#4: 1990-91 Hoops
Why I like it: It's the first perfect set. The design. The player's full name appearing on back.
Set Size/Completion: 440 cards, not counting variations. I have 433 of them, plus several of the variations to bring my collection to 437 of 452 possible variations.
What makes a perfect set? To me, there are several criteria for a perfect set, and the number of sets that reach that mark are few, and none have been issued since 1994-95. These are the five things things a set must have to be considered perfect:
- Every player or darn close to it on their own card. Obviously some players are going to join a team after the cards go to press, so some leeway is allowable. but no more than 10 to 15 players missing is acceptable.
- Coaches. The coach is a vital part of the team. They need to be included.
- Something documenting the previous season's events. It can be League leaders, an all-star subset, a rundown of the playoffs, etc. Ideally more than on of the above. This set does not have league leaders but it has the other two.
- Team cards. This can range from the great (like 1992-93 Upper Deck) to the simple, which would be a team checklist, which is what this set has.
- Actual photos, not just a player superimposed over a computer generated background.
When I first discovered the sport in February 1996, I started adding older cards almost instantly. Although I can't be sure, this set is one of three that I got right at the beginning, still on the shelves at my local K-Mart. I was able to procure boxes of three old sets, but I don't know which one was the first. Whichever it was, it was the first NBA box I'd ever opened...it would not be the last. One of the other sets was the second Action Packed Hall of Fame set. A great set that could not come anywhere near the top 20 due to the fact that it was only a 38 card set. The other set is still to come in the countdown.
The yellow they used varied widely; even multiple copies of the same card could be totally different shades, ranging from very dark to almost white.
There was only one insert, literally only one card, honoring the 1989-90 All-Rookie team, which came in two versions (with and without stats). I don't believe I have either.
There were several good subsets in the set. The majority of the set was made up of basic player cards, but there were several subsets. I normally have not shown subsets in this rundown but for this set I will make an exception.
At one point in time, I had so many duplicates from this set, they reached more than 2 feet high! I've since given most of them away, though.
- #20: 2002-03 Topps 10
- #19: 2004-05 Topps Total
- #18: 2002-03 Topps Pristene
- #17: 1992-93 Ultra
- #16: 1975-76 Topps
- #15 1996-97 SP
- #14 1992-93 Upper Deck
- #13 2012-13 Hoops
- #12 1997-98 Ultra
- #11 1992-93 Fleer
- #10 1994-95 Fleer
- #9 1996-97 Upper Deck
- #8 1997-98 Stadium Club
- #7 1995-96 Fleer
- #6 1996-97 Stadium Club
- #5 1996-97 Fleer
- #4 1990-91 Hoops