First look: 2011 Preferred basketball


By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

Panini America‘s offered the first looks and basic product information for its first NBA product of the 2011-12 card season Friday, and it’s a high-end return to the court made up of three past favorites.

It’s 2011 Preferred basketball, and it’s comprised of cards echoing three past products in the company’s portfolio — Panini’s Choice (a nod to Cramer’s Choice from the Pacific days), Crown Royale Silhouettes and Donruss Signatures. In fact, it’s a “three-brand” product without “base” cards at all as every card in the set is autographed except for a selection of booklet cards.

Set to arrive in late-February, this $200-per-pack product will include three autographed cards and one six- or eight-piece booklet card in every pack.

All autographs will be limited to 99 or fewer copies, meanwhile the autographed Silhouettes cards will include 10 retired legends of the game.

Meanwhile, there will be three designs per player — one from each of the aforementioned looks — for players who were rookies last season.

Also of note? This will be the first product to include Chris Paul autographs signed for the company.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Richard 23 December, 2011 at 14:22

    So, are the Mikan and Wilt Jersey pieces game used or some kind of manufactured thing?
    I love the look, but have grown very leery of fake stuff and materials that turn out to have
    little if anything to do with the players.

  2. chrisolds 23 December, 2011 at 14:28

    Panini made Mikan game-used cards last year, so it’s not tough to assume they still have some material left. Chamberlain shouldn’t be too tough to obtain if they don’t already have, either.

  3. Scott 23 December, 2011 at 19:47

    Can’t wait until Topps or Upperdeck get back there NBA rights on cards. Painini customer service has made me no longer a customer of there products. Thanks for caring for the people who pay your bills Painini.

  4. Robert Braxton 24 December, 2011 at 11:39

    I 2nd @backupgoalie’s sentiment – “I (too) hate booklet cards”

    And, overall, I’m losing what little faith I have left in Panini.

    Just because there is limited product out there (I’m talking to you consumers!) doesn’t mean you have to like it, at all.

  5. Bryon Pratt 24 December, 2011 at 18:47

    From these pictures it looks a lot like everything they have done the last couple years. The only card with any appeal to me is the Wall auto. But then again, I stopped buying Panini products last year. I too cannot wait for Topps and UD to get NBAPA licensing back.

  6. George 25 December, 2011 at 19:19

    Agree that I wish Upper Deck was back in the NBA business with licensed products. In hockey, Upper Deck vs. Panini is a no brainer. I have been extremely disappointed with the basketball products from Panini and they are quite similar to the hockey layout. Below average card stock on general products with too many high end products that just look the same… too much foil and mediocre photography. I might be the only one who reads the backs, but I have been disappointed with the low quality of the information there. Donruss and Leaf were fine, but since the takeover the dropoff has been really shocking.

  7. Joshua (jpleazme805) 26 December, 2011 at 19:11

    I hate when the NBA let a MONOPOLY happen! It should of never happen.

    I do like Panini to an extent. But they have released too many products & they’ve all looked similar. I hate manufactured patches/jerseys.. Manufactured jerseys/patches should be of team logos or something other than a swatch of jersey/patch… I hate the wording that card companies have put on the back of the cards, saying “memorabilia has been worn in an NBA game.” Which game was was it worn in? Who’s jersey was it? Too many mistakes with jersey inserting into cards.. wrong jersey, with wrong player… this includes Topps & UD.

    I like the concept that Panini put together with their first high-end product.. combining three products into one.. it appeals to most collectors.. but it feels like they are trying to through three sets into one box, because they are limited on the number of products they release, since the delay of the NBA season.. no base cards? I can be a good thing. I hate receiving a complete set of base in every box I open.

    I hope I can get one of the thousand Kobe autos that will be released in this high end product… Elite Black Box was supposed to be a high end product, but you can buy Kobe’s on the secondary market for cheaper that it costs to buy a pack.. I don’t think I’ll buy this new product… I’ll wait for the singles to hit the internet to pick up my favorites & save money.. since I can no longer spend the $200-500 a month on cards that I used to.. I have to limit where my money goes in these hard times.

    Can’t wait for HOOPS to be released… looking forward to those “buy back” auto cards… Will there be a Shawn Kemp RC AUTO ????

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