After two years of using a taller-sized card, Topps reverted to the 2 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches standard when they printed the 1971-'72 basketball set. As they expanded the set, it probably made more sense for the company to make that switch in order to better fit the set onto its printing sheets.
Card fronts showed a player photo against a solid-colored block background. The player's head is designed to peek out of the top of the block. At the top, the team city is listed in a font that just screams 1971. The bottom uses both black and red ink. The player's name features his initials in red, and then his team's nickname appears in black, with his position in red. The backs feature a card number, player name and position at the top, with that blue box continuing down the right side and containing vital stats and a cartoon trivia question. A yellow box to the left contains a write-up and career statistics.
The set was broken into two series. Cards #1-144 featured NBA players, and #145-233 had ABA players. Two printing sheets were used to print the set, with 31 of the NBA players being double printed to fill out the second sheet. Again, a checklist card (#144) features two design variations.
Subsets include a review of the NBA playoffs on cards 133-137, the NBA statistical leaders on cards 138-143 and the ABA statistical leaders on cards 146-151. Bob Lanier, Rick Barry, Nate Archibald, Larry Brown, Dan Issel and Rudy Tomjanovich are the most prominent rookies in the set.
Great representation of the genre…I love the cartoonish script and pics of players with the short shorts bring back the glory of that era. The Lakers and Knicks of that time were teams in the truest sense of the word. The Bucks were great champions the previous year, and the ABA series of the Rick Barry led Nets make for a timeless issue by Topps. I recommend this set as a trip down memory lane for people of a certain age or a challenging set to build for the collector of any age.
Nice colorful design is very eye appealing. The rookies are Barry, Lanier, and Cowens which isn’t too shabby of a group. ABA and NBA cards are separated from each other in the set order. I might build this one!!