By Rich Klein
As we discussed in the Playoff Contenders Football Review, the Contenders brand is the second longest-running brand in the Panini product line.
The football brand may be the most anticipated product of the football line so collectors were looking forward to seeing what Panini would do with the basketball effort.
This product was released in late January and is currently “retailing” for $110-135 online.
Each box consists of 24 packs in a box with each pack containing five cards.
Panini notes on the box that each box should average one insert per pack and the box also says that each box should contain four autographs.
The base cards are designed in a very similar fashion to the football cards. The phrase ‘season ticket’ is printed on the left of the card with the player’s name next to it. His position, uniform number and pro experience comes next. Then the player’s photo and the team name and year take up the rest of the card. There is also a small version of the player’s photo on the upper right.
The back has the player’s name, team, another version of the front photo and then a brief note or two. The back concludes with 2008-09 home/away stats and 2008-09 seasonal stats.
We cracked open a box and here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 87 of 100 with no duplicates
Classic “Retired Greats” Base Cards: Isiah Thomas, John Havlicek
Award Contenders: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh
Draft Class: Al Horford, Mike Conley, Yi Jianlian
Draft Class Black (#D to 50): Yi Jianlian
Draft Tandems: Blake Griffin/Magic Johnson; Dan Majerle/Tim Hardaway
Legendary Contenders: Gheorghe Muresan (Seeing this card brought a big smile to me as Gheorghe is one of those players who brings back great memories when you see his face again); Jerry West and Rony Seikaly
Lottery Winners (key draft picks from past NBA lotteries): Shane Battier, Michael Beasley, Mike Bibby
One-Two Punch: Devin Harris/Rafer Alston; Chris Kaman/Marcus Camby; Lamar Odom/Pau Gasol
One-Two Punch Gold (#d to 100): Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen
Perennial Contenders: Vince Carter, Nate Robinson
Perennial Contenders Gold (#d to 100): Greg Oden
Rookie of the Year Contenders: Jordan Hill, Jonny Flynn
Round Numbers: Carlos Boozer/Paul Millsap; Blake Griffin/Kobe Bryant
Rookie Tickets (All Signed): Chase Budinger, Jrue Holliday, Eric Maynor and Tyler Hansbrough.
I counted 25 insert cards and there were four autographed rookie cards in our box.
He’s been hurt much of his rookie year, but Hansbrough’s great college career at North Carolina made the autographed card a nice pull.
I think Panini did another fine job delivering what the box says. We certainly did pull a lot of fun cards in this box.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]