During the 1992-93 basketball season, Topps released one of the most significant insert sets of the year, the era and of all time. The well received Series 2 Stadium Club product introduced the world to Stadium Club Beam Team.
The flagship Topps Basketball product from the same season had its own version of Beam Team, with cards featuring three NBA stars on the front of each card but they are not nearly as popular, significant or flashy as the Stadium Club upgrade.
Collectors opening packs might have thought they were being transported to the United Center with The Alan Parsons Project blaring in the speakers while watching the Chicago Bulls get introduced on their home court by the iconic voice of Ray Clay or they might have felt like they were in a club in the middle of a rave with the DJ’s music blaring from the speakers. Either way, these cards are loud and that is meant in the best possible 1990’s era way.
The Stadium Club Beam Team cards were the only insert in the entire product, dropped one in every 36 packs of Series 2 packs.
While many collectors might have been scratching their heads as to the significance of the Beam Team light show, there is legitimate reasoning behind the name. The Topps company sponsored a laser show called “Beams Above the Rim”, a video that debuted at the NBA All-Star Game that season and also made the rounds in a multi-city tour to help promote the NBA and its superstars.
The card design was most definitely eye-catching and revolutionary for its time. The cardboard showcased great in-action shots of the player with colorful foil laser beams shooting up, down and all around on each side of the card. The bottom of the card face featured a beamed up Topps Stadium Club logo, a black half circle and the player’s name in a white and red box within. The words Beam Team were scrolled in 3D text across the top of the card in a neon green color.
The card backs offer a black background with colorful beams shooting top to bottom on the left hand side. The Topps Stadium Club logo is in the upper left hand corner next to the card number and the neon green Beam Team text. Below there lies a small photo of player featured.
Some of the pictures are identical photos from the front of the card and some are not. To the right you will find the player’s name, position and team name. In the lower right hand corner of the card is a basketball with black text overlapping it detailing the players greatness and offering some key stats for their career.
The 21-card checklist is basically a who’s who of NBA stars of the time. The number one card in the set, not surprisingly, is Michael Jordan. The is a rookie year issue of Shaquille O’Neal. Red hot from the moment collectors laid eyes on it, it was seemingly unattainable at the time for a kid my age.
Between those two iconic bookmarks are Atlanta Hawks scoring and dunk machine Dominique Wilkins, Seattle Supersonics high flyer Shawn Kemp, the Robin to Jordan’s Batman in Scottie Pippen (the famous phrase ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ took on an entirely new meeting), all time assist leader Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton, the never dull Charles Barkley and many others.
Nine of the 12 members of the original 1992 Dream Team members are found in the set. More than half of the players featured are Basketball Hall of Famers.
The Beam Team set got the Members Only treatment as all 21 cards in the set have a Members Only parallel that was found exclusively in factory sets. The reported print run for the parallel was 10,000 copies. A very, very faint Members Only embossed logo is found on each of the parallel cards (see highlighted area below).
The staying power of the Beam Team brand is evident as the line continued for years to come in hoops and branched out to other sports. Beam Team can be found in Topps Basketball products from the 1992 season through the 1995 season. The line picks back up in the early 2000’s and runs off and on until 2008.
The value has held strong for the iconic players in the 1992-93 set such as Jordan and O’Neal while others can be found for a nominal price. Graded examples in the 9-10 range obviously bring premium prices. You can check current prices for 1992-93 Beam Team cards on eBay here.
Regardless of value, this landmark insert set stands the test of time as one of the best of its era and beyond.