When you think of basketball cards produced since 2000, what percent of chaser cards belong to which companies? How many companies have products collectors anticipate every year? With Upper Deck out of the picture when it comes to a Fanatics acquisition, it is extremely important for Fanatics to acquire Panini.
Part 1: This blog will cover the short comings of Topps in the last decade while producing NBA trading cards
Topps has and always will be a staple of the baseball card market, on the flip side their basketball products have not aged well. Topps; Chrome, Finest, and Bowman Chrome are seemingly the only relevant products from the Topps basketball era. Which is extremely problematic as all three products are extremely similar and some would even call it a stretch to say Bowman Chrome or Topps Finest is that popular.
Topps was seemingly always a step behind Upper Deck, a glaring example of this would be the player exclusives. In the 2000's Upper Deck was signing LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard. Topps was signing Allen Iverson, Adam Morrisson, Emeka Okafor, Greg Oden, Brendan Wright, and Yi Jianlian. In an attempt to stand out after losing on the LeBron sweepstakes, they put celebrity cards into their 2005 NBA products. These five celebrities including Jay-Z, which made sense but the other four left one scratching their head. The cards of Jenny McCarthy, Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth, and Christie Brinkley just did not age well.
Lets take a look at the product releases of the 2007 and 2008 season:
Topps had the flagship and chrome game on lock, no one was ever debating this but anything beyond that they lacked. Its also worth noting Topps Chrome hobby boxes were $50 in 2008, it was not popular as it is today. While Upper Deck had Exquisite, Ultimate Collection, UD Black, SPX, SP Authentic, and more. Topps could never figure out how to create a successful high end product. Triple Threads was only produced for 2 years, and many forget it even exists as the autograph checklist was a barren wasteland. Topps would go on to produce flops such as Echelon and Letterman which all felt like gimmicky knockoffs of Upper Deck products. Topps would even find themselves in trouble over 2008 Treasury for the rip-cards with a chance at $500 cash on the inside. Products like Co-Signers, Murad, Hardwood, Luxury Box, Trademark Moves, Stadium Club, Letterman, Echelon, Triple Threads are all forgotten.