Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NBA 20th Anniversary Countdown #6: 1996-97 Stadium Club

A set that at one point I didn't like, but as time went on I realized I really do like it- a lot!

#6: 1996-97 Stadium Club

Why I like it: The design and the memories. That's going to play a role in the entire top 5, as well

Set size/Completion: 180,  I have 178. The Database shows 100% because I have the two checklists as well, so it shows 180 of 180, when it's really 178 of 182.

As I mentioned the last time a Stadium Club card came up, they really were known for the photography. In 1996-97, the photography was really not really to the levels it would become just the next year, but it was still pretty darn good.

Each card featured a colored strip on the right that "dissolved" into the photo, and there were multiple colors. The player's name appeared in blue holofoil on an embossed holofoil strip in that color bar. When you have this set together, they are pretty much unstackable, because the name bar makes them flop over. I have not had my collection sorted by set since 2004, though, so it has not been an issue for me, and I don't think I will get my sets back together until at least 2021- probably later.

I never really realized how much I liked this set until recently. If I had made this countdown at my 15th anniversary it would have not cracked the top 10, and yet now it very nearly made the top 5!

The one big thing I dislike about this set is the way the rookies were handled. There are no rookie cards in the base set. Both series had an insert simply called "Rookies"...and both series were numbered R1-R20, with Rookies I having an R21-R25. The Series I rookies feature photos from the rookie photo shoot, while series 2 rookies have action photos.

Backs feature an action photo and a closeup shot. They also have the stat rankings like I talked about in the 1997-98 post. but I forgot that at the time I wrote that one up.

There are 18 inserts and 4 parallels, three of which I do not have in my collection. The one parallel I do have- Matrix- were only issued in series 1. It's unfortunate, as they are incredible. Some of the best parallels ever issued. They don't scan well though.
 Class Acts was available in Finest, Refractor and Atomic Refractor versions. This is a refractor, and it is double sided- this is one card.
Fusion, which was two cards per team that supposedly you could put together to make one. I don't have both versions of any team so I don't know if it works or not. The cards feature a gold holofoil that scans yellow-green.
 Golden Moments
 High Risers. The background is hologram, and the player in embossed.
 Matrix. You can kind of see how these glow in this scan
Pick Up Game. These were included in at least 4 different sets in 1996-97. Finding checklists for them is quite difficult. 
 Rookie Showcase, using holograms again. (The world needs more holograms)
 Rookie I
 Rookie II
 Shining Moments
 Special Forces
Welcome Addition. This is a forerunner to the Transactions cards that would appear as a subset in Stadium Club sets from 1997-98 through 2000-01.

Top Crop, a dual-sided insert that is printed on holographic stock. Really striking in hand, not as nice in scan.


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  2. I totally agree with your comment about the rookies. I bought the Kobe Rookies in the summer of 97 at a garage sale. I can't remember how much I paid, but my guess is between $.50-1. But I remember being really bummed out when I looked it up in Beckett and saw it was considered an insert. Still...not a bad buy on my part, I suppose.

    1. Definitely a good buy! Regardless of what Beckett says, they are the rookie cards for the set. I think I pulled mine but I can't remember for sure, I got it during the season- both series actually- and I just can't remember. I actually just scanned both Kobe rookies after I made this post.