Most major card makers able to cover Magic's return to NBA in first series

MEMORABILIA

November 01, 1992|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Magic Johnson's Sept. 29 announcement that he was returning to the NBA was early enough that, of the major companies producing NBA sets, only Fleer won't have Johnson in its first series.

After his retirement, Johnson signed an exclusive agreement with SkyBox International Inc., maker of NBA Hoops and SkyBox. Once he renounced his retirement and signed a contract, he was again covered by the NBA players association's licensing agreements.

Hoops, with an eight-card subset, and SkyBox, with a five-card subset, ended up having a jump on their competitors rather than an exclusive. Their production was complete by then, as was Fleer's.

"When we signed the exclusive trading card agreement with Magic after his retirement, we knew it would be beneficial regardless of whether Magic ever put on a basketball uniform again," says Frank O'Connell, president of SkyBox International.

Spokeswoman Melissa Verdugo of Upper Deck says Johnson will be on four cards in its low series, which is due out in mid-November. One card features Johnson ("Magic returns") and Larry Bird ("Bird retires") on opposite sides of insert card No. SP, making the set up to date. A 20-card insert set called "Jerry West selects" features the Lakers' general manager's favorite players. Johnson appears on cards as best point guard, most inspirational and best court leader.

According to Topps' Timm Boyle, Johnson will be found in Topps' first series, which is expected out in late November, and Stadium Club's first series, which follows in early December. Topps will produce no Bowman basketball this year.

Action Packed update

Ever wonder why there was never a day-glo card of "Neon" Deion Sanders? Wonder no more. Gaudy colors on a special insert card honor the two-sport star in Action Packed's 84-card rookie/update set, due out this month. The set has all the NFL's first-round draft picks except the Washington Redskins' Desmond Howard. All rookies are shown in their NFL uniforms, and one such card is guaranteed to be in each seven-card pack. Big names in the set are Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Randall Cunningham, Jim Kelly, Eric Dickerson and Michael Dean Perry.

Pro Set schedule

Pro Set, with a new logo and redesigned cards, is back in the market place. The Dallas-based card maker, operating under bankruptcy protection, will release its NHL Series I this week and NFL Series II Nov. 15. Jumbo packs of both products are expected later in the month. A premium NFL card will be released in December and Parkhurst Series I at the end of the year. All new releases feature numbered cases, and Pro Set says it will destroy all products unsold at wholesale prices.

Record-breaking Monk cards

NFL Properties will issue a nine-card Pro Line Profile of Art Monk which includes a card of his record-breaking 820th NFL reception. Collectors can obtain the set by sending 10 1992 Pro Line Collection wrappers (white) and 10 from 1991 (black) to: NFL Art Monk Pro Line Profile, P.O. Box 7089, Charlotte, N.C. 28241.

Coming events

Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.

Friday, baseball card show to benefit West Middle School, West Middle School, 60 Monroe St., Westminster, 5 to 10 p.m., (410) 346-7837.

Saturday, baseball card show, Hunt Valley Mall during mall hours (expected signer is Brady Anderson from 1 to 3 p.m.), (410) 785-3770.

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