I said in post #1 that there were some things about this list that surprised me when I was creating it...and this is the biggest. The surprise in this case is that this is the only Topps flagship that made the Top 20! It is also the only vintage set to make the list. For the NBA, vintage is 1985-86 and older. (Although I must admit if I went past #20, both #21 and 22 would both have been vintage sets). This is also the only set on the list older than I am.
#16: 1975-76 Topps
Why I like it: This was the first set that was truly done right, the only thing missing to make it perfect is the lack of coach cards.
Set size/Completion: 330 cards, and I have it completed!
As I mentioned above, this is the only Topps flagship that made my Top 20, and that is the biggest surprise to me of all. The Topps flagship set was the only game around when it came to basketball for more than a decade. Issued in 1957-58, and then no NBA cards at all until 1969-70, when Topps came back. They were again the only game in town until 1981-82, when they walked away from the NBA, not to return until 1992-93. They would stay until the NBA yanked their license during the 2009-10 season.
This was, by far, Topps' best effort of the 1970s. The set went to 330 cards which is the second largest Topps flagship set ever, tied with the aforementioned 2009-10. Only 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95 were larger, at 396 cards each. This set also included more action photos than any other Topps set before it, and there were no cards that had the team names edited out. Although there are still a large number of posed photos, there are more action shots in 1975-76 than there were in all the Topps base sets that came before it- combined! This was also the last year of the ABA's existence.
The one drawback of this set is the card numbers. They can be nearly impossible to read. Printed in dark blue on a dark green box, at a small size no less, they can be tough. Take a look at this one:
The set was the second to feature team cards. For the first time ever- and the only time in Topps history- teams got two cards. One had the team's yearly leaders, one was a checklist.
Most were staged photos....
Unfortunately there are some players who Topps never bothered to give even a single card to, and their only appearance on cardboard is on the team cards.
Topps would not issue team cards again until 1981-82, which I would consider set #21 in this 20 set countdown.
Most of the ABA players were staged photos- (and as you can see, not all cards were cut properly)
I completed the set on November 30th, 2002. A comic store we visited bought a collection and took in the entire set of 1975-76 and a handful of other vintage cards. It was the only time that shop ever had any basketball cards.
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