Collectors of Panini America basketball cards have been out of luck when it comes to autographs of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. The last time he had signed cards in Panini packs was during his 2013 rookie season when the company made a deal with Leaf Trading Cards to get some items signed.
That’s about to change.
Panini announced Monday it had already gotten started on a multiyear exclusive agreement with Lillard’s representatives to get his autographs on trading cards and memorabilia.
Back in December of 2012, Lillard signed a lucrative and exclusive deal with Leaf. Now, he gets a new contract with the NBA’s trading card partner.
Lillard, whose autograph is–well, a little non-traditional–will have signed cards in Panini’s 2016-17 National Treasures product, which releases this week. Memorabilia items have already been signed and are being sold online through Panini Authentic, which also maintains exclusive relationships with NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Blake Griffin.
“I’m genuinely excited to be a part of the Panini-exclusive family with the elite players in the game,” Lillard said. “I look forward to working closely with Panini America to create some unique trading cards and memorabilia pieces for fans and collectors to appreciate. The partnership has been awesome so far, and it’s only going to get better.”
“Damian is absolutely one of the most popular and exciting players in the NBA today and his star is on the rise,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “He’s a bona fide superstar and a perfect fit to join the exclusive fraternity of Panini Authentic exclusive athletes. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him blossom since entering the NBA. Now we get the opportunity to work closely with him to the benefit of his countless fans and collectors.”