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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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Panini Contenders basketball set for January release

Posted Nov 7, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Election Day is now history, but new contenders already have emerged.

We’re talking basketball.  For the first time since 2009-10 — Panini America’s first year as the exclusive manufacture for NBA trading cards — collectors will be able to buy Contenders basketball cards. There was a hybrid version of the brand in 2010-11 (Contenders Patches) and nothing in 2011-12, but Contenders will be returning in early January.

Panini promises that the 20-pack hobby box will have four autographs, with at least three of them being rookie cards. The base set will contain 200 cards with parallels in silver, black and gold. There will be 100 rookie autograph cards and a 100-card memorabilia insert.

Two insert sets will be difficult to complete. Hall of Fame Contenders will fall one in every 20 cases, while Throwback Rookie Tickets can be found one in every 13 cases. Those are some long odds.

More obtainable inserts and relics include Contemporary Contenders, which honors the game’s top players who contend for championships each year.

Substantial Signatures is Contenders’ answer to Preferred Silhouettes, and will include generously sizes jersey swatch patches and autographs.

Historic Contenders Autographs will focus on the game’s legends.

Contenders Materials includes large memorabilia swatches from the NBA’s top stars and will include a short-printed Prime chase version.

Look for Contenders shortly before Inauguration Day. It’s a fitting time to release the product, because political contenders already are jockeying for the 2014 midterm and 2016 national elections. You’ll probably get a better return with Panini’s product in the short term, however.

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