By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor
It’s been a long wait for this one, but Panini America has finally released the first official glimpses at the return of a hobby staple to the hardwood this year in 2011-12 NBA Hoops.
Teased last February, Hoops is primed for a return as one of the five 2011-12 products in Panini’s reduced stable of offerings following the NBA lockout.
Set to arrive on March 14, Hoops marks the return of a brand that helped usher in a new era of basketball cards back in 1989 — a set that included color photography on both the card fronts and backs and the arrivals of Hall of Famers such as David Robinson to cardboard. This time, “The Admiral” is back as there will be 1989-90 Hoops buybacks — all signed by the players — as part of the offerings in a product that will have a $1-per-pack retail version and a $2-per-pack hobby version set to deliver two autographs per box.
The base set will include 279 cards and an NBA champions card — an homage to the 1989 Detroit Pistons insert. Its autograph checklist will be deep with 179 signers lined up for the set, including Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Dirk Nowitzki among others.
Among the insert cards will be “A Night To Remember” — a card set designed by readers of the company’s blog — as well as a few others. (Click on the images below for a closer look.)
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.