Topps Bringing Back Popular Chrome Basketball Cards This Summer, But Will Be Unlicensed

For the first time in 24 years, Topps is bringing back its popular Chrome basketball cards. However, they will be unlicensed since Panini still holds the license rights for the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

The sports collectibles company announced Tuesday during the 2024 Topps Industry Conference that Topps Chrome Basketball will be released this summer, according to Sports Card Investor. The set will feature autograph rookie cards of Victor Wembanyama, who Fanatics has an exclusive deal with. Topps Chrome Basketball will also have autograph cards of LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.

That’s not the only basketball set Topps is putting out. According to Sports Collectors Daily, Topps will also be releasing:

  • Midnight
  • Cosmic Chrome
  • Finest
  • Motif
  • Royalty Collection
  • Collegiate Chrome
  • Bowman U Chrome

Fanatics, which owns Topps, will be taking over the NBA license after Panini’s deal expires in 2025, so collectors will have to wait another year for licensed NBA cards from Topps.

The last time Topps had Chrome basketball cards was in 2009-10, when that set featured Curry’s rookie card. That product, though, was licensed and was known as Topps Chrome NBA.

It’s a massive announcement from Topps as collectors have been clamoring for Chrome cards for years — and this one will have a Wemby rookie autograph which Panini was unable to offer due to his deal with Fanatics. Will the Topps Chrome Basketball Wemby 1/1 Superfractor Rookie Autograph be worth more than his 2023 Panini Prizm Black Shimmer First Off The Line 1/1 that fetched $516,000 at auction? How will this affect Panini products and its cards’ retail values? How much are collectors willing to spend on unlicensed basketball card products from Topps? Time will eventually tell.

Panini lost their NBA and NFL licenses to Fanatics. According to ESPN, Panini’s licensing deals with the NBA and NFL expire in 2025 and 2026, respectively. Panini has filed an antitrust suit against Fanatics, claiming the company has created a monopoly in the sports card industry. Fanatics has filed a countersuit against Panini, claiming unfair competition and breach of good faith.

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