Saturday, April 27, 2013

2012-2013 Panini Marquee Basketball Review

How would you like a massive, rookie-centered basketball set with a ton a different card designs and textures featuring thick card stock and shiny foil? If you said 'yes' to all of that, then the new Panini Marquee Basketball is for you! Marquee Basketball is one of the boldest products to come out in a long while. If these cards were people, these would be the ones who stand out in a crowd.

Base Card Design -
The main base set in Marquee is 540 cards large. No, that is not a typo. Five. Hundred. Forty. Yeah, it's big. And within those 540 cards are different subsets with an amazing variety of designs. The first type of card to be found within the set are the commons and legends. These cards are what I would consider to be the 'standard' Marquee card. Both the common and legend cards share basically the same look, the only difference being the word 'Legends' replacing the team logo in the upper left hand corner. As you can see from the DeMarcus Cousins base card above, the card is printed on very shiny foilboard. It's a very clean design that emphasizes the player and the card brand. There is no background or fancy bordering or other graphical enhancement... none of that is required. The card boldly shows everything it needs to and nothing more. Unfortunately, the scan above doesn't show the rainbow effect of light shining on it, but in person, the card reflects a beautiful spectrum of colors. Basketball is a big man's sport, and with everything on this card being 'big', I feel that this design is very appropriate. Also 'big', but maybe 'girthy' would be a better word, is the thickness of the card. The commons and legends are given the thick cardstock treatment. It's a nice touch that makes the cards feel more premium.

The back of the Marquee base cards add in the color, background, and graphical elements that the front left out. It makes for a very nice contrast! Though the front and back seem very different in nature, there is a common thread between the two. Tying the front design to the back is the photo. Notice that the photograph on the front is the same as the one on the back. Usually, I would say that using the same photo on both sides is lazy... but in this case it's actually pretty cool. The reason it works is because the back photograph restores the background that the front left out. Now you can see a bit more context to the photograph. It's a sweet idea that the designers of the card put in - major props for that sneaky maneuver! Give those guys a raise!

After the common and legend cards come the parade of rookie subsets.The first one has an absolutely awesome (and appropriate) name - Swirlorama. This radical design is hard not to like. The swirled foil look is mesmerizing and reminds me of the older basketball inserts from the nineties. There isn't any real refinement to this design... it's all in your face with so many colors jumping out at you. It's a great look, and one that younger collectors could certainly gravitate towards.

Next are the Black Holoboard cards. Like the Swirloramas, these cards are on foilboard. But rather than giving off a bright, crazy feel, these have a subdued look. For my tastes, the look is not subdued enough. The black holofoil background is great looking in its own way. The darkness of the card is such a great foil to the Swirloramas, but the dark effect is negated by the gaudy 'ROOKIE' logo located towards the bottom of the card. That big glaring sign ruins the look for me. It could have been the serious version of the Swirloramas, but because of that, this design falls a bit short.

The Lazer Cuts follow after the Black Holoboard cards. Like those, these are darker in nature. The players are set on a black background. Unique to these cards is the word 'rookie' die-cut out of the left hand side of the card. It's nice that Panini can show off its die-cutting skills, but these cards remind me too much of jersey die-cut memorabilia cards. To me, I feel that there should be a jersey or patch piece there... instead there is just empty space. It leaves me wanting just a little bit. And just a little nit-pick about these cards, the holes sometimes get caught when putting them into penny sleeves. Not a big deal, but something to be careful of.

One of my favorite things that card companies can do to cards is to add texture. Panini has done this with their Leather rookie subset. These cards have a smooth leather feel to them and feature a textured background. I found it interesting that instead of using the orange of a basketball, the designers chose to use white for the background. It was a smart choice though. The white background gives the card a classic look. Orange may have been too distracting a color for what they were going for. The rookie logo on these cards compliments the classic feel. This subset is a winner.

To finish off the main set of cards Panini gives us the White PETG rookie subset. These last cards are very nice. They are ghosted white acetate-like cards that have a thin, bendable feel to them. Out of all the subsets, these feel the most modern of all. The top portion of the card features the word 'rookie' as a clear window through the card. Unlike the Lazer Cuts, these are not physically cut through, just see through. It makes the card feel more complete. Having the players partially in front of the window gives these cards a three-dimensional effect that I appreciate. These cards were a great way to finish off the Marquee set.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The main emphasis of Marquee is the core set and all the rookie sets therein, but also found in boxes of Marquee are autographs and a few different types of inserts. There are no game-used memorabilia cards in Marquee.

The insert cards found in Marquee share similar design concepts as the rookie subset cards of the main set. The Slam Dunk Legends have the same swirly foil effect as the Swirlorama cards. They are different though in that the Slam Dunk Legends are given silver foil treatment rather than the mult-colored Swirloramas.

The All-Rookie Team insert is a take on the Lazer Cuts. Though this insert set is called 'All-Rookie Team', it actually is a celebration of current NBA stars when they were rookies. So again, like the Slam Dunk Legends, these are NBA veterans rather than first-year players.

As you open Marquee you'll notice the similarities of the insert cards to the rookie subset cards. I wonder if it was Panini's decision to directly have a tie-in between the inserts and subsets. If it was, that would certainly be interesting. I definitely have to give it to Panini in terms of their recent card ideas. They have really invigorated the hobby with all the innovated ideas that they put out on the market. I applaud them for their ability to take chances and risks with their designs.

Aside from inserts, each box of Marquee should yield three autographs. The autographs that I received have been sticker autos, but that seems the norm for a product at this price point. As wild and as creative as many of the cards in Marquee have been, I was a little underwhelmed by the standard autographed card. The Jordan Crawford shown above is a cleanly enough design card, but it doesn't match up with the flair of the rest of the set. There are other autograph inserts sets to find in Marquee, perhaps they have more interesting designs, but the ones out of this box left me wanting a bit more.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
The new Panini Marquee Basketball is great fun to open and enjoy... and the price is right for many collectors. At about $100 per box, and 20 packs per box, collectors will have fun looking through and sorting out all the wild looking cards that they find within. Marquee is a product I would recommend for younger collectors who can afford it. The cards are full of pizzaz and wow factor. There are a ton of rookies to find and get excited about pulling. I have seen first hand some younger collectors go nuts over Marquee. It's the prefect mid-end, affordably priced product that feels more premium than it actually is.

For the seasoned collector out there, Marquee doesn't offer as much. While it's nice to look forward to three autographs in a box, the content may not satisfy those with high-end tastes. These boxes definitely offer some solid insert card content... but patches and patch autos will not be here. Also missing are low numbered parallels to chase.

If you're looking to have a great time, Marquee is a great product to bust. It's full of fun. It'd also be a great set to try and put together. At 540 cards it would be a challenge... but one that is certainly doable!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of 12/13 Marquee Basketball:


  1. Really fun product I think. Its good for kids because you get some really cool looking cards n the inserts. I think the swirzzle cards are msweet. Its got a good price range and people like me are intrested in this stuff. The base are sweet,I hope you got some nice stuff for your sacremento break. Congratualaions on the break hope the contest is good. Youtube name riley thomson

  2. Marquee to me has a classic 90's basketball design, same with the inserts. I think Marquee can be a lot better with their design. The good thing about the base cards is that the name is easy to see. I don't like how the base are thick like a mem card. The base can definitely improve. The base cards get a 7/10.

    The inserts in my opinion could improve as well. some inserts are just plain white and some look too shiny. Panini can improve on that as well. The inserts get a 7.5/10

    Jerseys/Autos: They are okay. They have different designs as well. Such as the Kyrie die-cut jersey reminds me of Certified, while the Stoudemire reminds me of Season Update. So Panini did okay with that. 8/10 for the jerseys/autos.

    Overall the Marquee box got (just like your rating) a 7.5/10

    Youtube: jtayl132

    1. Correction: The Krie and Stoudemire are not jerseys

  3. Awesome product and very fun. Panini did a splendid job on this product with 4 different rookie card design. Each one is very unique and attractive to the collector's eyes. I love leather and the swirlorama. I don't like auto stickers but I think it work well with the card design. I give it 9/10.
    James Wong

    1. You won my contest! Please PM me your full name and address and I'll ship out your prize!

  4. I'm a huge fan of the rookie cards in this product, especially the swirloramas. They're really fun and bold and catch the collector's eye. I do like the leather ones as well. The product is especially a set collector's best dream. 540 cards! Wow!

    youtube: gabevideo

  5. All the rookies aren´t so great looking but it´s nice to have lots of rookies because you don´t when some card gets big value. Autos and jerseys look good.


  6. This is a very nice product with so many different inserts and rookie cards and its VERY nice that they have a die cut card in every pack I believe so it's very nice in that perspective the hits are very nice as well unfortunately, sticker auto but still I rate this product very high.

    Youtube: mncards22

  7. The box design on Marquee is very nice. Simple but very effective.

    The Kobe cards as mentioned in my other review they are nice but not something to really rave over. The pictures are excellent quality.

    The Base Cards are nice very shinny as you mentioned. I love the Marquee logo on the card it screams New York and the NBA Draft which is a nice touch. Even though it is a base card I like how they were made thicker. Little things like that make me happy. I feel it helps protect the card and makes them feel nicer when they are in your hand.

    The assotate cards are unique I like the idea that you can see right through them but I don't like how flimsy they are. I have not held one so I don't know if they are durable despite being flimsy.

    The Parssons rookie card is simply amazing. I love the 90's retor look to it and I enjoy the player on the front as I am a huge Houston fan.

    The Champions card is nice it is very plain and simply but the white background really helps the player stand out.

    The Staoudamire Die Cut Rookie card is nice. I somehow feel that it would complete a set of all rookies from the past? Almost like a large booklet maybe?

    The Legend Cards I really wish they would have made them look a little different from the base cards. I know the legends are base but it would be a sweet touch to seperate them from the current players.

    The Autograph is nice I like the round cut shape on the card where the autograph is. They did a really good job hiding that it was a sticker. I also like how they kept the round cut shape on the back of the card. Another small thing that makes me happy.

    Slam Dunk Legends I don't know again it's the smae design as one of the Rookie Cards. I wish they would have different designs for every insert. It frustrates me when companies don't do that.

    StarLight the deisgn is very nice. It reminds me of the city lights cards from pinnacle hockey. My question is did you get two Loves of the same insert in that box? If you did that is very weird for Marquee to do that.

    Leather Rookie Card - Simply love it probably my favourite rookie insert mostly because I really enjoy the canvas cards from upper deck hockey and this is a spitting image of it.

    Redemtion Love the player on the card it will be interesting to see how the card will look. I wonder if it will look like the other autographs or if it will lool even better.

    Overall I will give this product a 6.5 out of 10.

    I find that there is too much happening with this product. I like what they are trying to do by giving variety but I would prefer a little less. Also I wish they did not make the same design for different inserts. I know I said that above but that really drove my score down.


  8. I love this stuff. I really like the laser cuts and swirl-of-rama cards. The only thing I don't like is that every pack I've bought the front card has surface damage.

    YouTube micerule934

  9. I don't really get this.. So many different rookie cards...In one product!?!? Please tell me why? In my opinion there should be just one common rc-design in each product, maybe with different auto- and memorabilia cards. But not more than that!

    And all those laser cuts just don't seem as that great idea, maybe one set/product is a bit of exotic, but you can't let it be to much.

    I actually like the base cards a lot, just want one change to them: size down the Marquee-logo.

    Overall the product seems interesting, but if you compare to your review of Prizm Baseball here you can see too much variation instead.

    Youtube: Majlfp

  10. I think its just upgraded version of Hoops!
    I dont like those lazer cuts why they did them i dont know! I can do these "lazer cuts" in home with paper knife. Why you need those for base cards???
    Inserts looks nice but i dont think that I would collect insert set's!
    These coloured inserts would be nice for kids up to age 14. Panini says that they are awesome with these inserts colour tehnology but if we look on the 5-6 years old Topps used this tehnology looooong time ago. Price for these will be soon down.

    Youtube : martinspridstavlaet

  11. great product.Always gresta to open.even better with your review.Youtube username is Erik Karlsson.

  12. I'm back again! It's been a while, haha. To start I want to say thanks for entertaining us all and keeping the community and hobby alive!

    So I'm going to try to keep this one short again. To start, I really know next to nothing about basketball. Maybe this will make my response more interesting. I can promise there will be no biased opinions from me!

    The card design was really sweet. Very "out there" if you will. If it reminded me of anything hockey-related, it was the product Certified. It was very shiny and there were lots of inserts and things that widen your pupils from focusing too hard on the card. The autographs also lack in limited factor.

    I do like the element of surprise, however. That is why I like products with lots of packs. But maybe the value wasn't exactly there, so it seemed. Usually that is how it is in Hockey, the boxes with lots of packs aren't extremely high-end like Cup, Dominion, and such which include very few packs.

    Overall, I think the product is great for certain people and bad for others. So it's better than Hockey Certified where just about everyone hated it. I mean, let's be honest here.

    Thanks again for another great review! I hope I entertain you with my own.

    - NothinButHockeyCards

  13. So I think this product isn't that great, but if you're a collector of rookie cards. This set although is centered on rookies it still has very nice inserts. Youtube - TeamRGHQ2Sports

  14. Hey Luke. I have to say that i don't agree with your review because i think that deserves 10 an all. Because the inserts look incredible. The autos look really great as well
    Youtube- Irbehockey cardcolect

  15. I think this box was better than Panini Preferred. They delivered on the Grant Hill auto. However they're stickers and on on card so that might be the reason the box was cheaper. But you get so much more for so much less money. I can see that some high end collectors don't care at all for the base cards and those are just a waste of space. But I don't mind collecting base cards. Great diecut and acetate and leathery parallels! Really wow'd me!


  16. Marquee is awesome i love how many inserts you get its great for be like me with little spending money cause you get so many different cards. i also love the base they are very nice looking and great quality. the die cuts look very nice and its nice to see something different cause usually they dont put that many die cuts in one product. the leather cards look sick i would love to see one in person im glad that panini keeps trying new things cause its only gonna get better... i also love how there are 5 different rookie cards i would definitely give this product a solid 8/10!

    thanks again for yet another contest!


  17. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.

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