Saturday, April 1, 2017

Old School Box Breaks: 97-98 Bowman's Best Basketball

This was actually a purchase I made before the 3 box lot I bought off Ebay. This product makes me feel SUPER old I was in middle school (8th grade to be exact) when this came out. When I was an 8th grader, I wanted every Tim Duncan and Keith Van Horn cards I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, I didn't have a ton of funds to go after anything but low end stuff like Fleer, Skybox, Hoops, getting packs much less a box of Bowman's Best was definitely out of the question. 20 years later and I'll finally get to open one of these babies.

What To Look For: It's all about refractors and atomic refractors for Bowman's Best. Superstar Atomic Refractors can go for a pretty penny, not to mention Rookie Atomic Refractors of Tim Duncan and to a lesser extant Tracy McGrady and Chauncey Billups. This rookie class is super top heavy with a once in a generation talent in Tim Duncan..Tracy McGrady and Chauncey Billups. After that's literally nobody that ever become a long term hobby star. Some had their flashes (Keith Van Horn, Ron Mercer, Tim Thomas) but they never came close to really making a dent in the league. Base rookies aren't SP'd, so I'm hoping to get base rookies of Duncan and T-Mac. There are autographs, but honestly they are super tough to pull and Karl Malone is the best name out of the bunch followed by Chauncey Billups so it's a small but not deep checklist.  

Basic Set Info
97-98 Bowman's Best
115 Base Cards
10 Best Performances Subsets
24 Packs Per Box
6 Cards Per Pack 

Refractors (1:12)
Atomic Refractors (1:24)
Best Techniques (1:12)
Best Techniques Refractors (1:48)
Best Techniques Atomic Refractors (1:96)
Mirror Image (1:48)
Mirror Image Refractor (1:96)
Mirror Image Atomic Refractor (1:192)
Laser Cut (1:24)
Laser Cut Refractor (1:48)
Lase Cut Atomic Refractor (1:96)
Autograph (1:373)
Autograph Refractor (1:1,987)
Autograph Atomic Refractor (1: 5,961)

Onto the break!

Notable Rookies
Tracy McGrady (X2)
Chauncey Billups

Refractor (1:12)
Keith Van Horn RC
Keith Booth RC
Ed Gray RC

Atomic Refractor (1:24)
Keith Booth RC

Best Techniques (1:12)
Hakeem Olajuwon (X2)
Grant Hill
Best Techniques Refractor (1:48)
Dennis Rodman 

Laser Cuts Picks (1:24)
Adonel Foyle
Keith Van Horn

Laser Cuts Refractor (1:48)
Anfernee Hardaway

Overall Thoughts: Well...I'm not going to lie the box started out GREAT. I slow broke the box all week breaking 4 packs a day, and on the second day I pulled the Penny refractor and Van Horn rookie refractor (not worth much but hey..back in 97 this would've been a HUGE card). It then went downhill pretty fast and the turning point that soured me on this break is when I pulled 3 Keith Booth cards in a 4 pack span...his base rookie, refractor, AND ATOMIC REFRACTOR. Collation pisses me off more than ANYTHING and it's a problem Panini has to this day. I HATE the fact that two of my bigger hits had to not only be of one guy, but a guy who BARELY had an NBA Career. These would've been terrible pulls 20 years ago. With 125 cards in a set whyyyyyyy does both the refractor and atomic refractor HAVE to be of the SAME GUY?!?! Beyond frustrating and it totally deflated my enthusiasm for this break and it only got worse. The base rookies ARE NOT SP'd yet I didn't pull a single Duncan Rookie. I did pull two JOHNNY TAYLOR'S IN THE SAME PACK. C'monnnnn now..6 cards per pack and I get doubles of a crap rookie?? Gross. I pulled doubles of a ton of rookies yet not one Tim. Geez Topps, would it kill ya to throw me one's not like Bowman's Best base rookies are THAT high in demand. I pulled DOUBLES of an insert (Hakeem Best Techniques) which also irritated me. And top finish it appropriately I opened the last 4 packs today, on APRIL FOOLS DAY. So of COURSE...the LAST PACK OF THE BREAK has a Best Techniques Refractor of a CHICAGO BULL..and I as slowly reveal the card thinking to myself "no way...could this be??" it's of...DENNIS RODMAN instead. WHAT...A...TROLL...JOB. Don't get me wrong, a refractor insert of "The Worm" isn't bad at all, but mannnnn it's a letdown considering what it could've been. It was literally a 50/50 chance it was MJ (him and Rodman are the only two in the set) It was the ONE CARD that could've salvaged this piss poor break and naturally just like this box it disappoints in spades. Just angered me even more. I just think it's hilarious that 3 of my "bigger hits" were of Chicago Bulls just not the one I wanted the most. Just a giant middle finger to me lol. Hands down the WORST of my old school breaks especially since this box wasn't exactly cheap. Here are pics of the cards I pulled


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 have an auto from the set...The ink has faded totally off. The only way to tell it was ever Autographed is the auto logo and card number. I finally completed this set last year, but I didn't do a box. Sounds like it might not have helped me even if I had!

  2. Wow...that sucks about the auto! Hope it wasn't Karl Malone!

    1. Hi Mr. Chris,

      Congrats on the break, it looked like a lot of fun. Old wax is always a joy to open :)

      I have a question for you about starting a blog when you get the chance. It's something I have always been interested in!
      My email is if you wish to contact me through there!


  3. Damn... now this is what I call an old school break. Classic product. Pulling that Van Horn back in the day would have been huge. I don't do basketball anymore, but I've got to admit... I'm jealous of that Penny.

    1.'s why I love old school breaks..pulling cards that would've been HUGE back in the day and 20 years later it's like "eh" LOL