The Books of Love: Panini America Previews 2011 Preferred Basketball’s Booklet Bliss

March 02, 2012

This morning, in the far back corner of the Panini America production facility (to the left of all the heavy machinery that prints, cuts, stamps, shrink wraps and otherwise wows me every single time I go), I watched as our NBA brand managers, Keith Hower and Wes Elliott, put the finishing touches on the hand-collation process for 2011 Preferred Basketball.

OK, so “watched” might not be the most accurate word. I ogled. And the fact that this particular part of the production process was being conducted  in a high-security cage spoke volumes about the precious nature of what was on the other side of the fence.

For the record, it was every card slated for insertion in Preferred, including a presidential library’s worth of what no doubt will become some of the best-selling basketball books of all time; a supreme cache of majestic, multi-colored marvels that will fall one per box in the highly anticipated debut of the product.

Amid all of the Preferred previews we’ve shared to date, this morning was the first time I’d been lucky enough to lay my eyes on the booklets. And for me at least, the wait was well worth it and — in concert with the autographed Silhouettes, Panini’s Choice Awards and Preferred Signatures cards — served to crystallize the unbridled potential of this new product.

You can spend some quality time with a few good books in the gallery that follows. And stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance next week for additional coverage from today’s pre-packout process, including exclusive video.