Hoops is one of the best brands in basketball.
Not because of value – the cards aren’t worth much unless they’re exceptionally rare. Not because of design, either. They never really have much too much eye appeal.
Instead, the charm of the product lies in the number of cards to be found within a reasonably-priced box, and on top of that, they’re always the first NBA-licensed release of the year. It feels magic pulling rookies in their NBA jerseys for the first time, and this brand always delivers there.
In this guide, we’re going to look at Hoops parallels and go over everything you need to know about what parallels could make a decent investment.
Hoops is the basketball version of Score and it made its NBA debut in 2010-11 (a year without rookies). Since then, it’s always been a low-cost, high-fun rip that has a relatively low ceiling but still a lot of collector appeal.
If you’re drawing parallels between Topps basketball cards and Panini’s rollout – a shift that happened between 2008 – 2010, you could argue that Hoops is the “Topps” version of cards for Panini. Or, perhaps, one could make a case that Hoops is just below that quality level and perhaps Donruss cards are more direct equivalent.
Either way, this is a product with a lot of cards and rookies galore.
Each hobby box, on average, contained the following:
In the blaster box, you’d find:
As we’ve written before, “parallels are versions of base cards that have some distinguishing feature (such as a color change) but in every other way have the same numbering and subjects as the regular cards in the set. These cards are produced in smaller quantities than base cards.”
In short, they are colored base card variations. In opti-chrome, parallels look like the standard base version of the card, except they have colored borders. There are various colors of parallels, and some are rarer than others. Often they are numbered as well.
Parallel cards are not hard to tell from base cards. While the image on the cards is the exact same, the border color will be different.
Here’s a bit of trivia for you: while parallels change the border of the card and are easy to distinguish, variations change the image on the card and can be much more difficult to identify. You have to know what you’re looking for. We looked at the differences between different types of cards in this article.
Hoops used to be a very simple product when it came to parallels, but now there’s quite a wide variety of parallels to choose from and chase.
In 2021-22, one notable addition was the NBA Hoops explosion parallel cards, which are refractive and look absolutely amazing for anything you’d expect to pull out of hoops. Hopefully, this design lineup continues to grow.
Here are the parallels you can expect to pull from 2021-22 Hoops, with the expectation that they will add even more soon.
Note that there were no Hoops Premium Stock parallels in the 2021-22 release.
Design-wise, most of these cards look exactly as you’d expect. One unique hoop parallel, however, is the “Red Back.” These cards are a bit uncommon because it’s the back of the card that makes it a parallel.
Instead of the typical all-black ink on the back of the card, the red-backs have a – you guessed it – red back. They’re considered a short print but are not numbered.
Hoops parallels compare with each other in price about the same way as all parallels – all the unnumbered ones sell for similar prices, while the numbered versions get increasingly more valuable as the numbering descends.
Sometimes there’s also a premium on color-matching cards. For example, a LeMelo Ball teal explosion might sell for a bit more because the teal looks really good with the Charlotte Hornets jersey.
If you’re looking to invest in these cards, please don’t invest in base Hoops cards. Even if they’re PSA 10. I’m asking as a friend because these cards are so overprinted that they’ll be worth nothing someday. Not even a Gem-Mint grade will save them.
If you’re investing in Hoops, you can probably afford to get a card that is both numbered and graded. Over time, these cards will be much more valuable thanks to supply.
As an example, a Lamelo Base base rookie recently sold for $51 as a PSA 10, including shipping, while the silver version /199 sold for $600 as a PSA 10. The silver sold for just about 12x as much as the base.
Now let’s look at the population report.
There are over 1,700 base LeMelo rookies from that product as a PSA 10. There are 26 silvers.
While the price difference has the silvers selling for 12x as much as the base, they are 65x rarer. That huge gap suggests the base are currently very overvalued (or the Silver are undervalued), and heavily suggests investing in the numbered cards for long-term value.
Hoops is an energetic brand perfect for collectors anxious to rip or even getting new collectors into the hobby, but it also has investment opportunities if you play your cards right (or buy the right cards, perhaps).
What do you think of Hoops parallels? We’d love to hear your grading experience, thoughts, and points. Just share with us on Twitter @card_lines.