by Mike Fruitman
Sorry if I am messing up the usual offering of love for 2012 NFL products, but since we have seen the last licensed hurrahs from Panini and Topps, I figured I would share how well my store has been doing with 2012/13 NBA releases.
To my very pleasant surprise, we have been enjoying greater than expected success with this year’s basketball cards. My store is located about 20 minutes away from where the Denver Nuggets play and we are one of the many local stores that are reaping the benefits of the double rookie class.
11/12 brought the Nuggets Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried and the 12/13 draft added first founder Evan Fournier. Both followed very similar play patterns with very little action early on, but as the season progressed, they each were able to garner significant minutes for younger players on a deep team and develop a strong local following.
When the season’s first products hit, there was already great interest in Faried singles. His non-stop style of play had my customers wishing that Panini could have slipped him into 11/12 sets (check out this Gold Prizm autographed patch). Throw in how Upper Deck did not include him in their releases and we had that rare event of a star player not having a single card from his rookie season.
In addition to being a rebounding and dunking machine, Kenneth could not have been cooler when we hosted him for an in store appearance.
While Faried came into the league with a decent amount of fanfare from taking Morehead State deeper than most people thought in the 2011 NCAA tournament, Fournier was a bit more of a find, having only played in France. I need to tell you that I did not even know who he was when the Nuggets drafted him. With a few injuries and taking advantage of the few minutes afforded him, he was finally able to showcase his shooting skills late in the season.
All of their success has only fueled the interest in anything that offers their cards. This is the first year since 2009/10 that I have regretted not going deeper than just one case each of most Panini NBA releases. Collectors have slowly been warming to their products since they bought the NBA exclusive with autographs from Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. This year, Panini added Dwayne Wade and two years’ worth of rookie autographs to their already strong roster of retired legends like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and many more.
Two products, Panini Select stand out above the rest as collectors immediately warmed up to the closest things we have seen to Chrome in the NBA since 08/09. Heck, I wish I had gone WELL BEYOND the case of each I brought in and I have gone back into the restocking well for each of those, as well as Absolute, Marquee, Limited, Elite and even Prestige.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of our recent success with 12/13 releases would be the absence of autographs from eventual Rookie Of The Year Damien Lillard. Sadly collectors have had to relive what it was like when Topps and Upper Deck fought over who was going to appear as exclusives within their products in the not too distant past.
While I am not going to roll through ten plus cases of Prestige NBA like I did for its football brother, having these additional sales and seeing excitement for Panini releases only encourages me since 13/14 order forms will not be too far from landing.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here every week, focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. See his eBay listings here. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected]