Upper Deck will be going out of the hoops market with a bang. The company’s deal with LeBron James has netted some autographs with inscriptions for some of the company’s final basketball card products.
It’s been a busy seven months for LeBron James.
Last August he helped lead the U.S.A. Olympic “Redeem Team” to gold in Beijing. Currently he has the Cleveland Cavaliers sporting the best record in the NBA. James’ popularity is soaring all over the world and that won’t hurt Upper Deck as it launches some late-season basketball cards featuring James autographs with an added touch.
Upper Deck has announced that 2008-09 NBA UD Black (releasing April 14), 2008-09 NBA Radiance (releasing April 29) and 2008-09 NBA Ultimate Collection (releasing May 12) will include autographed cards, including some versions with rare inscriptions from LeBron like “08 USA Gold,” “08 Redeem Team,” and “King James.”
The cards will be among the final products produced by Upper Deck, with Panini taking over the NBA’s exclusive trading card license in time for next season.
The timing couldn’t be better for a company looking for a chase card promotion with some star power. Not yet 25 years old, James is having an MVP caliber year, averaging over 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game.
“To pull an autograph card of LeBron James from a pack is pretty awesome, but to find one with a special inscription is a much bigger deal,” said Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s hobby marketing manager. “These types of cards definitely carry a premium in the secondary card market. Inscriptions are a great way to help personalize the trading card experience and help to bring collectors closer to their heroes.”