Review: 2012-13 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

Well yesterday we reviewed a product that was low end on the football side in 2012 Score football, and today we visit a low end product on the hardcourt with 2012-13 Panini NBA Hoops basketball. Hoops basketball has a long tradition in basketball trading cards and was recently brought back last season in the hopes to bring the name recognition back up to the forefront of basketball collectors. Well, it made it back for a second season and with a price tag of $2 per pack, it’s a low end product that everyone should be able to enjoy. Want to see what the cards look like and what we pulled? Well only after you read the review…

Design:

NBA Hoops features a classic looking design that features the classic NBA Hoops brand logo front and center. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of such product pimping, but it fits in pretty well in the design of these cards. The action photography is great in this product for the base cards, with several nice insert sets as well filling out the product. Even the Kobe Anthology packs had some sweet looking Kobe cards inside. All around, this is a well designed product and at $2 per pack, it’s a win-win situation. Often times, low end products look low end. This has a real classic look that makes putting a set together worth the time and effort.

Checklist:

First, what makes this better than last year is the fact that you WILL find 2012-13 rookies in this product. Also, the product goes back old school with the inclusion of NBA coach cards in the product. Those are two automatic wins right there. Including all the other stars, bench players, and some legends in the product and you have an all around juggernaut of a checklist. Oh, two autographs as well in a box and a mini set devoted to Kobe Bryant? This deserves more than the 5 stars it churned out. You get a set worthy of putting together, a subset of a living legend, and some hits on top of it. Duh, winning.

Value:

And the product keeps on winning when it comes to value. 2 autographs per box. $2 per pack. Some hard to find SPs. The first autographed trading cards of Kyrie Irving. Autographs from some of the top picks of this year’s DEEP NBA draft. Ladies and gentlemen, Panini showcases once again that it knows how to make a low end product and deliver it to the masses. I’d argue that the NBA Hoops line is the best low end product on the market currently, and I’m a pretty big fan of Score and it’s $1 a pack price point. If you collect for fun, collect to put sets together, find cards of your favorite team, or try and grab some autographs for your collection, how could you go wrong with this product in terms of value? Good luck finding better.

Overall:

Panini knew it would be easy to plug up the holes that this product had last year. They did it, plus a bit, and put out one of their best all around basketball releases in awhile. The design is classic, which is perfect for a classic brand like NBA Hoops. The checklist is finally filled out and features just about everyone in the league plus some legends. Plus, you can have the opportunity to put together a set of just Kobe Bryant. At $2 a pack, you’re living a dream getting 2 autographs in a box. And I would have felt the same way if I pulled two scrub autographs as well. I did in last year’s product and gave it just about the same grades.

As always, a big thank you to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

Oh I didn’t show you that I pulled probably one of the best boxes in the whole print run, huh? Well let’s see some cards, eh?

Review: 2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Football

One of the higher end staples from Panini is back on the table this year with some nice improvements to the quality of the product. This year, all the 36 rookies who attended the Rookie Premier have on-card autographs in this product which results in some great looking cards. But how will the rest of the product hold up?

We have been given a box to review once again by Panini and we will check out some the great hits that you can pull from this product. And by great, I mean great, because we ended up pulling a great looking card below.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Not shown: Greg McElroy Rookie Spectrum Auto GOLD (Redemption)

Design:

The overall base design is very solid in foil with a great action shot and a great layout for name and position. To me, it seems like they got confused and put the team logo where the brand logo should be. But that’s not a big deal at all. Even the Spectrum layouts are solid as well. The inserts are very…”Panini-like” as they have the same feel as other products. Player off-centered, team logo where memorabilia goes, and then the other information. It’s been that way as far back as I can remember since I got back into the hobby in 2005 so no change there. I’m not a huge fan of the design of the RPM cards, I mean look at that Steven Ridley card. That Patriots logo is HUGE! I’m guessing that’s where an autograph would go if it was an autographed version? Just not a fan. But that Ingram looks great with everything filled up (as well as the Tony Gonzalez patch).

Checklist:

A great bunch of rookies that you will find in every product, but the paralleled RPM materials help make the rookies pulled that much better. The jumbo patch autograph really added the needed value to the box and having future Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez on the checklist is a solid addition. You can pull just about anything from this product, but you’ll more than likely hit mostly rookies, which can be good or terrible. But they make the rookies well worth it if you hit a nice card like that Ingram. But again, this product suffers from too large of a base set of veterans and rookies and needs to be cut down a bit.

Value:

I really didn’t hit any plain jerseys in this box which is a great start to a product that costs over $150 for four packs of cards and a hit per pack product. The RPM you could consider a plain jersey, but you’re bound to find them in every product like this. The other hits were great with the Tony Gonzalez two color patch, the Mark Ingram jumbo patch autograph, and even a solid rookie autograph redemption. I still have faith in Greg McElroy. I’ve seen a lot of great boxes of this product, more then a lot of products out there by any manufacturer and more “good boxes” then “bad boxes”.

Overall:

Overall, Absolute is a fun break at a hit per pack but it’s also an expensive break. If I bought one pack and got that Steven Ridley as my hit, I wouldn’t be a happy camper. This is definitely best bought by the box. The design is solid and I think they did a good job with the traditional Absolute foil on the base and inserts. The design on the hits are okay but that doesn’t matter as much when you get some solid hits like this box provided. The checklist is too large for this type of product for the base veteran and rookie set, but the hit checklist is pretty solid and the rookie on-card autographs are great. I mean, the Ingram wouldn’t look half as good if that was a sticker. The product is going to be hit or miss, but it looks like there are more hits and then misses this time around from the number of box breaks I’ve seen which is a good thing.

Again, I’d love to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. You can visit their official site or their official blog to find out more information on great cards like the ones pulled above.

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Countdown: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup vs. Panini Dominion

It’s the old versus the new. The veteran versus the rookie. The champ versus the newcomer. It’s less than 2 weeks away from the release of 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup hockey and less than a month away from the release of 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey. The countdown is huge and everyone is waiting for this last hockey product of the year from the two hockey trading card companies. What kinds of punches will each company throw?

Well a lot of punches have already been thrown on the Twitter scene. The Panini America twitter has been using the hashtag #TheCupKiller while showing off some sweet pictures of some of the sweet cards that will be in the product. The Upper Deck twitter has been hot as well showing off some sweet patch 1 of 1s of some of the game’s top players and some awesome rookie patch autographs. But which product is going to be the king?

The Cup is released 2 weeks earlier so Upper Deck is going to have a slight edge as those who really want both are going to be getting their boxes of Upper Deck product earlier. Panini originally tried going head to head with a release the next day, but that was shot down by the NHLPA. So collectors will have to wait 2 weeks until Dominion hits the shelves.

So far, the concepts and designs look good on both sides. Upper Deck always includes some of the most beautiful patch cards you have ever seen in this high end offering. While we haven’t seen this type of product from Panini in the hockey arena yet, I would expect them to match Upper Deck with the patches as that is something that fans from every sport admire. Both companies are offering stamped game used sticks with the player’s name on them which is a great piece for all hockey and player collectors.

Something Panini is offering that has never been seen before is autographed tape from the player’s sticks. That is a great concept and idea that is new to hockey cards and something collectors are anxious to see. So the “new concept” edge has to go to Panini in this regard. The Cup seems to have the same types of hits as in years past, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Collectors love The Cup the way it is, so there is nothing wrong with very little changes to a proven hit product. Panini is trying to make a name for themselves in the very high end hockey arena with collectors, so they are doing everything in their power to show off their capabilities.

Price points are about the same but it’s still a large chunk of change if you want to get both. I’m going to be trying to get my hands on a box of each for a head to head style of review which should reach epic proportions. Imagine this: two boxes sitting on my desk, opening each at the same time, showing off base cards one by one, then on to the hits comparing the intricacies of each product as I run down each card. I can see the beauty that would unfold on camera with my jaw dropped pretty much the whole time.

I, for one, am excited for this new offering from Panini and this already top of the class product from Upper Deck. Will it be The Cup Killer as Panini has been advertising? Or will it fall victim to the veteran and have to go back to the drawing board next year? 2 weeks time for The Cup to be in your possession, and 4 weeks for Dominion to make it’s debut.

It’s a great time to be a hockey collector with these two products going head to head.

Minor Victory: Daily Views

This is a minor victory in the scheme of things, but a victory nonetheless.

Yesterday was the first day that this blog has reached over 100 views in a single day. It not only went over 100, it hit 133. In the grand scheme of things this is not very impressive. However, for a blog that is a month and a day old, it’s not bad considering I haven’t done much in the way of promotion other then links on forums and talking cards in other blogs.

So I would like to say “Thank You!” to everyone who has come to visit to read my stuff. It may not be anything ground breaking, but it is the information you need to stay up to date in the hobby. I try to keep it somewhat entertaining and informative and I hope I have done that for you.

In celebration, hopefully this weekend, I will be posting a contest for all to enjoy. It’s going to be something you have never seen before, and there will be a few winners if I can get enough entries. Stay tuned for that, as it will be pretty cool. I have some cool stuff including autographs, game used, and a mighty mystery box!  But how will the winners and prizes be chosen? You’ll have to wait and see.

So make sure you subscribe to this blog here on the left. Make sure you subscribe to our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe on YouTube, and if you’re really inclined, sign up for our RSS Feed. Or even bookmark us, I don’t care.

This is only a minor victory and the first goal of a ton of goals. My next goal is to try and get the companies to send me boxes to review and then give away the contents to readers. That’s probably going to be one of the harder goals to achieve, but it will be done!

So keep reading and supporting this blog. Your loyalty will soon be rewarded.

May the mojo be with you!

Note: Don’t worry, I’ll get something important up for you all today. Just thought I would share the news.