Monday, May 25, 2009

Box Break: 2008-09 Upper Deck


This is going to be a very Celtics-centric box break, but that’s Upper Deck’s fault not mine.  Normally, I have to at least make a little effort to focus on the hometown teams, but with this box I had no choice.

This year’s Upper Deck design in nice and clean and lets the great photography shine.  You get a lot of great action shots in basketball since the photographers are so close to the action.  Also, with the advent of things like hoop cameras and center court roof cameras, you get a lot of cool shots that you wouldn’t see in the past.

There have been a few too many full bleed sets over the past decade or so.  It does start to get old after a while.  No one will be talking about this set design ten years from now.

There aren’t a lot of inserts in Upper Deck basketball, especially compared to this year’s baseball where you get some sort of insert in every pack.  Upper Deck does have Electric Court parallels, but they aren’t numbered and are not very desirable.  I pulled Mike Miller, Jason Richardson, Linas Kleiza and Andre Owens.


The other inserts are the Dynasty cards.  There are three sets of cards focusing on the Bulls, Lakers and Celtics.  Each card lists the years that player won an NBA Championship.  Some of these Celtics cards are ridiculous with that span of 8 Titles in a row and 11 over the course of 13 years.  Here’s K.C. Jones who was both a Celtics player and later a Celtics coach.  The Celtics won 8 titles in the 9 seasons that Jones was with the team.  The other Celtic that I pulled was Tom “Satch” Sanders.  I pulled Kareem and Mikan for the Lakers and Horace Grant and Rodman from the Bulls.  This Celtics set is definitely one that I could see myself chasing.  The singles are probably pricey since you only get two per box.


Here’s the only non-Celtics card that I’ll be posting.  This is actually the second time that I’ve pulled this card with the first coming out of loose packs.  It’s currently up on eBay and I’ll be amazed if it sells for a dollar.  For one of the rarer “hits,” this one sure is a miss.


KG!  Once he went down, the Celtics chances of repeating dropped drastically.  His scoring can be easily replaced, but it is defense that was sorely missed by the Celtics.  Here’s hoping that he heals quickly so that the Big Trio can make one more run at the title next season.

I wish that card companies would stop using old jersey swatches once a player is traded unless it is in one of those lame “flashback” relic cards.  Who wants a Kevin Garnett jersey card that’s green all over with a blue jersey in it?  One of the main reasons that I haven’t picked up a Pierce/Garnett/Allen jersey card is that they all have Timberwolf and Sonic jerseys in them.  Hella lame.


The Truth!  This card does have a green jersey swatch even if it does look brown in the scan.  This card will go right into my collection.  At this point I was pretty excited about this box.  I couldn’t have asked for two better jersey cards.  There was just one problem.  I opened the final packs and… no autograph card.  I know that Upper Deck says one per box on average, but Topps guarantees their hits and I feel that Upper Deck should do the same especially since it reads “Find 1 autograph” in huge print on the box with “on average” in tiny print.  They’re using the autographs to sell the boxes and you are paying more because they are included and so you should get one.  I’m going to include this box with my horrible baseball box and see what Upper Deck decides to so.

I would give this set’s design a B.  It’s nice, but nothing original.  If the photography wasn’t so good it would score lower.  The collation was good.  I got a full base set of cards 1-200 and didn’t get any doubles of the short printed rookies and legends.  Hopefully I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to finish off this set.  I think I need around 30 cards to complete it, but most of them are rookies.

Overall, I would have to give this box an A- because of the two Celtics jersey cards.  Even with a bum autograph (which I most likely would have gotten), this box would have gotten an A+, but since I didn’t get one at all I had to drop the grade.  Maybe Upper Deck will feel generous since they’re got to unload all of their basketball inventory anyway.

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