Product: 1996-97 Bowman's Best hobby box
Break Date: February 14, 2015
Hit Breakdown: Two refractors; one atomic refractor
Summary: Recently I've had this itch to open some old school stuff. I think it coincided with Vince Carter landing here on the Grizzlies, but what started with the urge to open a box of 98/99 SP Authentic turned into a Valentine's Day present to myself - a box of 96/97 Bowman's Best - the hunt for a Kobe rookie.
Frankly, I'm not sure if I'd have bought the box had it not been for the price. The card shop I got it from is the more expensive of the two in town, but it's also closer to my house. So, when I saw they had the box for $175, I was kind of shocked, because that seems to be significantly less than it sells for online. When I got the owner of the shop to sell it to me for $165, it was a no-brainer, so home I went, box in hand.
These boxes don't have any autos, and nothing game-used; I was hoping to pull a refractor Kobe Bryant rookie, or maybe a Michael Jordan. The pack odds show refractors at 1:12 and atomic refractors at 1:24, so with a checklist that was only a shade over 100 cards, that meant about a 1:3 shot of pulling a pretty nice parallel.
I didn't pull a refractor Kobe or Jordan, but I did seem to shatter the odds on this one.
Before I get into the hits, I gotta say a little about the cards themselves. It was nice to be opening this product. I mean, Michael Jordan? Shaquille O'Neal? Charles Barkley? Hakeem Olajuwon? It was nice to be opening packs and landing the guys I grew up watching. Things were much simpler - you were actually getting base cards and rookies that had value, and not just hunting for something to turn a profit.
So, anyhow. Two refractors per box are what I expected, but I hit three. No mammoth hit, but all cool nonetheless - a Juwan Howard retro, a Shawn Kemp retro, and a Penny Hardway Best Shots. The latter is especially cool - an acetate refractor.
Those Best Shots are a cool set, and where they're supposed to fall two per box, I got a Scottie Pippen and a Dennis Rodman. And, if you count the Penny, that'd be three.
Except there was a fourth - an atomic refractor Gary Payton Best Shots. The atomics are supposed to be one per box at stated odds of 1:24. So, I was a bit shocked to get a second atomic refractor, a base Hakeem Olajuwon.
Hakeem showed up again in insert form, a Bowman's Best Cuts. Those are supposed to fall 1:24, but there was a second, a Rookie Cuts - Todd Fuller. Obviously it would have been nice to get a bigger-name rookie, but I can't complain as I generally crushed the odds on this box.
All the rookies were there - I got my Kobe, and my Iverson (two - the base and the retro parallel), and Ray Allen. All the guys who would have been big names back in the day were in there as well - Antoine Walker, Stephon Marbury, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Jermaine O'Neal.
So, I definitely got my money's worth. While I would have loved to have hit a whale like an atomic Kobe, I pulled way more than I expected, and the nostalgia aspect was a lot of fun.
Grade for the product: A-
Grade for the break: A
Refractor: Shawn Kemp (Retro), Juwan Howard (Retro), Anfernee Hardaway (Best Shots)
Best Cuts: Hakeem Olajuwon
Best Picks: Todd Fuller
Retro parallel: Allen Iverson (RC), Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Chris Webber, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby (RC), John Wallace (RC), Damon Stoudemire Avery Johnson, Shawn Kemp, Juwan Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, Eddie Jones, Sean Elliot, Joe Dumars, Joe Smith, David Wesley x2
key base rookies: Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen