More than nine months after his death in a helicopter crash, basketball cards once signed by Kobe Bryant through his endorsement and autograph deal with Panini America could soon be on their way to collectors.
Panini said Tuesday it had completed a plan to accommodate collectors who held outstanding Bryant autograph redemptions. Some will receive the cards that were signed by the late Lakers superstar prior to the crash on January 26 while others will receive something else.
While Bryant hadn’t completed signing every card that was originally meant to be distributed inside Panini’s basketball card products, some were signed prior to his death and many of those will be honored.
“For those situations where live Bryant autographs are available, and beginning this week, Panini America will send Bryant autographs to waiting collectors with existing and active redemption cards in the system,” the company stated on its blog. “Best efforts will be made to honor the exact redemption, but unfortunately there will be instances in which comparable Bryant autographs will be sent instead.”
Panini didn’t state how many autographed Bryant cards were in its possession as of now.
Customers who have Bryant autograph redemptions in Panini’s system but won’t ultimately have them fulfilled because none remain, the company has created special six-card Kobe Bryant Redemption Packs incorporating five exclusive parallels with 2019-20 Mosaic Basketball set branding. Those packs will have current players including potential Zion Williamson and Ja Morant rookie cards and also feature exclusive Purple Snakeskin (numbered to 24), Purple & Gold Snakeskin (numbered to 20), Gold Snakeskin (numbered to eight) and Black Snakeskin (1/1) parallels.
The sixth card in these packs will be from a new commemorative 48-card Kobe Career Highlights subset (printed on Optichrome) honoring the top moments from his career. The Kobe Career Highlights set will feature a Purple base level (numbered to 24), a Purple & Gold parallel (numbered to 20), a Gold parallel (numbered to eight), a Black 1/1 parallel and a special Snakeskin Gold version numbered to 10.
Kobe Bryant Redemption Packs likely will begin shipping in early December.
Panini says collectors who entered Bryant autograph redemption cards into its system after their stated expiration date won’t get either a Bryant auto or one of the special packs but will be given half of current Beckett value in Panini Rewards points instead.