For just about 7 years now Upper Deck has released Black Basketball, in one form or another, usually to positive reviews. The major issue over the last few years has been the lack of NBA licensing forcing UD to use their NCAA license. The problem with that is the limited photo stockpile of players. When you start looking at some of the bigger names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or Dr. J it can be difficult to come by college era images so UD has begun to recycle some and the cards begin to take on a re-tread appearance.
This 2013-14 release has it’s positives but as many people have pointed out the images are stale, some people even suggesting the route that Leaf and Panini are going and using current images but removing logos or angles that show the player in action but obscuring the logos. Upper Deck had their problems when they first lost their MLB license they tried this option but they half-assed it and got caught. If UD took the time and positioned or edited the images correctly then Upper Deck Black Basketball could become a solid contender again in the basketball market.
One of the new autographs that will probably draw some attention will be the Arena Art Signatures, a booklet card using the player’s home court. I love that UD decided to preview University of Arizona Alumni Sean Elliott at McKale Center. As much as I hope they release a Steve Kerr version, I probably wouldn't buy it any way due to the price.
There will be single, dual, triple autographs; there will even be a 9-signature booklet card. The BioScripts, an inscription autograph card, should also be a big draw. On the down side the Old School autographs don’t seem to fit properly in the UD Black autograph lineup.
A quick rundown of what to expect from 2013-14 UD Black Basketball lineup
I like Black, though I do not own any due to the high price of the cards I like, but overall the set is pretty cool. I do wonder how much longer Upper Deck will be able to continue with the set though, especially considering that they are re-using images over and over. The people who buy this product will eventually turn away unless there is rejuvenation.