Now that we’ve let my last article simmer a little bit, I think we’re all ready for something a little lighter and fun.
Maybe I’ll start a discussion of another type.
Sunday, February 17th, 2013 marked Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday. But you knew all of that already, I’m sure. If you’ve turned on any sports related channel, you’ve been inundated with highlights and tributes and conversations and battles about who could be the next MJ. And you’ve likely noticed that content throughout the week.
That’s because those members of the media actually plan ahead and prepare pieces for the correct dates. I, on the other hand, get halfway through Sunday and think “Hey, I collected Michael Jordan, and have a whole binder of cards. Maybe I should do a top 50 list!”
This list will be of cards that I own, which only goes up through the 1997-98 season. I’m also willing to accept Jordans in any trade negotiations.
Since this is a slapdash affair, I imagine a different day would produce a different list. I may be missing some Jordan cards. There are specific inserts and subsets and whatnot that I distinctly remember having, but were not in my binder. Ones that would have made this list. Hmmm… Maybe I’ll revise it another day if I stumble across them.
I’ll spread this out over 5 posts to maintain my sanity and yours. Without further ado, I present the birthday boy.
1997-98 Collector’s Choice #191 Michael Jordan/Catch 23 Media Circus – My initial pull list came out to 57 cards. This one just barely made the cut thanks to the goofiness alone. This year’s Collector’s Choice set had an entire subset of Catch 23 cards chronicling Jordan’s career and life. Not the first or last time that would be done. Panini is doing something similar with Kobe this year across all their product lines.
Anyway, what appeals to me about this subset is there’s a Where’s Waldordon type feature. His smiling head is hiding somewhere on the cards. In a golfing shot, he’s putting his head. He appears on a Gatorade cup, on scoreboards, wristbands, other people, etc. This is my favorite. He’s so happy giving an interview to MJTV!
1992-93 Upper Deck #SP2 20,000 Points/Dominique Wilkins Nov. 6, 1992/Michael Jordan Jan. 8, 1993 – What a season this was for milestones. Two superstars hit the 20,000 point benchmark within months of each other. Wilkins sports the front of the card, and Jordan gets the back. I’ll tell myself it’s only because of chronology.
Take note of the card number. #SP2 was the only one that year. It won’t be the last SP card you see on the countdown. I’d rank this higher if the design wasn’t so dark, and if Jordan made the front.
1995-96 Upper Deck Jordan Collection #JC6 Michael Jordan/Slam Dunk Champion 1988 – In 1995, UD again chronicled Jordan’s career. I told you it happened a lot. These Jordan Collection inserts were continuously numbered across several different products throughout the year. The fancier the product, the fancier the insert. They weren’t easy to come across, either, falling about one per box. I have several of these, but this was the fanciest/foil-iest in the binder.
The fact that it celebrates the best Dunk Contest in history is bonus, but we’ll see more about that later too.
Oh, by the way, if you want to help me out in my quest to collect all the 1995-96 Series 1 inserts, please check all the way at the bottom of my want list and see if you have anything I can trade for.
1993-94 Fleer NBA Superstars #7 Michael Jordan – Fleer made some solid inserts in the ’90s. I know I have more examples somewhere, but I can’t find a lot of them. This isn’t a card you’re likely to see these days. What company is going to pony up the dough for more than 2 pictures for a single card? Here we have 4 pictures, but they’re framed in a way as to not busy up the card. It’s tough to tell from this example, but memory tells me that the left side was color coded to the player’s team.
1994-95 Collector’s Choice #23 Michael Jordan BB – Yes, this came out of a basketball pack. It’s the most un-basketball-y basketball card that ever basketed some balls.
Jordan’s flirtation with baseball is well known, but this baseball/basketball card may not be quite as famous. The back shows a picture of Jordan enjoying his other passion:
gambling golfing. The only indication that it is meant for a basketball product is some Bulls stats on the back.
1995-96 Collector’s Choice Player’s Club #353 Michael Jordan PT – Look, if there was a motion card of Scottie Pippen pointing at his Air Jordan shoes and beckoning him back with said finger, I’d make that a top 5 choice instantly. Since there isn’t, this card (the Player’s Club parallel, I might add) prominently featuring his #45 jersey will have to do. I love the subtle shading on the bottom as well. When paired with the darkened background, MJ really “jumps” out.
1996 Topps Stars #24 Michael Jordan – First off, I love the black alternate jerseys. Second, I loved the NBA Topps Stars set. It had three cards for each of the players named to the NBA50 list, which celebrated the 50 all-time greatest players from the league’s first 50 years. A great picture of a great jersey from a great set is pretty good.
1993-94 Upper Deck #SP4 Chicago Bulls’ Third/NBA Championship – Here’s another one of those SP cards. There are a couple reasons why this doesn’t rank higher. 1) I barely remember it. The sheer lack of a memorability factor hurts its ranking. 2) Jordan’s front and center, but Pippen gets more face time. And Stacey King holding the trophy? I wonder what kind of crazy catchphrases that he could use in his Bulls broadcasting career were going through his mind at that moment. 3) Not a fan of the drill or microphone or big ass drill poking through on that 1991 picture.
1996-97 Topps Season’s Best #SB18 Michael Jordan – I’d place this higher if it weren’t for the poor photo choice and the unusual fact that this insert isn’t called “Sticky Fingers.” Nope, it’s called Season’s Best. You’d never know that from the front, and it’s tough to tell from the back, too.
Still, it had to make the list because of the honeycomb goodness in the background. Also, the hyper foil is so over the top ridiculous that I can’t help but love it. It brings me back to the days of the Panini sticker books and the special foil stickers you would find in their albums.
1993-94 Ultra Power In The Key #2 Michael Jordan – The last one for today may be one of the more valuable cards in the entire countdown. This one goes for anywhere from $10-$30 on ebay these days, ungraded. That’s not why it’s here. I like it again for the mega foil. The colors are so vibrant (in person) and eye-catching and bold. It’s brilliant. Figuratively and literally.
We’re just scratching the surface. Picture selection is a big part of my ranking process, so get ready to see some fantastic action shots as we go forward. Happy birthday Michael! I’m a little late to the party, but I’ll be keeping it going a little while longer.