Laimbeer (Notre Dame); “Banner Season,” which celebrates winning campaigns posted by the likes of UNLV, Duke and UCLA; “Old School,” which pays tribute to college stars like Larry Bird (Indiana State), John Stockton (Gonzaga) and Bill Walton (UCLA); and “Glory Days,” a compilation of stellar moments coming from Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown), Derrick Rose (Memphis) and Calbert Cheaney (Indiana). Some of the players featured who made the leap to pro ball without ever attending college include Moses Malone, Vlade Divac and LeBron James.

Beyond the aforementioned base-level cards, Upper Deck’s Greats of the Game Basketball includes an insert card lineup.

One is entitled “Old School Swatches” (one per box, on average) and highlights players like George Gervin (Eastern Michigan) and David Robinson (Navy), while the autographed inserts boast varied numbering across an assortment of lineups including “Memorable Monikers,” “School Pride” and “Legends of the Hall.”

Autographed parallels of the regular base cards are also sprinkled in with one version numbered to 199 and the other numbered to 50.

Upper Deck Greats of the Game Magic Johnson“Fans and collectors have been asking for comprehensive collegiate trading card sets for a long time,” said David Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Non-Apparel Marketing for The Collegiate Licensing Company. “The team at Upper Deck has assembled this tremendous collection of many of the best players in college basketball history. The 2010 Greats of the Game set is the first collective project in our new partnership. The collegiate institutions and CLC are looking forward to working closely with Upper Deck to maximize the tremendous opportunities that exist for licensed collegiate trading cards.”

The product  includes eight cards per pack and there are 16 packs per box.  Singles and boxes (around $70) are already selling on eBay.