I do know that my expectations were very high for 2012-13 Panini Select Basketball. Hell, it's called "Select," and the dude that sold it to me seemed pretty stoked on it. I probably shouldn't have pumped myself up for it so much. I also should have looked at some of the press releases. Unfortunately, Select was ultimately underwhelming. A tale of the good, the bad, and the ugly - told with pictures:
We'll start off with the good. I love the base cards in Select. The cards are classy and the players are elegantly displayed. There is a museum portrait-like quality to the regular base cards, with their cohesion of silver/gold borders, color-matched backgrounds, and cropped action poses. I bet these would look awesome as a completed set.
I hate James Harden's beard. Hate it! Here are two Prizm parallel base cards. I did not pull any of the gold or black Prizms, respectively numbered to 25 and 1. The Prizm technology makes the base cards pop even more. Very aesthetically pleasing. I am suddenly kind of inspired to collect a complete base set of Select Prizms.
Here's where it gets a bit ugly. (Yes, I'm aware that I am going out of order.) The inserts in Select are plain ugly. They look uninspired. That Patrick Ewing card on the left looks heinous and ridiculous. The Chris Paul insert on the right is boring. Panini did such a good job on the base cards that the insert cards became so underwhelming for me.
The elegance is gone. Nice players, but these cards look like posters that would be hanging in Guy Fieri's man cave. The cards above might be much improved without the shoddy flames in the background.
I like the idea of the "In Flight" set (see Ricky Rubio on the left), but the execution was bad. It looks like an in-flight magazine ad, not a sports card. "White Hot" bollocks. Pointless inserts. You might be able tell that my photography quality went down for the insert cards because I stopped caring.
This is just bad. Really, Panini? Apologies to Royce White, but no one wants this. Goddamn you. I guess at least one hit is always going to be a "garbage" hit. At least the card looks nice. In fact, the rest of the hits are as excellently designed as the base cards. Rookie Prizm auto #'d 004/199.
Kyle Singler, rookie Prizm auto-relic, #'d 012/199. Singler went to Dook. The team logo could be bigger on these cards.
Tobias Harris, on-card rookie autograph, #'d 002/299. This kid is tearing it up. Not a "garbage" hit, indeed!
This card is sweet! J.J. Redick, Select Stars prime Prizm autograph-jersey relic, #'d 10/10. I have been searching for a nice Redick auto for a while, and what do you know, pulled one here. I believe there are only 25 players in this subset.
I feel that Panini could have been, well, more selective for a higher-end basketball product like Select. Royce White was taken in the first round, yes, but come on. Also, I thought the inserts were completely awful. I probably would not be so underwhelmed if I had tempered my expectations too. All things considered, I guess 2012-13 Panini Select wasn't so bad. It could have been a Topps hobby box where half the cards are damaged and you get shorted a hit.
I leave you with the Kobe Anthology pack that came with the box:
These make for much better inserts.
Please make the playoffs, Lakers. More Nash.