It is a good thing I don't collect basketball - though I can't say I haven't tried to collect it one way or the other at least a few times in the last 20 years, for one reason or the other.
However, it is staggering to learn about the NBA reaching agreement with Panini - to become the sole producer of NBA trading cards.
I think Panini just threw so much money at the NBA - it was an offer they couldn't refuse, despite the fact Panini is known in the United States more for its sticker books printed more than 20 years ago.
Would Panini even have the motivation or is their plan to radicalize the trading card industry - to bring it back to the 'Stone Ages,' where you had one choice, one option for trading cards.
How many products will Panini put out [?] - is it conceivable that they may only put out one flagship brand of cards for an entire year? Would basketball collectors only have one option? I doubt that will be the case, but is Panini capable of creating products that distinguish themselves between low-end, midlevel and high-end?
Would that be realistic and if it were to happen - would it be something to sap the money aspect about collecting cards as far as commodities? While there might be more mainstream interest, would serious card collectors just quit the hobby? Does this new agreement signal the death of the modern basketball card as it is valued by serious collectors?
I cannot name a basketball product from Topps, so I could care less if there were no more Topps basketball cards - at the very least, Upper Deck has exclusives like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to possibly juice up any product they decide to produce. I would think the NBA would have come to an agreement with Upper Deck as far as exclusive rights to print their cards [like how I believe it is in the NHL].
Having Panini as the sole trading card company to produce NBA trading cards is like O-Pee-Chee [long before Upper Deck bought its rights] -being handed the keys to produce every single Major League Baseball card.
I wonder how it will affect basketball trading cards and will it be conceivable - something like this would happen to the baseball card industry.
Beckett blog link - to the news
Beckett blog link - NBA's reaction
Wax Heaven blog link - Topps and Upper Deck's reaction