Welcome to part 2 of my Jordan cards countdown. If you want/need to catch up, you can find #50-41 here.
As I was writing up this post, I got a package from Cards on Cards that included a few more new Jordans in it. There were also a lot of other really cool b-ball goodies in the bubble mailer, and all of it will get their own post down the line.
I bring it up now to simply say that even if some of them would have fit into this countdown, my picks are set. To steal a baseball term: My 40-man roster is set. It wouldn’t be fair to throw more non-roster invitees into spring training when it’s already begun, now would it?
1996-97 Upper Deck Jordan Greater Heights #GH5 Michael Jordan/Breakaways – Here’s card number 5 in an All-Jordan insert card set. Upper Deck milked their exclusive for all it was worth, and I can’t blame or fault them for it. When the inserts look like this, I’m all for it. I probably would have dropped this down were it not for the photo selection. I love MJ playing keep away from that Rick Face John Starks. Reach! Reach tiny man!
1993-94 Upper Deck #SP3 Michael Jordan/Wilt Chamberlain – I told you you’d see more of the SP cards. Unlike the 20K point tribute, Jordan lands the front of the card. The back goes to Wilt Chamberlain as they both have the esteemed honor of winning 7 straight scoring titles. Wilt had a much greater size advantage to exploit. Jordan exploited his opponents in just about every other way.
1996-97 Collector’s Choice Mini-Cards #M78 Michael Jordan/Anfernee Hardaway/Shawn Kemp – First, I love the tribute to the older Topps perforated minis. Second, the player selection is quite high considering how large this insert set is. Third, damn straight MVP! Fourth, look at all those Pistons so far in the distance looking in awe. It’s only bonus that Kemp is taking it to Detroit, too. I wanted the gold version of this card so badly. Maybe I’ll seek it out at The National.
1997-98 Stadium Club #5 Ron Harper/Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen/Dennis Rodman – This card celebrates their 5th NBA title and brings back a lot of memories for me. The 72-10 season, for one. But more so, the card transports me to my high school bedroom watching the Bulls celebration at Grant Park on WGN. You can see some of the tens of thousands large crowd in the reflection of the trophies. With 6 titles over 8 years, it was almost a yearly tradition. Special celebrity guests, the player introductions, the trophy hoisting, the player’s speeches and guarantees of being back next year and knowing it was actually true. Who needs a parade when you can have a huge-ass party?
1991-92 Upper Deck #34 M.Johnson/M.Jordan CC – If we’re talking about all UD designs across all sports, I think 1991-92 basketball is my favorite. I know it’s essentially the first base line concept turned into wood hardcourt, but I love it. This card is also fantastic for recognizing the immediate impact of the Lakers vs Bulls Finals. Magic & Jordan instantly makes me think of their first championship and the layup. You know the one. You’ve only seen it about a billion times. Never gets old.
1995-96 Collector’s Choice Crash the Game Assists/Rebounds Gold Redemption #C1 Michael Jordan – You Crash the Game is the best card related contest/redemption program I’ve ever taken part in. So much better than the Topps million card/dollar code/coin online thingy. Even better than Stadium Club’ Super Team from the same era.
30 different players had three different cards with specific dates to get a certain number of points (or rebounds/assists – depending on the set). The cards were silver or gold, with the gold being much more difficult. If the player on the card met the goal on the date, you could mail it in for a full set of 30 silver or gold cards. I bought a lot of Collector’s Choice. I ended up winning a Silver Points set and a Gold Assists/Rebounds set, which is where this card came from.
I wish there was something like this in my packs again. What a great way to get kids interactively involved in their cards and sports.
1996-97 Stadium Club Shining Moments #SM2 Michael Jordan – This selection is almost all about the picture. Great timing on the angry slam. Perfectly framed Rodman with his goofy expression. The shiny etching on the side is pretty nifty, too.
1993-94 Upper Deck #237 Michael Jordan SM – This is part of a larger subset featuring other signature moves such as Tim Hardaway’s Killer Crossover. Jordan probably could have a few others listed, but who am I to argue with this photo? I don’t know who the half-head guy is, but look at how close to the ground he is compared to Jordan’s knees! Some sort of Play of the Week is about to happen. I can’t wait to hear Keith and Dan call it on The Big Show.
1992-93 Upper Deck #67 Michael Jordan MVP – How can you not like an art card? Well, if it was a terrible drawing, I can understand it. This one does not fall into the terrible category. So, you have a couple great, detailed portraits of Jordan doing his thing, and it’s surrounded by just a tiny fraction of his accomplishments to date. Yup, pretty awesome.
1994 Upper Deck USA Jordan’s Highlights #JH5 Michael Jordan – We started this group of 10 with an All-Jordan insert set and we’re ending on one. This was put into the 1994 USA set and fell about 1 per box. It was just about the only way to wedge Jordan into the product despite his retirement of the time and his not being on the ’94 Gold Medal team. This card is all about the arm. If his star-spangled bicep wasn’t simultaneously splitting and blending the two halves of the card, it may not make the list at all. But it is, so we get this incredible waving flag flow. USA! USA!
Now that I got the masses chanting, it’s time for me to wrap this up. Always leave on a high note! Jordan did that twice. And just like him, I’ll be back again. We still have 30 more cards to go.