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Thursday, October 30, 2008

1980-81 Topps Basketball Atlanta Hawks Team Set

Here's the first team set I promised from 1980-81 Topps basketball. Yes, I'm doing 'em all, this is my basketball 'thing' this year just like the vintage college football cards are my football 'thing'. Hockey doesn't quite have a 'thing' yet, but I'm thinging about it. It's a loooong offseason. Even longer than the game 5 rain delay. Anyway the first team set is who else - the Atlanta Hawks.

#3 Dan Roundfield East All-Star
#5 John Drew East All-Star
#13 Eddie Johnson East All-Star

The first 18 cards in the set are All-Star cards, and the Hawks have three representatives in the subset. The Hawks were pretty darn good in the '79-80 season, they went 50-32 and won the Central division. They got bounced in the first round by the 76ers which is par for the course for the Hawks.

The backs of the All-Star cards act as the checklists for the set. The cards are pretty tiny so each card has only 14 or 15 players listed. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking right now... I don't care at all about these stupid little cards but dang they look familiar! Well that;s because the design is mostly swiped from the 1978 Topps set.

A little skinnier, the name and frame are both the same color and the position is moved to the bottom, but they are pretty much the same. I know Rowland Office is awesome, but back to the hoops.
#19 John Drew Scoring Leader
#20 Dan Roundfield Rebound Leader

#21 Armond Hill Assist Leader

The set is ordered by team with the exception of a few players who changed teams in the offseason. The Hawks are cards 19-29 and 126. The first three cards of each team set are team leader cards showing the leader in scoring, rebounding and assists. The leading stat is shown on the front where the position would otherwise go because the back shows a different stat:

Instead of the single season leader, Topps shows the all-time franchise in these categories. As you can see Bob Pettit was the franchise leader in scoring and rebounding while Lenny Winkens led in assists. Now to the individual players.

#22 Charlie Criss

Charlie came off the bench at guard for the Hawks, the 5-8 Criss has done a lot of color commentary on the Hawks' broadcasts.

#23 John Drew

A huge scoring talent for the Hawks, Drew was traded to the Jazz for Dominique Wilkins in 1982and ended up banned fron the league for drug violations.

#24 Steve Hawes

The uncle of Kings center Spencer Hawes, I remember Steve as the guy getting pwned by Artis Gilmore on a poster that hung in my room for years.

#25 Armond Hill

The Hawks starting point guard, Armond is now an assistant coach for the Celtics.

#26 Eddie Johnson

A great scorer who ended up completely destroying his life. Cocaine is a helluva drug, folks.

#27 James McElroy

James was a reserve guard for the Hawks, as evidenced by his extremely red warm up jacket. There are quite a few cards in this set with weird color.

#28 Tree Rollins

I was extremely impressed with Tree when I was a little kid. I asked my uncle one time if he thought the Hawks would retire his number and he said "for what? having the lowest points per game average?" I was disappointed, but still impressed with Tree.

#29 Dan Roundfield

Dan Roundfield was the first big star I remember on the Hawks. He could score, but was best known for his defense.

#126 Tom Burleson

Tom is one of those players who are stuck in another team after signing in the offseason. Note the Kings jersey. Tom was once the 3rd overall pick in the draft, appropriate since he scored 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds a game while backing up Tree.

Last but not least, a cartoon. Everyone knows Wayne Rollins is Tree, but did you know Charlie Criss was known as Mosquito? And that's just one of his nicknames. I hardly dare to take a guess at the rest.


shoeboxlegends said...

Those cards are great.

If you needed any convincing that cocaine is a terrible drug, the story of "Fast Eddie" Johnson should do the trick...

Unknown said...

Tom Burleson - never did much as a pro, but was a great player on the NC State teams with David Thompson. He's now a Christmas tree farmer in the mountains of NC.