Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Basketball

The first round of the NBA Playoffs have begun and the final shots of the NBA releases are gearing up from Panini. Over the next 2 months we will see 4 releases; Timeless Treasures Basketball (4/28), Absolute Memorabilia Basketball (5/19), Court Kings (6/02) and Platinum NBA (7/7).

The next release in Panini’s NBA schedule is Absolute Memorabilia Basketball. I have always been drawn to the Playoff Absolute Memorabilia sets, the cards may have been a little shiny and flashy as far as base cards go but I loved them nonetheless. When I found out about this release I have to admit I am a bit excited.

Scheduled Release Date: May 5, 2010
Box Configuration: 4 cards per pack, 4 packs per box
SRP: $40/per pack

Box Break:
4 (2) Autographs and (2) Memorabilia Cards
1 Parallel
1 Rookie
1 Retired
1 Other

The base set contains 150 cards and has a pretty amazing checklist made up of rookies, common players, stars and retired stars. The expected players like Kobe, LeBron, Durant, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry are all included and retired players like Bird and Magic also made the checklist. One name popped out when I was reviewing the checklist, Shawn Bradley, he fits in the “retired” category only.

Along with the base set, there are parallels for the base set, Gold, Platinum, Gold Signature, Platinum Signature and Materials Prime all numbered under 250.

There are quite a variety of inserts including the return of the ever-popular Tools of the Trade set, Rookie Premiere Materials (Including NBA Shields), Spectrum, Team Tandems/Trios and Quads Materials and Icons.

Starting off with the Tools of the Trade insert, it has change greatly from its previous inception. The set now has 8 different parallels, which can contain a jumbo patch, letter or number, multiple swatches and autographs. I liked the original design but I am willing to see how this works out. Some of the cards are now vertical instead of horizontal, which I preferred, but this set up allows for multiple swatches and autographs to be included.

The Team Tandems/Trios/Quads Materials are another decent insert, the card is designed well and fits multiple player images and patches nicely without looking over crowded or jammed together. I am a little saddened that the Denver, Dallas, Portland, Cleveland and Toronto all have multiple cards in the Team insert set but the Suns, Spurs and Lakers do not have any. Do we really need a Chris Anderson/Nene tandem card and a Carmelo Anthony/Chris Anderson/ Nene/J.R. Smith quad card? Why not drop the Anderson/Nene card and add an Amare Stoudamire/Steve Nash card or Kobe/(Any other Laker) card?

My favorite insert set is the Spectrum Platinum Signature set, again there are multiple parallels, but the card is a sweet artistic card with an autograph. This card alone, though very limited, makes me want to pick up a box or two in hopes of finding one.

There are some inserts that I personally do not care for, the Stargazing set is to busy for me. There is too much color, and I realize it is replicating a star cluster, but the hierarchy is messed up due to the color overpowering the player. Add to that a dime-sized swatch was added to the design making for more clutter.

I am not a fan of the Frequent Flyer insert either; it just does not work for me. The Hoopla set would be better without either the autograph of jersey swatch. It is a decent card design but add too much and all aspects are fighting for attention

On a side note, there are letter patches in the Jumbo Prime Spectrum set. I am not sure if they are game-used or manufactured letters. I do kind of like the card though, minus the upper left die-cut window being angled. I understand was designed this way to work with the flow of the angles of the design on the card but it ends up blocking part of the jumbo swatch and is glaringly obvious. On the Panini sell sheet the patch card is mistakenly listed as Tools of the Trade, but Danny Granger is not included in the TotT checklist but he is included in the Absolute Patches Jumbo Prime Spectrum checklist.

My Thoughts:
At $40 a pack, it would not be the most expensive pack I bought and with the odds set that you will pull a Auto or Memorabilia card per pack plus either a Rookie, Parallel or Retired card you have a decent chance of pulling some nice cards not to mention it looks to be a pretty cool base set. In each 18-box case there will also be a NBA Logoman card or an autograph of Kobe, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bird, Magic or one of the top rookies.

I will give this a try, at least a box or two to see what the set is all about and to give a first hand review of the product.

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