Signature shoes highlight signature cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

They’re some of the sweeter-looking autographed cards to be found in the history of cardboard and they’ve just arrived from Upper Deck.

They’re Signature Kicks and they can be found in boxes of 2013-14 Exquisite Collection basketball cards — they all feature autographs from past greats and present stars and note which signature model the shoe swatches came from.

What each of these cards isn’t, though, is game-used. They are “a tribute to classic collectible sneakers” according to a company statement. They are pieces of famed signature models for the featured players — a dynamic twist on the manufactured relics we’ve seen in the hobby for years and something the company hopes appeals to shoe collectors and brings them into cardboard.

“We wanted to let the shoes be the focus of the card, not the teams or even the players,” the company said in a statement. “Keeping in line with the individual style sneaker fans appreciate, we looked for imagery that lent itself to those collectors. We depict the athletes in their youth and older, or just showing off their individual style.”

Shoe cards are nothing new — but using the unique pieces that they carry within prevented deluxe shoe memorabilia cards from being done in the past. Most cards from the past have simple leather swatches and few carry any brand or model identity. These are different.

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“Upper Deck has been creating cards with game-used shoes embedded in them going back to the late ’90s,” said the company statement. “With the ‘Signature Kicks’ line of cards, we wanted to really do something different and cater the line of cards directly to the sneaker collector community. ”

Memorable shoe models for 15 players comprise the 108-card offering that includes swatches with soles, heels, laces, logos and more found on what is the most-unique and most-personal part of an NBA player’s on-court gear. Of course, Upper Deck exclusives Michael Jordan and LeBron James — two basketball legends known for their shoe models — lead the way.

While the autographs are the coveted piece, the shoe models and their unique features add the new flavor to the cardboard. For the oldschool player like Bill Russell, there’s the Chuck Taylor. Three players — Jordan, James and Anfernee Hardaway — each have two models represented. For Jordan, it’s the Air Jordan V and XIII, while James’ include the 9 Christmas and the X Jade models.

Upper Deck said a goal was to use all of the unique aspects of the shoe — and that meant time to get it done right.

“We sourced for collectible sneakers of top basketball stars that sneakerheads were passionate about,” said the company. “Additionally, we wanted to use practically every aspect of the shoe into the design of the cards. This would mean creating cards that were much thicker than had ever been done before in order to incorporate all the cool elements of the collectible shoes into the card. In fact the cutting and construction of these cards involved over 16 months of research and development with our team and our vendors.”

There are six types of cards made in this lineup — Dual Shoe, Large Shoe, Sole Piece, Large Logo, Large Heel and Shoelaces. Each card type, of course, corresponds to the type of swatch or its features. Some of the cards as as thick as a half of an inch.

Ultimately, some collectors will dwell upon the fact that these cards aren’t game-used — and they’d be something even more special if they were — but I have to say they look pretty darn cool even without that.

Isn’t cool cardboard what it’s really all about?

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

We’ll have more on this set in the upcoming Autograph Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. For now, though, we want to know what you think with our poll and any comments below.

Your reaction: Signature Kicks autograph cards

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 A full checklist is below …

Signature Kicks Set Card Player Swatch Type Quantity Shoe Model
Foundations SF-AH Anfernee Hardaway Dual Shoe Piece 35 Foamposite One
Foundations SF-BR Bill Russell Dual Shoe Piece 35 Chuck Taylor
Foundations SF-DR David Robinson Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Max 2 Strong
Foundations SF-GH Grant Hill Dual Shoe Piece 35 96
Foundations SF-HA Anfernee Hardaway Dual Shoe Piece 35 Zoom Rookie PRM Galaxy
Foundations SF-JA LeBron James Dual Shoe Piece 35 9 Christmas
Foundations SF-JE Julius Erving Dual Shoe Piece 35 All Star Pro
Foundations SF-JH James Harden Dual Shoe Piece 35 Hyperdunk
Foundations SF-JK Jason Kidd Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Zoom Flight 95
Foundations SF-JO Michael Jordan Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Jordan XIII
Foundations SF-LA Larry Johnson Dual Shoe Piece 35 Aero Jam
Foundations SF-LB Larry Bird Dual Shoe Piece 35 Pro Leather
Foundations SF-LJ LeBron James Dual Shoe Piece 35 X Jade
Foundations SF-MA Magic Johnson Dual Shoe Piece 35 Weapon
Foundations SF-MJ Michael Jordan Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Jordan V
Foundations SF-PG Paul George Dual Shoe Piece 35 Hyperdunk
Foundations SF-RO Dennis Rodman Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Way Up
Foundations SF-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Dual Shoe Piece 35 Air Go LWP HOH
Jumbos SJ-AH Anfernee Hardaway Large Shoe Piece 15 Foamposite One
Jumbos SJ-BR Bill Russell Large Shoe Piece 15 Chuck Taylor
Jumbos SJ-DR David Robinson Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Max 2 Strong
Jumbos SJ-GH Grant Hill Large Shoe Piece 15 96
Jumbos SJ-HA Anfernee Hardaway Large Shoe Piece 15 Zoom Rookie PRM Galaxy
Jumbos SJ-JA LeBron James Large Shoe Piece 15 9 Christmas
Jumbos SJ-JE Julius Erving Large Shoe Piece 15 All Star Pro
Jumbos SJ-JH James Harden Large Shoe Piece 15 Hyperdunk
Jumbos SJ-JK Jason Kidd Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Zoom Flight 95
Jumbos SJ-JO Michael Jordan Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Jordan XIII
Jumbos SJ-LA Larry Johnson Large Shoe Piece 15 Aero Jam
Jumbos SJ-LB Larry Bird Large Shoe Piece 15 Pro Leather
Jumbos SJ-LJ LeBron James Large Shoe Piece 15 X Jade
Jumbos SJ-MA Magic Johnson Large Shoe Piece 15 Weapon
Jumbos SJ-MJ Michael Jordan Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Jordan V
Jumbos SJ-PG Paul George Large Shoe Piece 15 Hyperdunk
Jumbos SJ-RO Dennis Rodman Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Way Up
Jumbos SJ-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Large Shoe Piece 15 Air Go LWP HOH
Sig Soles SS-AH Anfernee Hardaway Sole Piece 35 Foamposite One
Sig Soles SS-BR Bill Russell Sole Piece 35 Chuck Taylor
Sig Soles SS-DR David Robinson Sole Piece 35 Air Max 2 Strong
Sig Soles SS-GH Grant Hill Sole Piece 35 96
Sig Soles SS-HA Anfernee Hardaway Sole Piece 35 Zoom Rookie PRM Galaxy
Sig Soles SS-JA LeBron James Sole Piece 35 9 Christmas
Sig Soles SS-JE Julius Erving Sole Piece 35 All Star Pro
Sig Soles SS-JH James Harden Sole Piece 35 Hyperdunk
Sig Soles SS-JK Jason Kidd Sole Piece 35 Air Zoom Flight 95
Sig Soles SS-JO Michael Jordan Sole Piece 35 Air Jordan XIII
Sig Soles SS-LA Larry Johnson Sole Piece 35 Aero Jam
Sig Soles SS-LB Larry Bird Sole Piece 35 Pro Leather
Sig Soles SS-LJ LeBron James Sole Piece 35 X Jade
Sig Soles SS-MA Magic Johnson Sole Piece 35 Weapon
Sig Soles SS-MJ Michael Jordan Sole Piece 35 Air Jordan V
Sig Soles SS-PG Paul George Sole Piece 35 Hyperdunk
Sig Soles SS-RO Dennis Rodman Sole Piece 35 Air Way Up
Sig Soles SS-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Sole Piece 35 Air Go LWP HOH
Monumental Logos LO-AH Anfernee Hardaway Large Logo Piece 2 Foamposite One
Monumental Logos LO-BR Bill Russell Large Logo Piece 2 Chuck Taylor
Monumental Logos LO-DR David Robinson Large Logo Piece 2 Air Max 2 Strong
Monumental Logos LO-GH Grant Hill Large Logo Piece 2 96
Monumental Logos LO-HA Anfernee Hardaway Large Logo Piece 2 Galaxy Zoom Rookie PRM
Monumental Logos LO-JA LeBron James Large Logo Piece 2 9 Christmas
Monumental Logos LO-JE Julius Erving Large Logo Piece 2 All Star Pro
Monumental Logos LO-JH James Harden Large Logo Piece 2 Hyperdunk
Monumental Logos LO-JK Jason Kidd Large Logo Piece 2 Air Zoom Flight 95
Monumental Logos LO-JO Michael Jordan Large Logo Piece 2 Air Jordan XIII
Monumental Logos LO-LA Larry Johnson Large Logo Piece 2 Aero Jam
Monumental Logos LO-LB Larry Bird Large Logo Piece 2 Pro Leather
Monumental Logos LO-LJ LeBron James Large Logo Piece 2 X Jade
Monumental Logos LO-MA Magic Johnson Large Logo Piece 2 Weapon
Monumental Logos LO-MJ Michael Jordan Large Logo Piece 2 Air Jordan V
Monumental Logos LO-PG Paul George Large Logo Piece 2 Hyperdunk
Monumental Logos LO-RO Dennis Rodman Large Logo Piece 2 Air Way Up
Monumental Logos LO-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Large Logo Piece 2 Air Go LWP HOH
Monumental Heels MH-AH Anfernee Hardaway Large Heel Piece 7 Foamposite One
Monumental Heels MH-BR Bill Russell Large Heel Piece 7 Chuck Taylor
Monumental Heels MH-DR David Robinson Large Heel Piece 7 Air Max 2 Strong
Monumental Heels MH-GH Grant Hill Large Heel Piece 7 96
Monumental Heels MH-HA Anfernee Hardaway Large Heel Piece 7 Galaxy Zoom Rookie PRM
Monumental Heels MH-JA LeBron James Large Heel Piece 7 9 Christmas
Monumental Heels MH-JE Julius Erving Large Heel Piece 7 All Star Pro
Monumental Heels MH-JH James Harden Large Heel Piece 7 Hyperdunk
Monumental Heels MH-JK Jason Kidd Large Heel Piece 7 Air Zoom Flight 95
Monumental Heels MH-JO Michael Jordan Large Heel Piece 7 Air Jordan XIII
Monumental Heels MH-LA Larry Johnson Large Heel Piece 7 Aero Jam
Monumental Heels MH-LB Larry Bird Large Heel Piece 7 Pro Leather
Monumental Heels MH-LJ LeBron James Large Heel Piece 7 X Jade
Monumental Heels MH-MA Magic Johnson Large Heel Piece 7 Weapon
Monumental Heels MH-MJ Michael Jordan Large Heel Piece 7 Air Jordan V
Monumental Heels MH-PG Paul George Large Heel Piece 7 Hyperdunk
Monumental Heels MH-RO Dennis Rodman Large Heel Piece 7 Air Way Up
Monumental Heels MH-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Large Heel Piece 7 Air Go LWP HOH
Monumental Laces ML-AH Anfernee Hardaway Shoelaces 10 Foamposite One
Monumental Laces ML-BR Bill Russell Shoelaces 10 Chuck Taylor
Monumental Laces ML-DR David Robinson Shoelaces 10 Air Max 2 Strong
Monumental Laces ML-GH Grant Hill Shoelaces 10 96
Monumental Laces ML-HA Anfernee Hardaway Shoelaces 10 Galaxy Zoom Rookie PRM
Monumental Laces ML-JA LeBron James Shoelaces 10 9 Christmas
Monumental Laces ML-JE Julius Erving Shoelaces 10 All Star Pro
Monumental Laces ML-JH James Harden Shoelaces 10 Hyperdunk
Monumental Laces ML-JK Jason Kidd Shoelaces 10 Air Zoom Flight 95
Monumental Laces ML-JO Michael Jordan Shoelaces 10 Air Jordan XIII
Monumental Laces ML-LA Larry Johnson Shoelaces 10 Aero Jam
Monumental Laces ML-LB Larry Bird Shoelaces 10 Pro Leather
Monumental Laces ML-LJ LeBron James Shoelaces 10 X Jade
Monumental Laces ML-MA Magic Johnson Shoelaces 10 Weapon
Monumental Laces ML-MJ Michael Jordan Shoelaces 10 Air Jordan V
Monumental Laces ML-PG Paul George Shoelaces 10 Hyperdunk
Monumental Laces ML-RO Dennis Rodman Shoelaces 10 Air Way Up
Monumental Laces ML-TH Tim Hardaway Sr. Shoelaces 10 Air Go LWP HOH
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10 comments

  1. MM 6 November, 2014 at 12:43

    Exquisite should have been a one year issue and cemented the 03-04 set as the ultimate set in the history of basketball cards.

    The issue really went downhill after 04-05. The non-NBA cards are of no interest to me.

  2. Anthony C 6 November, 2014 at 16:40

    How are Signature Kicks the same boring design? Tegata cards are new too. Give them credit when credit is due and stop being a UD basher. You guys say the same boring stuff week after week.

  3. Sneaker Head 6 November, 2014 at 17:24

    Boring designs!?!? You’ll see how boring they are when my friends and I pay more for them than you whiny card collectors… No true collectors in cards anymore! Flip flip flip… Such a shame. The Galaxy Penny’s are $7000-$900 per pair.. Y’all primadonnas!

  4. Sneaker Head 6 November, 2014 at 17:33

    Meant $700-$900 pair.. Not $7,000 haha and that’s for a pair that hasn’t been game worn either! Just a pair of boring footlocker shoes as you guys say… EBay search Penny Galaxy and you’ll see.. lmao smdh

  5. Joe 6 November, 2014 at 21:24

    By no stretch of the imagination am I an Upper Deck fan. However, I will give them a little credit. The card with the laces looks pretty sick. I have one of this type from hockey, last years Panini Prime. Off the top ofmy head, I don’t even know who the player is (he doesn’t play for my Blackhawks) but I was blown away with the card. Going to Vegas tomorrow. If I win some extra $$$ I will be buying a box. Hopefully I hit one of these. That would be an awesome card to add to my collection. Especially if it is Bill Russell.. I would even keep the James Harden or Paul George (they are not “past greats” as stated in the article or great).
    Yeah it is the same boring design but with one hell of an upgrade.

  6. David Johnson 7 November, 2014 at 08:51

    At least they made the same quantity per player and didn’t load it down with a bunch of low tiered players. Would’ve been better without Paul George or James Harden, but at least they didn’t include a who’s who of minor semi-stars like Panini has been doing in their products.

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