Look! A Bunch of Old and Goofy Basketball Cards!

I’m tired, my brain is weary. So instead of subjecting you to 500 words of maybe coherent rubbish, here’s a bunch of basketball cards from my private collection that are just awesome, or bad, or both.

THE AWESOME ROOKIE CARDS OF THE 1996 DRAFT CLASS

Yes, that’s the one and only Stephon Marbury with that one and only part going down the center of his head. According to the description on the reverse of the card, Marbury was the “solid point guard [who] could make [Minnesota’s] rebuilding process take a giant step toward completion.” Turns out it was a giant step toward disaster. Good thing they traded Ray Allen for Starbury on draft night. Amirite?

This is about as affectionate Kobe has ever been with anything. And lest you think the straight-out-of-high-school phenom was lacking in credentials to join the NBA, he was the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania basketball history. Upper Deck really knew how to hunt down facts.

Despite being born in Soviet Ukraine, center Vitaly Potapenko is the happiest lark yet in this obscenely picture-driven blog post. Again, Upper Deck unearths some Rosetta Stone like info. Apparently, Vitaly scored 18 straight points against the Bullets once. Sadly,  Zydrunas Ilgauskas  would be the 1996 Cavs draftee who would dominate the Cavs pivot for years to come.

Antoine Walker is so happy. He must be thinking of a) shimmying, b) taking four point shots or c) the Golden Corral.

Bringing up the rear in our ’96 Draft Class showcase is Steve Nash. People would have called you absolutely crazy, if you told them Nash would be an all-star in 2012 while Stephon Marbury was exiled in China. Upper Deck again provides Confucious like wisdom and scouting though. Accurately, they point out that Nash was relegated to little use thanks to the presence of Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson, but was a very talented point guard. In his 1st career start (at Vancouver no less!) he put up 17 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds.

POINT AND LAUGH AT CURRENT HEAD COACHES IN THE FINAL DAYS OF THEIR PLAYING CAREERS

First off, these Skybox cards are possibly the most bizarre cards I have ever seen. Even for Skybox, this is ghastly and trippy, but anyway let’s talk about Byron Scott.  The expansion Vancouver Grizzlies snatched Byron from the Indiana Pacers. The 34-year old Scott responded by having his worst season since his rookie year. He escaped from British Columbia the next year, played for the Lakers once more and then retired. Now he’s at the helm of the Kyrie Irvings.

Emerging from some sort of radioactive hell in this card is Vinny Del Negro. Coincidentally, Vinny may currently be leading the Clippers into the radioactive abyss. Things are currently not looking good in Clipper Land. Same as it ever was.

Joining his 8th team in 12 years, Tyrone Corbin was truly a “Welcomed Addition” for the 1997 Atlanta Hawks. Unwelcomed was his footwear: Fila. Those were perhaps the lamest shoes you could wear on a basketball court in 1997. I’m glad I was able to afford some suave And 1 shoes.

AND FINALLY, THE LOCH NESS MONSTER SECTION OF “YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT UNLESS YOU SAW IT” CARDS

Yep, that’s Robert Parish with the Chicago Bulls. His addition in 1996-97 kept the Bulls in the championship race and pushed them to 69 regular season wins. He retired after winning his 4th ring and the Bulls promptly fell to a measly 62 wins in 1998.

Fleer was never my favorite card company and these ridiculous shimmering metallic cards did nothing to change that. But finding Mark Price in a Golden State uniform is the most insane thing going on here. The sad last leg in a brilliant career for Price.

Robert Horry spent a grand total of 32 games with the Phoenix Suns and yet Skybox was still able to capture him on film. I would have thought Horry at least would have thrown a towel over their camera lens to prevent any evidence of him being in a Suns uniform.

No, you’re not crazy. That is indeed the Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins, playing for the San Antonio Spurs. Nique played for the Spurs during their one terrible season in the last 25 years. David Robinson was lost to injury and even at age 78 Wilkins gave the fans something to watch throwing down a memorable putback dunk that I can’t find on YouTube.Trust me it was pure awesome. No one could believe Dominique could still get up like he did on that back. And he threw it down on top of at least two other defenders. Amazing.

And that concludes this stroll down lazy blogging lane. Hope you enjoyed the cards.

Seth Carstens