Ray Allen for 3 — Yes!

So let’s say I’m on a bit of a Sonics autos kick and I get a nice card like 2007 Topps #SSW-7 Signature Swish Auto #13/25.  It’s cool, but…. the auto is not that easy to read.

That’s when I start messing with light angles to bring out different features of the card. Amazing how different it can look under different lighting and angles.

I also start messing with it in PicsArt or other photo editors.  Check out the last one with the extensive green and gold!

Even though the auto legibility is not the best, the Swish swirl thing and the picture of Ray about to launch a shot are both very cool.

Of course, after all that I can just go out and get a different card, 2016-17 Panini Revolution #25, and be super psyched that it’s got all the pizazz from the wavy hyperplaid refraction pattern and that it’s an on card auto…

… until I notice a couple of strange white specks on Ray Allen’s face and start saying, man, oh man, did I really pay that much for that?  I thought they were specks on the top loader or scanner.  Ugh, I should have asked, what was I thinking… blah blah blah it can go on ad infinitum.

Still, it’s not like I see the specks looking across my desk at the card.  Instead I see the nice clear auto and the sweet refractor effects with different lighting and angles.  The background looks awesome and really makes the signature pop under full spectrum lighting!  There’s that also that very pleasant feeling I get when I pick up an on card auto.  So even with the blemish it’s a great card and, in flattering lighting, can be the best of the three.

Three?  Yes, since I’m me and we’re talking about Ray Allen here, I decide to get one more, 2018-19 Panini Crown Royale #CA-RAL.  I think it’s the best of the three in regular suburban lighting. 🙂  Even though it’s a sticker auto, it’s got a nicely centered and clearly legible signature, the characteristic die-cut Crown Royale design, the rainbow foil in the crown, and an interesting facial expression .  It looks as if Ray is deciding whether to drive in or pull up for a three.  It doesn’t look like he’s going to pass this time lol.  Anyhow, it’s also a gold parallel (#6/10) which is a nice match with the Sonics green and gold color scheme (on either side of those mid 90’s green and red Christmas cartoon unis).  Pretty sweet!

I think that’s good enough for now.  Another three from Ray Allen! 🙂

2017-18 Panini Revolution Basketball — Very nice!

I really like the 2017-18 Panini Revolution Basketball cards!   The base set is straightforward, with 100 vets and 50 rookies.  The designs are heavy on the foil and kaleidoscopic colors, which I like.  There are a wide array of geometrical arrays in the inserts for fancier effects and lots of rainbow collection opportunities.  Hobby boxes are around $65 for 8 packs, 5 cards per pack (most have 3 base and 2 inserts).  The hobby boxes include 4 rookies, 4 inserts, and 8 parallels.  The hobby box has the fancier inserts and low numbered parallels.  About six of the 16 boxes in a case have an on-card auto.  I got a couple and they are very nice.  The inserts and autos include a significant number of past and present stars (which I prefer to an overemphasis on rookies).  I’m not aware of any memorabilia cards with this set but there are lots of great looking cards!

There are also the Chinese New Year international retail boxes, significantly cheaper at around $40 for 12 packs, 5 cards per pack (3 base, 1 RC, and 1 Chinese New Year Cracked Ice parallel).   I got a couple of each type of box plus a few more hobby packs.  Photos of some of the cards I got are below (pardon the quality, with all the refraction effects they are not easy to photograph well).

If you’re looking for huge hits this set is probably not for you.  However, if you like a small base set, sharp-looking cards with lots of colors and a wide variety of refractor effects, and a nice distribution of past, present, and future stars in the inserts and autos, I think you’ll like Revolution as much as I did it.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars!


photo on feb 20, 2018 at 8_47_35 pm

2017-18 Panini Donruss Basketball — Pleasantly Surprised

I like 2017-18 Donruss Basketball. It’s reasonably priced and with one hobby box you can get most, if not all, of the base set including vets and rookies. I think the poses for the Rated Rookies are so corny that they’re hilarious. The one-color relic and the sticker auto were not spectacular, but they were from accomplished veterans that I’ve actually heard of. The parallels were the standard color and foil variations and the inserts had various topics with both modern and throwback players.  For a lower-priced release, I was pleasantly surprised with this product. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


Panini Totally Certified Basketball 2013-14 – Nice

photo-on-dec-18-2016-6_42_53-pmI recently picked up a box of 2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball on clearance from Dave and Adam’s Card World. I really liked a 2014-15 Totally Certified box that I got previously, so I had high expectations for this one!  The 2013-14 box included 6 packs, 5 five cards per pack, with 3 autos and 3 memorabilia cards.  I was looking forward to hits from guys I’ve heard of, if nothing else. 🙂  Here are the cards I got:

The three memorabilia cards were decent.  The Brook Lopez card had a portion from a white Nets jersey, and the Jonas Jeberko from a blue Pistons jersey.  The Ersan Ilyasova GU patch # 14 /25, which looks like white and red parts of the Bucks jersey piping, is a really nice card.  I knew of Lopez (but didn’t know that his 9 seasons with the Nets are the most by any player, or that he gave up this sick dunk by Larry Nance Jr.)  I hadn’t heard of the other two guys but all three are in the NBA here in 2016-17 ( Jeberko with the Celtics and Ilyasova with the Sixers) so it’s cool. 🙂

Initially, when I saw the first auto, I was not impressed.  Some random dude from the Utah Jazz?  However, after my second look, I said, “Holy crap!” It was an auto from Dr. Dunkenstein himself, Darrell Griffith!!! Totally awesome and a numbered card out of # 17 /49 with some kind of blue sun spark thing going on.  Sweet!  Favorite card in the box.

The others were ok, DeMarre Carroll in a Utah uniform and a Reggie Bullock Rookie Rollcall auto (both are with other teams now).

Here are some of my other favorites from this box:

The Larry Bird red parallel # /99 is just a nice card.  Looks great.  I mentioned Swedish player Jonas Jeberko earlier. I also got an RC for Luigi “Gigi” Datome from the Pistons.  Jeberko and Datome were eventually traded to the Celtics for Tayshaun Prince’s second go around with Detroit.  Jeberko is still on the Celtics while Datome has moved on to Fenerbache of the Turkish Basketball Super League, but it was “Gigi” who attained legendary status with the Celtics!



There was a card featuring Sonics legend Spencer Heywood.  I didn’t think much of it until I looked at the back, # 4 /5!  (Apparently, for the parallel cards, Totally Red #/99, Totally Blue #/49, Totally Gold #/25, Totally Green #/5, and Totally Black 1/1.  Thank you Cardboard Connection for that information.)  Anyway, always nice to get a great Sonics card!


My other favorites would be Jason Terry (from Seattle), Terrence Ross (from UW), Len Elmore (New York teams and broadcasting), Tiago Splitter (Spurs), and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon (one of my favorite basketball players of all time).  Overall I’d give this box a 3.25 out 5.00.  Good stuff.


2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball Box:

14 Ersan Ilyasova Milwaukee Bucks Gu red/white # 14 /25
14 Deron Williams Brooklyn Nets base
30 Reggie Bullock Los Angeles Clippers RC Rookie Rollcall Auto
39 Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets GU
41 Ricky Rubio Minnesota Timberwolves base
56 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Charlotte Bobcats base
60 Mike Conley Memphis Grizzlies base
67 Jonas Jerebko Detroit Pistons GU blue jersey
84 JaVale McGee Denver Nuggets base
98 Monta Ellis Dallas Mavericks base
105 Jason Terry Brooklyn Nets base
118 Chris Kaman Los Angeles Lakers base
132 Arron Afflalo Orlando Magic base
147 Jeff Green Boston Celtics base
163 Udonis Haslem Miami Heat base
175 Tiago Splitter San Antonio Spurs base
189 Terrence Ross Toronto Raptors base
193 Anthony Morrow New Orleans Pelicans base
201 C.J. Leslie New York Knicks base
210 Luigi Datome Detroit Pistons RC
218 DeMarre Carroll Atlanta Hawks auto
226 Reggie Bullock Los Angeles Clippers RC
228 Solomon Hill Indiana Pacers RC
243 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Detroit Pistons RC
246 Darryl Griffith Utah Jazz Auto blue parallel # 17/49
252 Larry Bird Boston Celtics Totally Red insert # 09 /99
268 Hakeem Olajuwan Houston Rockets base
271 Scottie Pippen Chicago Bulls base
286 Len Elmore New Jersey Nets base
294 Spencer Haywood Seattle Supersonics Green insert # 4 /5

2016 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Basketball Gallery

panini-contenders-draft-picks-basketball-2016Here is a sampling of what I got from three blasters of 2016 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Basketball.  With the 126 cards (plus 14 acquired by trade) I was able to complete five insert sets, and also got 6 autos and plenty of veterans and traders.  More details on this set are in the previous post.  Overall I’d give 2016 Panini Contenders a 4.5 out of 5.0, I really liked it!


Class Colors

Collegiate Connections

Game Day

Old School Colors

School Colors

Season Ticket