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 TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Panini inks agreements with 7 NBA prospects
Posted Jun 26, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Jun 26, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The 2012 NBA Draft is Thursday, but Panini America already has come to agreement with some highly rated picks.
Panini announced Tuesday that it has reached trading card agreements with seven of the top projected first-round picks. Signing agreements were Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, Jared Sullinger and John Henson.
Kidd-Gilchrist was a member of Kentucky’s national championship team this season, while Robinson was the Big 12 Player of the Year at Kansas. Barnes, out of North Carolina, won All-ACC honors.
The agreements allow Panini exclusive rights to produce autographed trading cards of these players. They will join top members of the 2011 NBA Draft class – including Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Kenneth Faried — to form a Double Rookie Card class in all of Panini America’s 2012-13 NBA trading card releases. This marks the first time a Double Rookie Card class has existed in the NBA, Panini said in a news release.
Sullinger was a first-team All-America selection out of Ohio State. Rivers is the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and starred at Duke. Henson was a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year at North Carolina, while Drummond averaged 10 points in his only season at Connecticut.
In a news release, Panina America CEO Mark Warsop said the signings offer collectors an “unprecedented opportunity.”
“We’re genuinely excited to add these gentlemen — the next generation of NBA superstars — to the Panini America family, and we can’t wait to get their first trading cards into the hands of fans and collectors,” he said. “The presence of these players in our complete line of 2012-13 products, in concert with the best rookies from the 2011-12 season, will create an unprecedented opportunity for fans and collectors to pursue a Double Rookie Card class.”
In a news release, Lisa Goldberg, the NBA’s vice president of licensing and global merchandising, lauded Panini for its innovation.
“Panini America continues to create new and innovative ways to generate excitement in the trading card industry,” she said, “and the 2012-13 double Rookie Card program is another example.”
Because of the NBA’s shortened season, Panini only has five products this season. There might be a whole bunch next season. And that’s good for basketball collectors.