The first week of 2022 came with a bang, with news of the American manufacturer and retailer of licensed sportswear and sports collectibles acquiring Topps. The $500,000,000 acquisation of the iconic sports card brand followed with news of Fanatics acquiring the licenses to the NBA and NFL. Additionally, they've struck deals with the respective players associations with the Leagues.
It was important for Fanatics to acquire both the league license and players union license. The league license gives Topps the permission to use NBA logos and the players license gives them permission to produce cards of players.
This agreement will take effect in 2026, the year in which Panini’s existing deal with the NBA will end. However, this past Tuesday Shams dropped hobby news.
There has been many different interpretations of this tweet. Some knee jerk reactions with people overwhelmed with excitement thinking Topps NBA cards would be produced as soon as 2023. However this would seem to be unlikely with the Panini deal running until 2026 unless Fanatics acquires Panini.
The origins and or motivation for this tweet are unknown as Topps has produced basketball cards over the last few years.
Bowman U 2021 Basketball is an unlicensed college chromium product which featured current college athletes and 2021 NBA rookies (Chet).
Topps Finest 2021 was by far the most amitious basketball product released in a long while. Without any league licensing, Topps would rely on primarily individual player licenses of retired players. Magic gaurd, Cole Anthony and Memphis recruit Mikey Williams would be the two active players in the set.
As pictured above, you can see the cards which have a fun feel to them. Isiah Thomas with a fur coat and a young Shaq smiling in a leather jacket.
Topps has also been producing Overtime Elite cards since 2021. Overtime Elite is a professional basketball league for 16–20-year-olds, based in Atlanta, Georgia. The league is owned and operated by Overtime. An alternative to college and traditional high school for players which pays them six figures annually. While no players have yet to be drafted, that will all change in 2023. Ausar and Amen Thompson are projected to be two top 8 picks this upcoming draft.
The Overtime Elite cards sneakily popular as well with the twins having cards sell for over $1,000.
Shams tweet does not in the immediate, we will be having NBA licensed Topps cards. However it does look like, we will possibly be seeing multiple products produced by Topps in a more organized effort come 2023 with multiple products.