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It’s Gotta Be the Shoes: Sneak a Peek Inside Panini America’s Immaculate Basketball

August 25, 2014

Panini America 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball Shoes Blake Griffin 1

Back in the late 1980s, Spike Lee helped Nike put Air Jordans on the mainstream map with his entertaining portrayal of Mars Blackmon, a hype man of the highest order who contended in a series of now-classic commercials that the greatness of Chicago’s otherworldly basketball superstar could be attributed to one thing: “It’s gotta be the shoes.” Truth be told, there was a little more than just sweet footwear at the heart of No. 23’s unrivaled brilliance, no matter how much of a global phenomenon the Air Jordan empire has become in the last 30 years or so.

In the years since, sneakers — from Nike, adidas, Reebok, Fila, Converse, Under Armour and more — have become an intimate part of an NBA player’s identity. And in the upcoming release of 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball, Panini America will pay tribute to that trend in true groundbreaking fashion with a pair of insert sets that feature the most extensive — and jaw-dropping — use of game-worn NBA shoes in trading card history.

Appropriately dubbed “Sneak Peek” and “Sole of the Game,” the new additions to the Immaculate Basketball insert roster will deliver some of the most unique trading cards collectors have ever seen; extra-thick history-makers featuring brand logos, size tags, soles, player names, tongue pieces and more from game-worn shoes of the NBA’s greatest players. Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Pumps? They’re in there. Larry Johnson’s Converse Reacts? In there. Nikes worn by Kobe Bryant . . . and LeBron James . . . and Blake Griffin . . . and Kevin Durant . . . and Kyrie Irving? Yep, those are in there, too — along with other famous footwear presented in a completely revolutionary forum.

In the gallery below (a sneak peek of Sneak Peek, so to speak), we showcase just some of the game-worn shoes — many of them in various forms of deconstruction — utilized for 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball. And if you think these preliminary images are spectacular, wait until you see the cards.

So, what’s going to make 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball one of the most spectacular trading card products . . . ever? To quote the great Mars Blackmon: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” Enjoy this preliminary perusal and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance in the coming days for a complete gallery of every card created for the Sneak Peek insert.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian K. permalink
    August 25, 2014 9:32 am

    This may be the closest we get to seeing Michael Jordan in Panini products for now, but props for getting those kicks. That’d be so cool to pull a card with a giant Jumpman logo on it.

  2. Travis permalink
    August 25, 2014 12:19 pm

    Any chance we’ll see shoe cards “laced up” like we do in Prime Ties?

  3. August 25, 2014 4:40 pm

    It would be cool to get a video on how you guys and gals allocate those in the cards.
    To see the process! I think it would be very interesting to see.

  4. slobbythegreat permalink
    August 25, 2014 7:03 pm

    Omg!!! I see the “P”… I’m that excited….a little bit of wee came out!!

  5. Nick Gauder permalink
    August 25, 2014 7:15 pm

    Wow I can’t wait to see the finished product! These card will make Immaculate EVERYBODYS favorite basketball product! It’s been mine since it premiered last year and I can’t wait to bust open the 2 boxes I preordered! Great job Panini, amazing job!

  6. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    August 26, 2014 5:38 am


  7. August 27, 2014 4:59 am

    Please put a disclaimer on these: do not scratch and sniff this card, results may be inpleasant. LOL! Thanks Tracy!

    • Patrick permalink
      August 29, 2014 3:54 pm

      Yes….I see Converse
      React Juice! Can’t wait to see these L J cards!


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