Appreciating the Patchtastic Splendor of Art Nouveau in 2013-14 Court Kings Basketball

March 26, 2014

Panini America 2013-14 Court Kings Basketball Art Nouveau Patches (9)

Aside from my wife and kids, there’s not much I love more in this world than 1980s R&B music and plague-level sick prime memorabilia cards (I’m not quite sure what that says about me, exactly, but it is what it is). Given that background, though, it’s pretty easy to understand why I find something profusely sublime about the Art Nouveau insert in Panini America’s new 2013-14 Court Kings Basketball release.

For starters, the name instantly reminds me of Club Nouveau, the R&B group whose spectacular 1986 debut album “Live, Love & Pain” featured instant hits such as “Jealousy,” “Why You Treat Me So Bad” and “Lean On Me.” For the record, those songs also provided the soundtrack in my head the first time I saw one of Court Kings’ Art Nouveau cards. But after seeing all 30 of them (and in their numbered-to-10 Patch versions, no less), I needed to heed the advice of that reimagined Bill Withers classic and find something on which to lean. Much to my surprise, “Art Nouveau” is not French for “weak in the knees” — but it should be.

To be sure, the 30-card Art Nouveau set (for the record, “nouveau” is French for “new”) is one of the most stunning aspects of a live-today 2013-14 Court Kings Basketball product packed with 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 works of art masquerading as trading cards. But for me, the following 30 cards represent the crème de la crème. Now, cue up Club Nouveau on your internal Walkman and enjoy . . .