Topps Chrome basketball is back! It never went anywhere for baseball. However, now Topps is ready to reenter the basketball fray when it receives the pro license and slowly revives the franchise. We bring you the 2021-22 Topps Chrome OTE review to celebrate.
The product’s triumphant(?) return comes in the form of a product nobody was expecting. Finally, collectors will soon have the chance to unwrap Topps Chrome cards again and join the hunt for refractors.
Yes, we said it: Refractors. Topps Chrome refractors were cutting edge at the time of their creation, and they paved the way for the colored prizm cards we all know and love. Now they’re back – but should collectors be excited?
Topps Chrome OTE is the “Overtime Elite” basketball league, a new alternative way to get to the NBA.
Per the Topps website, “2021/22 Topps Chrome Overtime Elite steps into the spotlight as the first Chrome release with OTE, and an exciting return to the Basketball trading cards for the beloved Topps Chrome brand!
Build the entire 100-card Base Set comprising all the Overtime Elite League players and some astonishingly clean inserts such as Topps 1969, Superfly, and more!”
The 100-card checklist is shallow, but that alone shouldn’t discourage collectors. This product marks a return to form for Topps Chrome in many ways.
But first, we might all have a different question to answer:
Overtime elite is a league created by Overtime, a company that helps follow and promote the top juniors and seniors across the country. Each player is paid at least $100K a year for their participation as an attempt to lure them away from the more mainstream draft process.
Here’s how Overtime’s website describes the program: “OTE (Overtime Elite) is a transformative new sports league that offers the world’s most talented young basketball players a better pathway to becoming professional athletes. OTE provides a comprehensive accelerator for elite players’ professional careers. The league offers a year-round development program combining world-class coaching, cutting-edge sports science and performance technologies, top-notch facilities, and a rigorous, highly personalized academic program.”
The college basketball system feels broken to some. Perhaps OTE could be the solution. Or, possibly, it could fizzle out in a few years. We’ll have to wait and see.
As far as cards go, the OTE cards will pick up very close to where Topps left off in 2007 basketball. However, it will also add a modern flavor.
One of the best things about Topps return to basketball is a new luxury that basketball collectors haven’t experienced in years – stated odds.
Topps always posts the odds on its packs. This practice gives collectors an idea of how “lucky” they need to be when cracking packs. Then, using a bit of math, it can also closely estimate the print run.
Here are the stated odds from Topps with this new product.
In addition to the parallels listed above, the 100-card checklist includes several inserts.
These inserts include:
All boxes include 4 cards per pack with 18 packs per box, including 2 Topps Chrome OTE autographs. These autographs have refractor sets, much like the base cards.
It is incredibly difficult to estimate the value of Topps Chrome OTE basketball. After all, it’s proudly the first Topps Chrome release in years. On top of that, it’s a release from a very experimental league with a cloudy future.
With that in mind, instead of the usual approach, we’ll do something else. Let’s project out a couple of different paths for how this can go.
Here’s the best case and worst base for Topps Chrome OTE.
In this scenario, the OTE catches on and becomes a popular pipeline for getting college prospects to the NBA. If this happens, Topps Chrome OTE could draw excitement from nostalgic collectors and become a popular product because of its inaugural, experimental status.
The OTE fizzles out without ever gaining any real traction, and these $180 boxes never hold any real value. While Topps Chrome is a great blast from the past, collectors can’t get over the feeling of these being unlicensed cards. On top of that, despite being labeled an “RC,” these are not rookie cards – they’re the equivalent of high school players getting cards.
I find it easier to imagine the worst-case scenario unfolding than the best case. However, the scenario is most likely between the two – shading toward the worst case.
The OTE likely fizzles out after a few years and not enough media coverage. But, even if not, these cards are not true rookie cards. Therefore, collectors will hold that against them. Personally, I have no interest in the product and don’t think I’d want the equivalent of a “high school rookie card,” even if it were Luka Doncic.
Topps Chrome OTE is about as unknown of a potential investment as we’ve covered because it’s so new in so many ways. While I’m usually comfortable saying “green light” or “stay away,” it’s hard to lean one way or the other with this product.
My best guess? This product isn’t a rip right now because none of the players in the 100-card set have much name value. However, they’ll need to be an NBA star somewhere down the line for the cards to be worth much.
It could be a hold if there’s a future star in this product, but I’d imagine it takes a genuinely game-changing athlete to make it a more valuable product. Look at XFL cards for an example of what this looks like if it doesn’t work. It’s probably a pass, and if you’re looking for a less risky bet that could return good results, you’d be better off rolling the dice on something else.
Keep in mind that the most important aspect of this product is that it serves as a reintroduction of Topps Chrome into the basketball world. It won’t be long before Topps gets the license back.