Monday, May 6, 2013
An Old School Gem: 1993 Upper Deck NBA MVP Hologram Set
I picked up my “limited edition” NBA set from a friend’s card shop in 1993 for $10, the set was limited to 138,000 (Remember when anything that was numbered was considered “limited”?) and mine is #85,508/138,000. I guess those with the basketball set should not complain, the baseball version is numbered to 216,000. The set came in a special edition box with a large NBA hologram sticker along with the details of the set on the front; 36-card set including Jordan, O’Neal, Barkley, Ewing, Mourning and Miner. The back of the box had the checklist with an Upper Deck’s NBA hologram and serial number. The thing is the serial number on the back hologram was not the serial number of your set. So you have a serial number on the box plus a different serial number on a card inside the box. Go figure.
There are 36 cards, 38 if you count the checklist and binder offer cards, and it was made up of 27 team MVP players and 9 Future MVP players. So each team’s (at the time) top player was included along with a batch of top rookies from the 1992 NBA Draft.
It is strange to look through the cards now, there are few who are Hall of Famers, a collection of players who had solid careers, a group of players who were just decent on crappy teams and even a few who some collectors might have to look up.
Charles Barkley tops my list of favorites. He was at the height of career in 1993, he was the Regular Season MVP after leading my hometown Suns to an NBA best 62-20 record and in to the NBA Finals against the dreaded Chicago Bulls. Some of the others to grace my “favorites” from the set include Michael Jordan, Grandmamma (Larry Johnson) and the Reign Man, Shawn Kemp.
The backs of the cards had a write up about the player, and included special events or records. Both the front and backs have horrible 1990s designs and team colors.
To save people the time of a search, Lloyd Daniels was considered a huge talent coming out of high school in the mid-1980s yet he couldn’t read. He was recruited to UNLV (possibly even paid to make that decision), went to community college for a couple of months before getting busted buying crack, tripped around a couple of minor league basketball leagues, got shot in the chest on a drug debt (the bullet is still in his shoulder), got signed by the Spurs in 1992 and shot (no pun intended) out of the gates and ripped it up before proving he was a streaky player who was just at the edge of being useful in the NBA, stuck it out with 6 NBA teams over 7 seasons and somehow made his career last for almost 20 years playing in Europe, South America and a myriad of minor league teams around the world along with as many drug rehab visits.
The long and short of it is that I love this set, it is a perfect example of collecting in the 1990s when holograms, foil, ugly inserts and huge print runs ran the market. My set has seen better days, the box has made it through too many moves to count and over the years I put some cards in to sleeves, rigids or a binder but in the end they always made it back in to the box, where they will now remain.
There are a handful of both NBA and MLB versions available starting at $2, you can find sealed boxes for under $10 if you are interested.