When Michael Jordan Wore No. 12 on a 1990-91 Hoops Basketball Card

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All this talk of brothers sitting courtside has brought 1990-91 Hoops Basketball back into the spotlight. But Mark Jackson isn’t the only seemingly mundane card with an interesting cameo with a story behind it.

Behold the 1990-91 Hoops Sam Vincent:

It’s #223 on the checklist, but it’s the #12 that makes it interesting.

Yes, that’s Michael Jordan in front of Vincent. Yes, that’s a 12 on his jersey. And, no, it isn’t an airbrush job trying to trick us into thinking it’s someone else.

On February 14, 1990, the Chicago Bulls were in Orlando for a game against the Magic. Jordan’s jersey went missing. According to Sports Illusrated‘s Chris Johnson, a search went through the crowd to see if a fan could loan Jordan their jersey for a night. Nothing. As a last resort, Jordan was forced to wear a nameless #12 jersey the Bulls had.

The number switch lasted just the one game but that didn’t stop it from being immortalized on a basketball card.

Jordan is in the foreground of the 1990-91 Hoops Sam Vincent #223. But there is a bit of a twist. This version of the card is only in first series packs. The card was switched up for the second series. The image with Jordan wearing #12 changed to one of Vincent dribbling and in a black jersey.

1990-91 Hoops 223 Sam Vincent Series 2

So on the one hand, each individual version of the 1990-91 Hoops Sam Vincent is a short print when you compare it with cards available in both series. But that doesn’t mean either card is rare. In fact, it’s far from it. We’re talking about 1990-91 Hoops here, one of the most readily available basketball card sets ever.

This isn’t a new find. And while it commands a premium over a lot of other cards in the set, there’s no reason for there to ever be a run on it. A lot of them are out there for less than a fancy drink at your favorite local coffee shop. But that shouldn’t take away the cool factor this card brings and the story behind it.

And for those who like a good conspiracy, if you add Jordan’s 12 with Vincent’s 11, you get 23. Sometimes destiny is a basketball card.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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