Saturday, January 28, 2017

Old School Box Breaks: 98-99 Topps Finest Series 1 Basketball Jumbo

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We're going backwards a year with Finest, this time getting the 98-99 Series 1 version of the product. 98-99 was a weird year for basketball as a lockout  ended up wiping out 32 games of the season. Due to the lockout, rookies were not included in most Series 1 releases and if they were it was only in redemption form. Nevertheless, Finest still remained one of the top products of the season and even with the absence of rookies, collectors still chased refractors and the hard to find inserts in the set. This is actually the Jumbo Box that I'm breaking so instead of the usual 24 packs, 6 cards per pack format, it's 12 packs with 13 cards per pack and more generous odds at the inserts.

What To Look For: Well, as stated above, no rookie hunting in Series 1, as that was saved for the Series 2 release. Despite that though, you have MJ's last Bulls Finest Base Card here (along with the Refractor and No Protector Refractor version) along with the Hardwood Honors insert set (which includes MJ) and the super tough Centurions (and refractor versions). The double sided Mystery Finest and refractor parallels are here as well.

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Basic Set Info
98-99 Topps Finest Series 1 Basketball (Jumbo)
125 Base Cards
12 Packs Per Box
13 Cards Per Pack

No Protector (1:2)
Refractor (1:5)
No Protector Refractor (1:10)
Double Sided Mystery Finest (1:14)
Double Sided Mystery Finest Refractor (1:59)
Centurions (1:42)
Centurions Refractor (1:281)
Hardwood Honors (1:14)

Let's get to rippin!

Box Topper Refractor
Shareef Abdur Rahim

Pulled a Jordan Base so happy about that!

No Protector (1:2)
David Robinson
Sherman Douglas
Armon Gilliam
Christian Laettner
Charlie Ward

Refractor (1:5)

Blue Edwards
Allan Houston

Non Protector Refractor (1:10)

Travis Knight

Double Sided Mystery Finest (1:14)
Scottie Pippen/Keith Van Horn (First thing I saw was the Bulls Logo and thought pleeease be MJ lol)

Hardwood Honors (1:14)
Rik Smits

Centurions (1:42)

Zydrunas Ilgauskas (#286/500)

Overall Thoughts: I pulled the tough to find Centurions insert, but it was one of the weaker players on the checklist. I'm a little disappointed in the inserts, even 20 years ago, insert cards of Big Z and Rik Smits don't exactly scream excitement but I'll tell you what made this break for me. Michael Jordan. I'd say it's basically been 20 years since I've opened packs of cards with the chance to pull MJ cards when he was an active Chicago Bulls players and back then, just pulling a base card was considered a win. That's the exact feeling I got here when I not only pulled the MJ base, but the MJ No Protector Parallel card. Just a great feeling and though the rest of the "hits" weren't great (the Van Horn/Pippen is still cool, and though the players aren't good, I LOVE the Hardwood Honors and Centurions inserts) it was still a fun box to open thanks to MJ! Here's pics of the hits!


Top 5 Pulls of 2017

#1- 2016 Donruss Optic Gold Vinyl Cam Newton 1/1
#2- 2016 Donruss Optic Derrick Henry Rated Rookie Autograph (#43/150)
#3- 2016 Donruss Optic Kenneth Dixon Rated Rookie Holo Autograph   Redemption (# to 99)
#4- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Devontae Booker  
#5- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Paul Perkins


  1. I'd be more than happy to trade for the inserts you don't like especially the Smits as he's sort of a hometown hero as Marist is literally the next place on the map to me. Did they give odds on the boxtopper refractor? I think these are actually pretty rare.

  2. Actually, gonna keep the inserts because I love the design. Yeah I dunno about the boxtopper refractor. I know when I bought a box of 1998 Finest Baseball I got one and those were 1 per 3 boxes. I also don't know if the ones in basketball have refractor and regular versions. The baseball one I got of Nomar wasn't a refractor but this Shareef is

  3. Congratulations on pulling the NP Jordan. Very cool card. I busted a ton of basketball in 98/99... although I think I avoided this series b/c it didn't have the rookies.

    1. Thanks, yeah I'm wanting to bust a Series II box, but the ones are Ebay are a little too high for what I want to pay. I know the old adage just buy the Vince, Dirk, Pierce rookies, but I'd much rather pull them myself if I could get the box at a reasonable price.