Panini America has reached an exclusive multiyear extension with 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant for autographed trading cards and memorabilia. The agreement locks up the Memphis Grizzlies star with the league’s licensed trading card partner and keeps his autographed memorabilia rights away from other sports memorabilia companies.
Morant now has a larger than life presence in his adopted hometown of Memphis. Panini recently commissioned artist Jamond Bullock to create a huge mural that now adorns the side of the Downtown Memphis Slim & Husky’s pizza restaurant just one mile from the Fed-Ex Forum, where Morant plays his home games.
The artwork is inspired by Panini America’s popular “Color Blast” line of trading cards found in 2019-20 Spectra Basketball.
With collectors and investors bullish on their long-term prospects, Morant and New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson helped drive a huge boom in the trading card industry before and during their rookie seasons.
“During a spectacular rookie season, Ja quickly established himself as a bona fide star and captured the imagination of NBA fans and collectors across the globe,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “We were honored to partner with him last year but we’re even more excited about what lies ahead – not just for Ja on the court but also for our relationship. Ja represents an exciting and bright future for the NBA.”
Some of Morant’s final rookie cards were released as part of Panini’s Flawless basketball product that was released Wednesday. His autographed memorabilia will be available through the company’s Panini Authentic online store.
Memphis You Embraced Me From Day 1. So blessed to be a part of this City #GrindCity & to announce my exclusive partnership with @PaniniAmerica who would celebrate me like this. Go check it out! #GRZNXTGEN🏀 #whodoyoucollect pic.twitter.com/JtY3PIogYb
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) December 23, 2020