2012-13 Panini Crusade Basketball Review

I was skeptical of this product upon release.  I kind of felt like the ‘prism’ technology had runs it’s course.  I was also concerned because the season is practically over and how many basketball products is there really a demand for in the market?

I saw 3 cases opened yesterday.  I must say that I was surprised when I saw it.  The base cards are decent looking.  Not overly fond of the winged look.  However, the gold foil does stand out and it’s a relatively basic looking card.  One thing Panini did a GREAT job of was including RCs in the base set.  They didn’t include all of them.  Just a handful of the best ones.  Here is a scan of the Kyrie base.  You can click on any of the pictures for eBay links.

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Panini also did a solid job with the inserts.  They fall only 1 per box.  They actually have some value because Panini made the sets pretty large and fairly hard to get.  So getting a specific guy isn’t easy.  And because they put current stars and past stars, the checklists are pretty strong.  Here is a LeBron Nobility.

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The Jersey cards are nice looking.  They are all jumbo swatches.  The checklist is huge.  There is a Majestic jersey with 100 different guys and a Quest jersey with 100 different guys.  There are some good names and some not so good names on the checklist.  Panini did a good job with this because it prevents from getting too many duplicates when you open a lot of this product.  Out of the 3 cases I saw, there weren’t many that I saw show up again and again.  Even if you’re getting bad names, it at least keeps it interesting.  Here are the jersey cards.

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The patches are absolutely awesome.  This is where Panini really made a difference with this product.  They put GREAT patches on these cards.  And they are all #ed to 25 or less.  Since the checklists are so big, the patches aren’t terribly hard to hit.  The 3 cases had 8 patches.  First case had 1, second case had 3 and the third case had 4.  The player selection for these cases was fantastic.  Really only 1 bad player in the bunch.  Check out these patches:

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Those patches are ridiculous.  The only one that’s not amazing is the Wall and it’s still a solid 2-color.  Great job Panini.

Now the autographs are a bit of a different story.  I saw about 5 or 6 autographs that I would call “good” in the 3 cases.  There was a Larry Bird #ed /25.

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The other really good one was a Kevin Durant.  Sadly it was a redemption.  Still a nice card.   The other good ones were Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal and maybe Jimmy Butler or Chandler Parsons.  The autograph checklist is also huge and has some good names on it.  However, most of the better players are clearly short-printed.  I saw 3-4 of some of the lower end guys like Jordan Hamilton, Chris Copeland, Tornike Shengelia, Miles Plumlee, Kevin Jones and others.  Overall, the autographs are pretty disappointing.  You only get about 1 numbered autograph per case as well.  In addition to the Bird, these cases had a Danilo Gallinari /10, DeQuan Jones /25 and Joan Valanciunas /25.  Nothing too exciting.  And there are a decent amount of redemptions, which I don’t get since these are all sticker autographs.  I think there were 23 redemptions in 36 boxes.  That’s close to 20% of the autographs.  That’s tough.

Next up is the meat of the product.  That would be the Crusade inserts.  These cards look absolutely awesome.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these cards.  There are 6 different variations.  The base are Blue and are not numbered.  The Red are #ed to 99.  The Purple are #ed to 49.  The Green are #ed to 25.  The Gold are #ed to 10.  And the Black are #ed to 1.  The checklist is 300 cards.  That’s a HUGE checklist.  I really like that.  They put a ton of great retired players like Pete Maravich, Wilt Chamberlain, Yao Ming, Anfernee Hardaway, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and so many others.  There are also a ton of rookies in the set as well.

Nearly every box has 2 numbered Crusade variations.  The ones #ed to 25 and less are certainly the ones everyone will be chasing.  In the 3 cases we saw 9 Green /25 and 4 Gold /10.  So about 35% of the boxes had at least a Green /25.  I didn’t see any Blacks.  The kicker on these cards is that they seem to be selling very well on eBay.  I imagine a lot of people would like to build sets or rainbows of their favorite players.  Here are a few of the cards.

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Overall, I’d give the product a solid B+.  I love the Crusade inserts and the patches.  And Panini did a great job making the sets large so that they would be collectible and harder to hit a specific player.  The autographs definitely could have been better in terms of quality or player and some on-card.  A solid job by Panini across the board though and not a bad buy for around $105.



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