This set has so many great memories for me, so many that even though it doesn't fit into what I normally like, it still propels it to #3 in my all time favorite sets.
#3: 1996-97 Metal
Why I like it: The memories. For a set that is mostly foil and mostly a player superimposed over a computer generated background, it's the best of that kind ever. But it's mostly the memories.
Set size/Completion: 250 cards, and I completed it on April 8th, 2014.
So where do the good memories come from? Well, they come from this set. My mom purchased a box of series 1 and every day I was able to get to school and make it through the day, she gave me a pack out of the box. Let me tell you, the thought of getting the pack of this set is the only thing that got me through some of those rough days. Back then, I was a little more awed by "shiny", I had not really realized yet how much I appreciated the use of real, unedited photos. By the time I did, the happiness this set brought me was already cemented in place. That's one of my best memories in nearly 30 years in the hobby (I collected cards for 8 years before I began collecting the NBA)
There's one other memory that bears mentioning as well. After the box of Series 1 was done, I was missing one base card- #1, Mookie Blaylock. I was unable to find that card for years. Several years later, I believe 1999 but I don't know for sure, we were at a card show at the Dutchess Mall, in Fishkill, NY. I believe it may have been the last show there, but I can't recall. A dealer had a copy of this set in his display case, and right on the top of the case was that missing #1 card. I remember asking if he had any more of the set, explaining why I was looking for that one card. He didn't, but he broke the complete set and gave it to me. I never met him before, and I never saw him since. I don't know his name or if he is still around. But it made a big impression on me! Hopefully he is still active in the hobby and reads this and remembers that. It made a huge impression on me and I am still very grateful to this day.
Here is that very card.
I believe my first Kobe Bryant card came from this set, as well. One thing I always think about when a new season starts, and all the new rookies make their way into my collection, is which of them will end up having long careers and end up being on lots of cards. Will any of them make it eventually to the top 10 in my collection? I don't think I thought about that in 1996 but I do now. Today Kobe is ranked third in my collection according to the Database, with more than 600 different cards. I keep my count differently- the Database assigns team cards, league leaders, multi-subject cards etc. to each person, where I don't- I keep track of them by team, by how many people appear on a card, and league leaders gets it's own count, for example. I also don't count college, multi-sport or other knockoffs as part of my NBA collection. So I surely do not have the 610 Kobe cards the Database shows I do as part of my collection...but it's still a lot. I won't know exactly how many I have of each person until I finish scanning and I don't see that happening until 2021 or later.
Eventually I began keeping track of the first card I got of each person, but I would not begin doing that until circa 2000, and a lot of those records were lost when my floppy disk crashed that I've talked about several times.
There were 12 inserts and 1 partial parallel. Most of the inserts fell one per box. I don't have all of them. The inserts all featured some sort of metal theme.
Some day, I want to complete all the inserts. Completing the parallel would likely not be possible but the inserts might be.
Because the scans don't really capture the cards well, here is an actual photo.
- #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
- #3 1996-97 Metal