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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Last of the basketball cards (at least 'till the playoffs)

Here's the rest of the vintage hoops cards. Sick of 'em yet? Don't worry, the NBA playoffs are still a couple of weeks away. I'll spare you the hoops 'till then.

1974-75 Kermit Washington

Punch one guy in the face and that's all anyone talks about. Kermit was a good player! He was a big enforcer who could clean the boards, block some shots and keep anyone from messing with Kareem. And hey, Rudy T was about to mess with Kareem. If Tomjanovich up and bum rushed President Carter instead of Kareem that day, Secret Service would have taken him out. That's what Kermit was, Lakers Secret Service. Ok, so it was scary. Thanks to the incident the NBA codified their fighting rules which has been good for the game even if it gets silly when people are suspended in the playoffs for getting off the bench and stepping their pinky toe on the court during a fight. Rudy got better and ended up a title winning coach. Did you know Kermit coached a team to a championship? He led the 2004-2005 Asheville Altitude (the whaa?) to the NBDL title.

Seriously though, he's a good guy who is active in charitable works. And check out the biographical blurb - he's in a class with Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Dr. J, Artis Gilmore (Why the hell isn't he in the Hall of Fame yet?!?!) Paul Silas and Walter Dukes as the only players to average 20 points and 20 boards in college. No one's done it since Kermit.

1973-74 NBA Checklist

This checklist is a little sad because someone obviously started checking off their basketball cards, but gave up after just 6 cards. Why did they do that? Thay had some good cards - Tiny Archibald, Nate Thurmond, Clyde Frazier... Did they just get bored? Did a friend or big brother chide them for marking up their checklist? Were they sorting their cards in the middle of the freeway and then - WHAMMO? It's a mystery that may never be solved. I felt bad for this poor neglected card so I checked off the box for the checklist and the box for the next card coming up...

1973-74 Garfield Heard

This photo is legendary. You hear me?

LEGEN -


wait for it...

DARY.

He's shooting a jump shot in the bathroom. And trying to figure out how the hell he's going to put arc on the ball when he's already skimming the ceiling. If there's a better photo on a trading card that prominently features grout badly in need of scrubbing, then I'd like to know about that photo. I don't think it exists, quite frankly.

Topps completely disrespected the man who would make The Shot with this card. You have the bathroom jumper on the front, and the cartoon back has ouchie stars coming from Gar's crotch. What the hell, Topps? Respect the Garfield!

1975-76 Campy Russell

Kermit, Garfield and Campy. What a group of awesome names. Campy didn't get his nickname for his outdoorsmanship or love of musical theater, his middle name is Campanella. Gotta love the Cavs jersey with the stripes. Sometimes I think the NBA awards bonus money for the ugliest uniforms.

This is Campy's rookie card. There were four rookies in the pack, Dennis Awtry, John Long, Kermit Washington and Russell. I wonder if there are more rookie cards in vintage basketball sets than in baseball sets. Perhaps due to less players, less cards and more player churn? The extra ABA cards probably provide a lot of rookies in the '70s sets. Someone needs to do a statistical analysis on that.

1987-88 Fleer Charles Barkley Sticker

We finish up with the Round Mound of Rebound's second year Fleer sticker. This set is the only one from the ealry Fleer releases where I didn't buy any packs. I probably would have if I had ever seen any. I have a few cards from the set but nowhere near a complete set. It's a shame because I really like the design. The stickers are pretty cool too, and were a neat chase set back then. I wonder how many of these stickers ended up getting stuck on something?

Fleer wasn't stingy with the word count on these stickers, which was another cool thing about them. They were efficient too. No flowing prose for them, just factoids separated by ellipses. There's a lot of information packed into these cards! You can see Barkley's progression into an All-star and eventually a legend.

Good stuff for four bucks! Beats the hell out of a hobby pack of UDX, that's for sure.

2 comments:

Bay Rat North West said...

Hey Garfield:

HANG IN THERE!

I started laughing as soon as I saw the tile in the back and thought the same thing. Before I saw anything after DARY.

MattR said...

It would be pretty hard for Gar to shoot one of his patented rainbow shots in there! That shot he made in game 6 of the 75-76 championships was one of the great shots of all-time!