2013-14 UD Black Basketball Review
Upper Deck has finally released UD Black as a standalone product again! The past two years it was incorporated into Exquisite Basketball but with the release of 2013-14 UD Black Basketball it is back as its own product. Ever since I got back into collecting a few years ago, UD Black has always been one of my favorite products. It brings a uniqueness to the hobby since all of the cards are produced on a black card stock and a majority of the autos are signed with either a silver or gold marker. It offers a very simple, yet stunning design.
Each box this year contains two(2) packs per box with each of those packs containing three(3) cards. There are two(2) autographs per pack and one(1) base card. Most autographs in this product are on card, with the exceptions being the Jordan Brand Classic Dual and Multi Autos. New to UD Black this year are Arena Art Auto Booklets, showcasing a photo of the college arena the featured player played in.
As I mentioned, new this year are the Arena Art Booklets. They are extremely well designed cards that look fantastic. I’ve noted several times when talking about this product to people that scans do not do these cards justice. The art of the arena looks spectacular and as with all UD Black cards the autograph really stands out. The checklist isn’t too large either as this set contains only 35 players with Michael Jordan and Grant Hill each having two(2) cards.
Another GREAT looking set in this product is the Lustrous Rookie Signatures set. Scans do not do these cards justice either. The top layer on the front and back is made up of plastic and so these cards give off a shine that couldn’t be accomplished if it were just cardboard. Most rookies in the set are numbered to 199, while a few players, such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Skylar Diggins are numbered to 99. While I do not think these cards will grade well due to some minor imperfections on the surface, they are a must have for any college collector.
There are not many flaws to be found in the product. I know in previous products I have said the value hasn’t always been there. You run into that somewhat in this product if you don’t hit a HOF(Hall of Fame) player since most of the top rookies are signed exclusively with Panini.
There is one set in UD Black that I was intrigued by when I saw it and that was the Jordan Brand Classic Autographs. This set features sticker autographs of some of the top young players in the NBA, who were a part of the Jordan Brand Classic. Within this set you can find autographs of Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal. All of those players are Panini exclusives now but at the time they signed the stickers were not under contract. My only negative with this set is there are no pictures of the players, even in the Jordan Brand Classic game. I don’t know the legality of this matter and if UD could have used photos of the players within the game.
I think UD Black is a great product and I for one am happy it is back as a standalone product. UD Black has always had one of the best designs and that is the case in this years’ edition. If you have the means to bust a box of this product then I would encourage you to do so. There are some huge cards to be pulled in the product, including two separate 9 signatures cards serial numbered to 4. One which features Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman, David Robinson and Allen Iverson. The great thing about any Upper Deck box is that it gives you the chance of hitting a Michael Jordan or Lebron James autograph which cant be found in any other companies product.