Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
By Extra Mustard
September 02, 2014

Whether it was Fleer’s hologram cards of the early '90s or Topps’ “material” cards of the mid-90s (or maybe this series of hand-drawn World Cup cards by a fan), sports trading card companies have always been looking for ways to rejuvenate the industry. Panini America’s newest set of NBA cards, the 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball, is taking the game to the next level: pieces of actual game-worn sneakers by NBA superstars past and present, inserted into the cards.

Set to release Friday, this set of very limited edition cards (only 150 in the set) includes bits of current shoes – think Derrick Roses’ Adidas DRose, Blake Griffin’s Team Jordans, LeBron’s Nike LeBrons, etc – and older sneakers such as Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Pumps and Grant Hill’s FILAs (which are sort of infamous).

Panini’s senior director of product development, Jim Stefano, said on the company blog that the idea for the cards came when they were looking at a pair of game-worn Kobe sneakers inside Panini’s memorabilia room.

“NBA players, more so than any other athletes, wear sneakers that reflect their personalities…it’s all about the swag,” he said.

The cards will sell individually, though no prices have been set for what is sure to be a hot collector's item. 

-- Ben Sin

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