June 8, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge - My Favorite Basketball Card

Today's challenge topic is the favorite basketball card in my collection. It's kinda a tough topic. I have plenty of basketball cards accumulated over many years, but there's not really one that stands out from the crowd. Well actually there is, but it doesn't fit today's post. So, I'm cheating a bit on my own challenge topic. My actual favorite basketball card arrived a short while ago, but I'll be writing about it sometime in the future when I put together the second 'Personal PC' post. Therefore, today I'll be telling the story about why my favorite card pictures teams and players that I don't particularly care for.

I've never really had a favorite NBA team. Instead, there has always been a handful of players in the league that I've preferred to watch(and collect). I've definitely had teams and players that I really didn't care for though. Year after year, the Knicks and the Bulls were usually pretty high on that list. Looking back I see that the primary reason I disliked those teams was because so many others that I knew loved them. If there is one thing writing these Challenge post stories has made me realize it's how much of a contrarian I was in my sports opinions, but I digress. Today's card(s) come from a time when the Bulls were coming off of their second championship in a row. I was pulling for any team from the East or West to prevent a third. That year my two least favorite teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite the participants, game two produced one of my favorite basketball moments.

The Dunk! This was an iconic play. Of course we now know that it didn't lead to the Bulls losing, but this was one of the first 'posterized' plays I can remember.

I didn't have this hanging on my wall, but several of my friends did. Alright, let's bring it back to cards. I began collecting basketball heavily during the 1992-93 season while searching for Shaquille O'Neal rookies. My excitement for the 1993-94 releases remained high as I anticipated hunting for Pennies. I remember walking into my LCS one afternoon and being shocked to see that poster image on a basketball card!

This 1st Day Issue parallel was staring at me from inside the display case. I struck up conversation about that game with the shop owner. For the record, he was a Knicks fan. Even back then, I loved those 1st Day stamps and I knew I wanted to have that card in my collection. I can't remember what I paid that day, but I do recall not thinking twice. Over the next few years, I looked fondly at this card quite often. When I packed my stuff to move from NY to NC, it was tucked safely into a box. It stayed there until about 2 years ago. As this blog was heading towards its unintended hiatus, I was staying active searching for post topics. I remembered how much I loved this card and went searching with the intent to write about it, but it took quite some time to find. So much so, that I actually thought I had lost it somewhere along the way. As I hunted box after box, I started checking eBay to find a suitable replacement.

I picked up this Members Only version about a week before I found my 1st Day Issue. Since I had two copies, I figured I'd try to track down the rest of this 'old school rainbow'.

I quickly tracked down this NBA Finals version on COMC and followed it up with the base version.

It's kinda hard for me to believe his was one of the last versions I acquired.

I hunted and found someone selling the last copy I needed as part of a Knicks team lot in a Facebook group. I commented that the Knicks set was sold.  The seller replied that the set was available except the Starks(which was pictured, btw). I messaged back and forth explaining to the seller that the Starks was the only card I was after because it was going to complete my rainbow. There was silence for an hour or two. The next reply came and the seller told me the entire set was available. Turns out he had planned to set the Starks aside for a buddy, but he thought it was cool that it would complete my rainbow and sold it to me instead.

Technically, there is one last parallel that I know exists. Topps often did Master Photo versions back then and one of hose is floating around for this card. However, I'm not planning on adding it the collection since it's not standard size. So, I'm calling this one complete with the 5 versions I have. Thanks for reading.


  1. Great “rainbow”! You know my love of John Starks!

  2. Ha. What did Jordan hope to accomplish with Horace Grant in front of him?

  3. sweet old school rainbow! that dunk was one for the ages. i'm surprised that i never knew it was captured on this stadium club card. thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  4. Neat! And that's the only time that photo and that epic moment ever made it onto a card, too.

    1. It's actually made it onto at least one other card, just slightly edited. Check this story out: https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/when-topps-edited-michael-jordan-out-of-a-john-starks-card/

  5. Didn't know that play made it to a card. The Dunk popped up on The Last Dance doc. I was watching with my son; he knew of Starks and mumbled something like "he's short" right before the play. Had to pause it to laugh at him.

  6. Great choice! If you were a basketball fan in the 90's, you remember this play, it's that iconic.

  7. Oh snap. That's a sweet card. I remember that dunk happening. Incredible.