2013-14 Panini Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo (Autograph Prizms
Black) #33 (1/1) BGS 9.5 Autograph 10. How the continents have
shifted since this supreme rarity, and the supreme talent it
celebrates, thundered into the public consciousness. The National
Basketball Association operated under the unchallenged sovereignty
of King James, and the trading card market saw only the usual
vintage suspects drawing six and seven-figure auction results. Who
could have possibly imagined how different the world would look in
Certainly not the noble old Honus Wagner, nor the fresh-faced Mickey Mantle, who have seen Mike Trout relegate their iconic cardboard to lower rungs of the pricing ladder as his $4 million rookie insert knocked the pair from their dusty perches. The emerging supremacy of the modern trading card market is arguably the biggest hobby story since the advent of third-party grading, and we find ourselves in the earliest days of that trend, leaving us all to imagine what monumental advancements await the early investors in this sweeping new paradigm.
By the same token, the only story more improbable than a high school kid stamping his name so indelibly upon a league comprised of literal giants is the emergence of a two-time (and counting) NBA MVP from the nation of Greece, a land whose athletic identity had been filed under the single word "Olympics" for more than two millennia. Now there's not a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, nor a tour guide at the Parthenon, who cannot spell the surname of "The Greek Freak." Whether or not Giannis Antetokounmpo will ultimately deliver the first NBA Championship to Milwaukee since the days of Alcindor and Robertson remains to be seen, but the talent and tireless work ethic of this child of Nigerian refugees assure that his challenging name will not soon be forgotten.
The experts who have thus far examined the offered trading card in person are unanimous in their assertion that this is the finest Antetokounmpo representation that ever has been (or possibly could be) produced, with many going a step further to proclaim it the finest modern trading card that exists, full stop. Like the youngster it introduces, it's a commodity with every tool sharpened to the finest edge. Certainly its rookie status is an essential component for any claim to hobby supremacy. For a modern card, we'll require an autograph, and make it a perfect "10" rated example, if you please. Throw in a couple more perfect ratings in its subgrades, for Centering and Edges. Then narrowly miss perfection with 9.5's for Corners and Surface, resulting in a Gem Mint 9.5 final assessment that would be effectively unbeatable even if there were any other competition, which there isn't.
This is one-of-one, baby.
From that point, it becomes a matter of general aesthetics, and Panini Prizm is widely celebrated as one of the most beautifully designed issues in the modern hobby. It's pure kismet, much like Mantle's arrival in Topps' first great issue, that Giannis' trading card debut came at such an auspicious time.
If you intend to compete for ownership of this card, make no mistake--you will face fierce competition in your pursuit. If past is prologue, the Seven-Figure Club for 21st century cardboard will soon see a new active superstar march past its recently-cut ribbon and into a brotherhood that will continue to challenge the old guard of old card.
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