Panini America, a licensed sports and entertainment collectibles company, and the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA, recently announced that it has reached an exclusive autograph trading card and memorabilia partnership with NBA legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Barkley has not been included on a trading card in more than 15 years.
“Adding Charles Barkley as an exclusive athlete is a significant achievement and will go down as a key milestone in our business since Panini entered the U.S. market and became the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA in 2009,” said Mark Warsop, Panini America CEO. “Since becoming the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA, Charles has been the athlete we pursued and viewed as the player we needed to be a part of the Panini family. His long absence from the trading card category has had fans clamoring and wondering if he would ever be featured on trading cards again. This is a great day for NBA fans and all collectors as we will now be able to celebrate Charles’ illustrious career on trading cards and memorabilia.”
Barkley’s first autographed NBA trading cards will be introduced as part of the Spotlight Signatures insert set in Panini’s 2017-18 Noir Basketball product; it celebrates his career with autographed trading cards featuring Barkley with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. Barkley also appears on the Noir packaging, which was recently released with an SRP of $500.
The partnership goes much deeper than just trading cards as Barkley joins a select group of Panini-exclusive athletes, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who have exclusive autographed memorabilia and are anchor athletes for Panini’s memorabilia division: Panini Authentic. Memorabilia will include autographed basketballs, jerseys, prints and other memorabilia highlighting Barkley’s career from his Auburn Tigers days to his days as a member of the 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal “Dream Teams” through his Hall of Fame NBA career. Panini Authentic’s first wave of memorabilia is available now.
“Through the years, I’ve been approached to be a part of trading cards and autographed memorabilia – but it never felt right. When I met the Panini team, they really understood my vision and highlighted how we could work together,” Barkley said. “It just reinforced to me that Panini was the ideal partner for me. What they have done in the trading card category and how the products have evolved since my playing days is incredible. I’m looking forward to working closely with them on my trading cards and autographed memorabilia.”
Barkley will be featured in all of Panini’s 2018-19 NBA Basketball and Collegiate trading card products and beyond, showcasing his career with the Auburn Tigers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Team USA.