Random Card Exhibit VI

Take me out to the ballgame.  This is the first baseball card selected for my random card from my collection posts.  Not bad to start off with a Hall of Famer.

2018 Donruss #91 Barry Larkin Front

2018 Donruss #91

I pulled this card of Barry Larkin from a hobby box of 2018 Donruss.  Topps is the only company that currently has an MLB license, so the Donruss brand released by Panini is not allowed to have team names or logos.  These types of unlicensed cards either airbrush them away, or use some photographic trickery to hide them.

I normally don’t care to collect unlicensed cards, but the Donruss brand has been around a long time in the hobby, especially when it comes to baseball cards.  Because this brand has such a history, I make an exception for my collection.  Also, they are still allowed to use the player names and city names so even though this card doesn’t say “Reds”, any baseball fan knows what team Cincinnati is.

I also really like all the fun insert sets that Donruss includes in their packs.  Opening a box of Donruss is always an enjoyable experience, and I always feel like I get my money’s worth.  So regardless of the team names and logos, I look forward to opening these cards each season.

I saw a lot of Barry Larkin when I was a child, and he was a premier shortstop for most of my youth.  He was a 12 time All Star, won multiple Gold Gloves, took home the 1995 NL MVP, and found himself in the Hall of Fame in 2012.  Another reason why I enjoy the Donruss releases, is that they often include a lot of legendary players like Larkin in their checklists.

My two favorite sports, and the two sports I collect trading cards of, are basketball and baseball.  While I am a huge baseball fan, basketball does still edge it out as my favorite sport.  So in “relation” to this, I wanted to also note that Barry Larkin’s son, Shane Larkin, recently played in the NBA until he signed with the EuroLeague a few months ago.  While he was in the NBA, he suited up for the Mavericks, Knicks, Nets, and the Celtics.

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Random Card Exhibit V

It’s the B-the-R-the-O-the-OK.  L-Y-N is the place where he played.  At least that’s what Mos Def told me.  Today’s random card from my collection is of a player I honestly know very little about.

2016-17 Hoops #213 Chris McCullough Front

2016-17 Hoops #213

The random card chosen today is from 2016-17 Hoops.  This set actually came up in a recent post I made just a few days ago.  The card this time is of Chris McCullough, who played for the Brooklyn Nets when this set was released.

I admittedly had to do some research on McCullough because I was quite unfamiliar with him.  He was drafted in 2015 and played with the Nets until he was traded to the Washington Wizards in 2017.  It looks like he has bounced around the G-League since then, even playing for the Northern Arizona Suns up in Prescott Valley, AZ.

The design on this card is pretty cool, as it almost looks monochromatic with the black and white jerseys and border.  I enjoy the fact that this set used the team colors for the border of the card because it gave each team’s cards a little bit more of a unique feel.

Random Card Exhibit IV

Please clear the runway for the fourth go around on the random card chosen from my collection.  This time it is an insert from one of my favorite releases.

2017-18 Donruss - All Clear for Takeoff #4 Giannis Antetokounmpo Front

2017-18 Donruss – All Clear for Takeoff #4

I am a fan of the Donruss NBA release each year.  The set is affordable, looks great in my opinion, and always has some fun and cool looking inserts.  The random card for today is from 2017-18 Donruss and is from the insert set called “All Clear for Takeoff”.   The player featured on the card is Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks.  Considering he has such an elaborate last name, I usually just refer to him as Giannis or as my wife likes to call him, Hakuna Matata.

As far as the design of this card goes, I do like the sky and clouds at the top which fits with the theme of the insert.  Also, it is nice that the image on the card is of Giannis jumping in air so it fits with the name of the set.  Although, I am not really sure what the shape behind him in front of the clouds is supposed to be.  The more I look at it the more out of place it seems.  It might have been better if the entire background was the sky.

I am not the biggest fan of Giannis, because I really don’t care for his attitude on the court.  I also remember a time when he basically just tackled Mike Dunleavy Jr. during a game.  Although he tends to rub me the wrong way when I watch him, there is no denying his outstanding talent.  He was an absolute steal for the Bucks in the 2013 NBA draft.  He’s a freak.  He’s Greek.  He’s clearly the Greek Freak.

Random Card Exhibit III

Oh “brother”.  I don’t even know where to begin with the random card for today.  #FOE

2016-17 Panini Prizm #296 Markieff Morris Front

2016-17 Panini Prizm #296

The card featured today is from 2016-17 Panini Prizm.  The Prizm release is one of my favorite releases each year.  It reminds me of a combination between Topps Chrome and Finest.  Unfortunately, Topps currently does not make NBA cards, but Panini has done well creating a decent product to collect.  Prizm seems to be the most premium release of the affordable sets.

The card shown from this set is of Markieff Morris who plays for the Washington Wizards.  As a fan of the Phoenix Suns, I have mostly negative memories of his time wearing purple and orange.  He and his twin brother Marcus Morris were both members of the Suns in recent years.

The Morris twins were a formidable combination off the bench for the surprising Suns team in 2013-14 where they won 48 games and narrowly missed the playoffs.  They eventually ended up signing an extension to stay in Phoenix, but that is when things quickly went downhill.

Some of the things Markieff Morris did while a member of the Suns include violently assaulting a former mentor at a high school gym, publicly disparaging the fans after getting blown out by San Antonio, throwing a towel at the coach, and choking his teammate Archie Goodwin on the bench.  Believe it or not, we are just talking about Markieff.  This list would be much longer if I included his brother Marcus.  I usually consider Markieff as the nicer of the two brothers.

Markieff was eventually traded to the Wizards in 2016 and has since been their starting power forward.  His style of play often reminds me of Rasheed Wallace (technical fouls included) and he generally has a very talented skillset for a big man.  However, he seems to have peaked as far as his development and really has been nothing more than a decent starter in the NBA.  Not bad, but considering he seems to have many similarities to Rasheed Wallace, I think he has fallen short of his potential.  It’s possible that all of his on and off court issues have prevented him from truly shining.

Random Card Exhibit II

This is the second installment of writing about a random card from my trading card collection.  This time the selection was from 2016-17 Hoops.

2016-17 Hoops #68 Arron Afflalo Front

2016-17 Hoops #68

This release of Hoops was exciting for me, as I got back into the hobby in early 2016.  This was the very first brand new release of cards that I purchased, as all the cards I had acquired up to that point were from previously released sets.

This particular card is of Arron Afflalo who had just signed with the Sacramento Kings for the season.  Since Hoops is an early season release, it still shows him in his Knicks uniform.

Afflalo has been a decent role player for his career.  As a wing who could score plenty of points and shoot the three pointer at a respectable percentage, he has been able to find a way to contribute on every team he has been with.

However, Afflalo mostly has been unfulfilled potential.  He put up a career high 18.2 PPG in 2013-14 for the Orlando Magic, but never really replicated those numbers again.  He has bounced around different teams for the last few years, and he currently finds himself as an unsigned free agent.

All things considered this is a pretty standard card.  Although, I do like the photography and the deep purple of the Kings is aesthetically pleasing.

 

Random Card Exhibit I

I track my trading card collection on a website I have been using since 2016.  It is an awesome site called the Trading Card Database.  Just recently, they created a new feature that will randomly pick a card for you from your collection for blog posts, giveaways, etc.

I decided to use the new feature and make a blog post about the card that it selected.

2014-15 Donruss - Elite #89 Shaquille O'Neal Front

2014-15 Donruss – Elite #89

I pulled this card of Shaq from a hobby box of 2014-15 Donruss.  This specific card is from an insert set simply called Elite.  The insert set is quite large, as it has 100 cards on the checklist.  I believe these came 1 per pack, so I was able to collect quite a few of them in the box.

As such, these aren’t particularly hard to find, but I do like the shiny finish on the card.  Like most cards of this type that are reflective, they don’t scan all that well.  They tend to look much nicer when you actually have them in hand.

It’s too bad this Shaq card doesn’t feature him during his short tenure as a Phoenix Sun, but it makes sense to have him in a Lakers jersey as that was his most dominant time in his career.  So, I will have to settle for the Big Aristotle instead of the Big Shaqtus.

Shaquille O’Neal was one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and I will often argue that he was the greatest Center to ever step on the hardwood.  In his prime, he was as dominant and entertaining as they come.

Straight Outta Germany, and the Virgin Islands

Two of my favorite NBA players of all time are Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.  Considering that I am a Suns fan who is naturally programmed to hate the Spurs and Mavericks (Lakers too!), then you can see that I must really like these two players as individuals.  They are two of the most talented and truly humble players to have ever stepped on the court.

Up until last year, I had somehow never obtained a rookie card of either player.  My brother always had a 97-98 Metal Universe rookie of Tim Duncan that for years I have drooled over.  I eventually came across the two cards shown below at a local card shop and was quick to scoop them up.

1997-98 Metal Universe #66 Tim Duncan Front

1997-98 Metal Universe #66

1998-99 Flair Showcase #16 Dirk Nowitzki Front

1998-99 Flair Showcase #16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yup.  There it is, the Duncan I always wanted, plus a fantastic looking rookie of Dirk.  I paid ten dollars for each of the cards, and honestly with the market for cards today, I definitely overpaid.  However at the time it didn’t matter, I was just happy to have added both of them to my collection.

Last year as well, I was stoked to pull the card pictured below out of a hobby box I purchased online.

2014-15 Hoops - Matchups Green #2 Dirk Nowitzki / Tim Duncan Front

2014-15 Hoops-Matchups Green #2

This very well may be my favorite card in my collection as it not only showcases both Duncan and Nowitzki, but it is a Serial Numbered Parallel limited to 25.  Unfortunately my scan of the card doesn’t do it justice, as it looks much better when viewed in person.

With Tim Duncan now retired, and Dirk Nowitzki seemingly near the end of the line, I will sure be happy seeing both of them inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Spanglish

El Don-kay!  This is what I thought I was hearing each time Yasmany Tomas hit a ball for extra bases.

2016 Stadium Club #249 Yasmany Tomas Front

2016 Stadium Club #249

2017 Topps #248 Yasmany Tomas Front

2017 Topps #248

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe it was memories of “Big Donkey” Adam Dunn in a Dbacks uniform that made me hear this coming from the commentators.  It wasn’t until a few games ago that I realized they were saying El Tanque, which is Spanish for The Tank.

Clearly this makes much more sense than El Don-kay.  As if saying the word “donkey” in an accent was somehow the correct way to say it in Spanish.

I found out that the true burro, was me.

Jam City?

If there is one card that encapsulates my childhood, it would be the David Robinson Jam City from 93-94 Ultra.  There are only a few cards in my collection that can come close to evoking such nostalgia.

1993-94 Ultra - Jam City #8 David Robinson Front

This card was traded back and forth between me and my brother no less than a million times.  Somehow, the last transaction that occurred left this timeless piece of cardboard in my possession.  I only kept a small album of cards from my childhood, but I made sure to keep this one with me.

My brother recently brought to my attention the irony of this card.  If you notice, he is not even dunking the ball!  So much for “Jam City”.  They could have called this “Soft Layup Metropolis”.

If this card that I have of the David Robinson Flagship Series from 92-93 SkyBox teaches us anything, it is that The Admiral pumped iron until he was constipated.

1992-93 SkyBox - David Robinson Flagship Series #R7 David Robinson Front

Clearly he was in shape enough to put the rock through the rim with authority.  Two other cards from my collection are evidence of such.

1992-93 Ultra #201 David Robinson Front1996-97 Stadium Club #78 David Robinson Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now THIS is Jam City.  Throw it down big man!

Be Legendary

1996-97 SkyBox Premium #55 Kobe Bryant Front1996-97 Stadium Club - Rookies I #R12 Kobe Bryant Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above are two rookie cards from my collection of an 18 year old Kobe Bryant.  While I am certainly not a fan of the Lakers or Kobe as a person off the court, he was definitely a killer between the lines during his career that began in 1996.  As a 5x NBA Champion (2 of which he was Finals MVP), 18x NBA All-Star, and current placeholder of #3 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, he is almost certainly the greatest shooting guard of all time among players not named Michael Jordan.

During the 2015-2016 season (the last of his career), Kobe went up against a rookie shooting guard who much like himself was a teenager drafted 13th overall.  While Kobe Bryant was on his farewell tour and riding off into the sunset, Devin Booker was just beginning his NBA journey.  After the game, Kobe gave Booker a signed pair of shoes with the words “Be Legendary” written on them.

2015-16 Hoops #268 Devin Booker Front2015-16 Panini Complete #296 Devin Booker Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above are two rookie cards from my collection of Devin Booker from the Phoenix Suns.  While it may be a bit premature, Devin Booker has already made strides toward his quest of attaining legendary status.  Besides Booker putting up several 30 point games in his rookie season and being mentioned as “one of the youngest ever” in multiple categories on almost a daily basis, it was a game during his second season that has really made fans of the NBA turn their heads toward the budding star.

On 03/24/2017,  Devin Booker poured in 70 points against the Boston Celtics.  This was the 10th highest scoring game in NBA history, and he became one of just six players to ever score 70 points in a single game.  Only the future will tell how legendary Booker will continue to become.