Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve means it's Secret Santa time!

It's Christmas Eve, and one of the traditions I've come to look forward to, is the opening of my Secret Santa package on that day...or this day, I should say. (Yes, you're actually getting a post written today, not written weeks or months ago and then scheduled!) I've done it on Christmas Eve all four times it's been held, with the first time in 2016, then 2017 and 2018 as well. (Funny weird thing I saw composing this post- I just finished scanning the cards I got last year within the last week! I had somehow missed scanning the Kyle Larson Elite Dominators card from last year!)

This year the Secret Santa was opened up to both bloggers and Database members, and I got Kmack, who, coincidentally, had just sent me a PIF within a couple of weeks of getting my name in the draw. Being a Database member, he knew exactly what I liked and wanted, and targeted the cards specifically to me- three of the non-sports cards from various Allen & Ginter sets, a new to me Elton, and a fatpack of this year's Hoops!

 This was the first card out of the package...
 The second. The PIF he sent me back at the end of October was 2 other cards from this same insert!
Next was this mini of Napoleon. I never think to look for the non-sports cards in Allen & Ginter, so these are very pleasing to me to add.
The last single card was my favorite though, as it just literally glows! Topps Gold Label only appeared in the NBA in 2 seasons, 1999-00 and 2000-01, this card is an insert from the second year. It shows the black alternate jersey, always a plus to get an alternate card, even if these jerseys aren't as nice as the black with red pinstripes worn just a few years before. By the Database's reckoning this is the 590th Elton in my collection, although in actuality it's less as they count league leaders, team cards, multi-subject cards etc. in those totals.

Now, moving onto the pack of Hoops...it's a 30 card pack, and I needed 27 of them (which is kind of crazy because I have only three 8 card packs worth of the set) but I did very, very well with this pack...
 It always is a good start when the first card out is your first card of a person...
And the second card out is one of the brightest young stars of the game, already playing his way into MVP conversation in only his second year in the league.
 The Miami Vice jerseys are always cool. They have worn them for three years now, originally neon pink, then black, this year's are neon blue.
 Drummond pulling down a rebound, his specialty.
Always thrilled to get a new Nets card! Allen is going to lead the league in blocks one of these years...soon! Mark my words.
 Both the Rockets and Thunder wearing alternate jerseys here.
 Don't see many players wear 99.
 Of all the cards in the set, this is the one I wanted the most! Craig is the first player who turned a two-way contract into not only a regular NBA role, but also a starting role, integral to his team! He started 2017-18 on a two-way contract, played so well he got converted to regular, and by the end of the year he was starting. He's not a big time scorer, but he's one of those heart-and-soul guys who make a team work; the Nuggets had the second best record in the West last year and he played a key role in that. It's his first card, I don't believe Panini included him in anything in his first two years...although I have not stayed up on that sort of thing like  I once did.
 Another heart-and-soul guy, Smart plays with a lot of passion.
 Ferguson is in his third year, but I don't know all that much about him, to be honest.
 He missed the entire 2018-19 season due to injury.
 Every year I tend to pull a lot of cards of one or two rookies, and last year Hamidou Diallo was that rookie...going so far to even pull two different cards of him out of the same pack at least once.
 What better than to pull a card of a man sometimes called Jingles as part of a Christmas exchange? He sports a throwback jersey here.
Jimmy Butler wearing one of the worst jerseys ever. It doesn't say it anywhere, but that's the 76ers' alternate from last year.
 Brogdon's career has been forever tainted in my eyes because he was awarded Rookie of the Year for political reasons. I shouldn't hold that against him, because he certainly did nothing wrong, but I'm just having a hard time accepting it.
 Nurkic broke both bones in his leg last year, and will likely end up missing more than an entire calendar year because of it. The injury occurred March 25th in a game against the Nets, which I was watching, and he's not expected back anytime soon.
I wasn't lucky enough to pull either of the Fatpack exclusive parallel colors but at least I got this cool Purple, my second Purple parallel from the set. It also shows their alternate jersey, which I really like. Of the 27 cards I needed in the pack, this is the only one that needed a scan on the Database.
 This insert shows the Kings' stupidly lettered but awesomely colored alternate. Sactown, really? That's the best you could do?
 My first card of the Class of 2019 insert is also my first card of the Knicks' RJ Barrett. This is my 2nd favorite card in the pack, after the Craig. Barrett, from Canada, actually grew up as a Knicks fan and was thrilled to come here...something most players wouldn't say. I like this card as well due to the group photo from the rookie photo shoot on each card.
 I've now opened 5 packs of the set and pulled three Arriving Now. inserts, and all three were my first card of each person. I just wish they hadn't made the player's skin color graytone. In case you are keeping track, that's 4 new players...
 Make that 5 new people for my collection...
 and six! I don't know anything about either of these guys yet, but that's changed now, or will, once I read the backs of the cards.
 Monk with the alternate jersey.
 7th new person
 I really dislike the Tribute subset. There are 525 players in the NBA, but Panini can't be bothered to make any sets larger than 300 cards. And now they are taking away 20 of those slots to make another card of somebody in the set, or of somebody who retired long ago. I wish we could either get rid of these subsets (in it's second year), or just make the sets larger and do it right. I don't know why they refuse to make a proper set.
8th new person added to my collection! This pack did a great job in helping my project of getting at least one card of everyone who's ever gotten one!
Kyle Anderson rounds out the pack. I don't even know which jersey is the alternate or the base for Memphis anymore, because they seem to rotate them every game. This might be the alternate or this might be the base...based on the floor color this photo was taken in Houston. You can't tell based on jersey color anymore, which is fine with me other than the fact it makes it a little harder to "place" a photo now. A truly minor concern.

Well, that's my Secret Santa haul! I think I did very, very well, adding 8 new people, a new Elton, and some cards I would never have gotten otherwise! I will have another post up sometime tomorrow, where I will show, if nothing else, my Christmas tree. Merry Christmas!


  1. Sweet. Another Japanese NBA player to chase down.

    1. I actually pulled another copy today, I'll send one of them to you. Next year but it's coming!

  2. That wooden floor on the Bird card is awesome! Great Secret Santa score! Merry Christmas!

  3. It's pretty cool that you were able to get so many new people from just one pack! I love Elton too, those GE inserts look awesome in person, I was fortunate enough to find a few in a dime box a few years ago, but haven't acquired any since.

    1. It's only my second from that insert. I pulled Lamar Odom from the box I did when the set was new.

  4. Your Elton Brand collection is very impressive! Merry Christmas, Billy!

    1. Thank you! I've made a lot of effort to make it great. Merry Christmas to you too!