His career ended 4 seasons ago with 32,292 points, 2514 steals, 5633 assists and 6672 rebounds. But next to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, he’s still the most marketable player in basketball cards. 20 years ago, the first Michael Jordan rookie card hit the market and one card company is toasting it’s kingpin.
The first promotion is “The Hunt for 23”, a contest in conjunction with next week’s launch of Upper Deck’s UD 2006/07 Basketball card series. Kids 17 and under can collect the cards of current players who have an association to the number 23 – be it an outstanding statistic, date of birth or an on-court connection – and register those cards online at www.fleerkids.com.
As the season goes on, more cards from all of the basketball sets will become eligible for redemption as the products launch. Points will be assigned to each card, with monthly prizes awarded. The grand prize for “The Hunt for 23” is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Michael Jordan Flight School, a highly-regarded annual summer basketball camp for youngsters, run by Jordan and his "team" of coaches.
Upper Deck’s second tie-back to the anniversary is the handful of Jordan-related inserts in its latest basketball offering, Fleer Basketball ($2.99 a pack). The Jordan-related cards include autographed ‘buy-back’ rookie cards from the 1986/87 season, as well as cards featuring top-10 Michael Jordan moments, 2006/07 NBA rookies who will recreate Jordan’s famous rookie card pose, and rookies from the NBA and NFL holding the Jordan rookie cards, telling fans what His Airness means to them. The ‘buy back’ cards were previously released in the original 1986/87 Fleer Basketball set and were recently purchased by Upper Deck and then signed by the athletes to add additional value to the product.
“Michael has been a big part of Upper Deck’s success for nearly two decades,” said basketball product marketing manager Chris Hunt, noting that Jordan has been a company’s spokesmen for more than a decade. “With this launch, we’re excited to again work with Michael, creating never-before-seen products and promotions that give a new generation of fans insight into his worldwide impact on basketball and on all of sports. We’re especially excited to offer, for the first time, an autographed Fleer Jordan rookie card.”
A little Jordan trivia: Unlike many athletes who limp to the finish line, Jordan played in all 82 games for the Washington Wizards in his final season, 2002-03, averaging 20 points per game. His career average was 30.1.