Some of the best sports card products include nods to the past while forging their own identities. Topps Full Court basketball may be new for the 2006-07 season, but it incorporates some elements from Topps brands of the past to very good effect.
Hobby boxes of Topps Full Court come with 18 packs of six cards each. The packaging touts one dual autograph card and two relic (memorabilia) cards per box on average.
Present and past meet in Full Court's base set, as 80 veterans and 20 retired NBA stars can be found on the common card checklist. Card fronts feature large, borderless pictures with orange, black and white stripes at the bottom that contain the player name in silver foil.
The photography in the set really jumps out, with shots that put collectors right in the action and make good use of both vertical and horizontal layouts. In many ways the design recalls the old Stadium Club brand, which put an emphasis on unique photos. Even the retired players get excellent treatment, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the middle of a sky hook and Rick Barry about to shoot one of his trademark underhand free throws.
My review box came pretty close to producing all of the common cards, with 90 out of 100 inside. There are also several parallel levels, including First Day Issues numbered to 499, Gold Photographer's Proofs numbered to 199 and 1-of-1 Platinum Photographer's Proofs. My box held no Platinum parallels but did hold two each of the other levels.
One nice thing about the parallels is that they are printed on thick stock and take the place of the decoy card used by some manufacturers to prevent pack searching. In other packs, the rookies and memorabilia cards discussed below fill the same role.
Topps includes 50 2006-07 rookie cards printed on thick stock with Topps Chrome technology numbered to 999. They also have their own card design, with a huge NBA logo man and a computer generated basketball in the background that resembles some of the Topps Pristine designs of the past few years.
The rookies have two levels of refractor parallels, with regular refractors limited to 199 copies and gold refractors numbered to 50. About.com's sample box turned up three regular rookies and a Randy Foye refractor.
Regular insert cards come in three varieties and share the same thick stock as the parallels and rookies. Half Court Press and Full Court Press cards are numbered to 999 and 1499 respectively and depict various NBA veterans and rookies. Court Records have print runs of 1499 and showcase players who set records of some sort. My review box yielded seven inserts in all.
Falling one per box on average, Co-Signers dual autograph cards are a Topps tradition that find a new home in Full Court basketball. Rookies, stars and legends all lend their signatures to a checklist featuring 50 different pairings in all.
My sample box did have a Co-Signers card, but it was a redemption card for card # CS26: a card with autographs from former Villanova teammates Allan Ray and Randy Foye. The redemption expires on 12/31/08.