Just kidding, of course. Our proper V-Day celebration took place at the Chicago Auto Show, this past Sunday, as per our annual tradition. Furthermore, tonight we'll be sure to honor the occasion with dinner out on the town (hooray for gift cards!), a bottle of wine, and a late-night showing of the Lego Batman Movie, which looks absolutely hilarious. It's bound to be a good night.
Anyway, I wasn't kidding about purchasing those NBA valentines, though. Every year, I pick up a box of these little cards from Walmart because I'm a child and can't help myself. They make for fun, oddball additions to my tiny basketball card collection and, this year, I've taken to using the extras (32 cards, 8 players... you do the math) as note cards for my outgoing trade packages... again, I'm a giant man-child.
Each year, there's usually a Bull that finds their way into these products. In years past, it was the once-popular, now-enigma Derrick Rose. Now that he's a Knick, "Jimmy Buckets" steps up as the Chicago representation. Butler is a budding superstar and is, by far away, the best player on the purgatory-doomed Bulls' roster.
Oddly enough, since I don't pursue my Bulls All-Time Roster Collection with the same fervor as my other similar Windy City accumulations, this is my very first card of #21, so this Valentine now rests comfortably in that binder, at least until I come across a standard-sized trading card.
These "cards" are slightly longer and wider than your normal, 2.5 x 3.5 baseball card and come in rolled-up, perforated strips that are stuffed within the cardboard box that you see at the top of this post. This leads to a great deal of warping and ripping. If these had any collector's value, at all, you certainly wouldn't be seeing any PSA 10's out of this product; of course, they are designed to be folded at the mid-section, by grubby little kid fingers anyway.
Meanwhile, the product features major stars from across the NBA, superimposed in front of a brightly-colored background, with some sort of light or motion pattern. They definitely catch your attention.
Additionally, they have a pair of slits in the bottom right corner of each card so that little kids can affix little heart-shaped tattoos to their messages. The tattoos are actually just little stickers, which, upon opening, I proceeded to plaster all over the back of my wife's shirt. I don't know that she was nearly as amused as I was, but I still think it was totally worth it. Remember - man-child.
It's hard to argue with the player selection. These men represent a pretty decent cross-section of the game's biggest and most marketable hardwood stars, with the above two gents being the cream of the crop. No matter how you feel about LeBron or Steph personally, you cannot argue their star power in today's game. Nevertheless, it was still the underappreciated-outside-of-Chicago Jimmy Butler that was the biggest draw to me.
The strip concludes with one more player; however, his Valentine is a touch different:
For whatever reason, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers is considerably wider than the rest of the bunch; it's just short of twice as wide. My best guess is that the manufacturers (The Paper Magic Group) were left with an odd amount of space left over on each strip and, thus, decided to simply expand Lillard's card, since there wasn't enough room to add another player. But, that's just a guess.
So, there you have it - the comprehensive look at a box of basketball Valentines that you didn't know you wanted.
The NBA has been pumping these out into the market for several years now; it looks like they've been around in some form or another since the late 90's. Last year, their offering was lenticular (think Sportflics), smaller in size and square. I, for one, welcome the return to more "normal" printing methods; although, the cardstock suffers in the exchange. That said, again, these are meant for little kids to pass around, folded, doodled on and sticker affixed, to their classmates. I'm the only weirdo who buys these for their trading card collection.
The 2016 edition of NBA's Valentine line
I truly wish that Major League Baseball did a set of these every year, as I would totally plop down my hard-earned money on a box of those every St. Valentines day; however, we all know how stingy they are with their licensing. *Sigh*...maybe someday.
In the meantime, my wife makes up for this shortcoming and truly gets me and my inner man-child. Just look at what she tagged me in on Facebook:
She's definitely a keeper.