Base-Set Variations Bring Chase, Intrigue to 2012-13 Gold Standard Basketball
One of the most interesting — but perhaps less-heralded — aspects of Panini America’s Gold Standard Basketball brand during its first three years in existence has been the inclusion of veteran base-set variations that have created feeding frenzies for the rarest versions among impacted player collectors. The phenomenon began with that inaugural 2010-11 Gold Standard Basketball release and featured Pete Maravich, Patrick Ewing and Dennis Rodman.
The brand followed suit last year by releasing variations for six new legends, including Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Dikembe Mutombo. For the recently released 2012-13 Gold Standard Basketball, Panini America officials added seven new well-traveled stars to the variation game: Anfernee Hardaway, Grant Hill, Shawn Kemp, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Rasheed Wallace.
More than just providing compelling — and sometimes downright devilish — chases for player and set collectors, these Gold Standard SPs have become something of a delightful nomad’s land; a one-stop photographic summation of the featured player’s globetrotting NBA ways. Wallace, for example, is featured on six different variations in 2012-13 Gold Standard Basketball, one chronicling each of his career stops at Washington, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston and New York.
We’ve provided a complete visual guide to this year’s variations in the gallery below. One thing to note about the print runs of this year’s SPs: Each player appears on 349 total cards, regardless of how many variations he has. The quantity of each variation is tied to his tenure with a particular team. The shorter his career in one place, the rarer that team’s variation is.