Base-Set Variations Bring Chase, Intrigue to 2014-15 Gold Standard Basketball (Gallery)
One of the most interesting — but perhaps less-heralded — aspects of Panini America’s Gold Standard Basketball brand during its first four years in existence has been the inclusion of veteran base-set variations that have created feeding frenzies for the rarest versions among impacted player collectors. The phenomenon began with that inaugural 2010-11 Gold Standard Basketball release and featured Pete Maravich, Patrick Ewing and Dennis Rodman.
The brand has followed suit in the years since by releasing variations for retired legends and current stars such as Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Dikembe Mutombo, Anfernee Hardaway, Grant Hill, Shawn Kemp, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Rasheed Wallace and more. For the recently released 2014-15 Gold Standard Basketball, it’s no secret by now that the variations are back in a big way with cards honoring LeBron James, Pau Gasol, Shawn Marion, Jeremy Lin, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Alonzo Mourning, Scottie Pippen, Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber.
More than just providing compelling — and sometimes downright devilish — chases for player and set collectors, these Gold Standard SPs have become something of a delightful nomad’s land; a one-stop photographic summation of the featured player’s globetrotting NBA ways. Webber, for example, is featured on seven different variations in 2014-15 Gold Standard Basketball, one each chronicling his stints with Sacramento, Golden State, the Washington Bullets, the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia, Detroit and his second stay in Golden State.
We’ve provided a complete visual guide to this year’s variations in the gallery below. One thing to note about the print runs of this year’s SPs: Each player appears on 285 total cards, regardless of how many variations he has. The quantity of each variation is tied to his tenure with a particular team. The shorter his career in one place, the rarer that team’s variation is — making for some cards limited to as low as 10 copies.
Among the key SSPs dotting this year’s variation checklist are Marion (Miami), Lin (Golden State), Webber (Washington Bullets, Washington Wizards and Detroit), Mourning (Nets), Davis (Cleveland) and Iverson (Denver, Detroit and Memphis).
Enjoy the visual checklist: