1998-99 EX Century Basketball shows revolutionary design, iconic rookie class, sharp inserts

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1998-99 Skybox EX Century easily stands as one of the most sought after and groundbreaking high-end card releases of the late 1990s.

The box packaging features Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker. The box artwork is a glossy, top EX Century logo with Walker dribbling the ball down the field. The background is a design of several colorful basketballs with all the text and words you imagine, showing what is offered in the product.

Hobby boxes consist of 18 packs with three cards per pack. The base set wasn’t huge: just 30 rookies and 60 veterans.

The base map design is considered one of the most attractive of the decade and is arguably one of the best of the modern era. It features a clear acetate card base with a team colored semi-circle covering half the card, an embossed die-cut action photo of the player with the player’s last name in large letters across the top at the bottom and his first name in small letters on the right. side.

The EX Century and Skybox logos are featured along with a cutout version of the team logo in a smaller font.

The cards are busy but not too busy. EX is 90s but not too 90s. The design is as perfect as you can imagine.

Oxidation is a glaring problem with this particular product. For all good EX offerings in design, artistry and freshness, the cards tend to yellow and create an almost golden acetate.


As beautiful as the cards are, you need to be careful when handling them as they are die cut and have different layers of thickness making it easy to nick, scrape, scratch and other scuffs. Handle them as if you have the ball with a two-point lead and five seconds left on the clock.

The rookie class is in the record books with Toronto Raptors high-flyer Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks iconic forward Dirk Nowitzki Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, Sacramento Young Kings in Jason Williams and Peja Stojakovic and a number of college superstars who shaped strong league careers, including Mike Bibby and Antawn Jamison. Even Carter’s basic rookie card is a fantastic image from above of him soaking. His North Carolina teammate Antawn Jamison has a very similar pose in his base rookie. There are two sequentially numbered parallel sets: Essential Credentials Now and Essential Credentials Future.

Now a cement color design parallel to the base set, features a serial number system to match the base card number, so Keith Van Horn’s number one card has a serial number of one or one of one, in essence, while card number 90 Larry Hughes has a serial number of 90 produced.


Future, a large, thick gold parallel to the base game, features the 90-card deck with serial numbering opposite the actual base card number. For example, again card number 1, Keith Van Horn, has serial number 90, while card number 90, Larry Hughes, has serial number 1.

Vince Carter was card number 89, so there are two serially numbered copies of his rookie year card in this set.

There are some remarkable, and in some cases groundbreaking, insert sets featured in EX.

The Generation EX 15-card set, found in 18 packs, features some of the best young rising superstars in the game. As for the design, there is a large black border with a clear acetate piece in the center of the card and a die-cut team logo on which the featured player overlaps. These cards really pop.

There’s funky text at the bottom that features the player’s name and team. The back of the card offers a direct “hip” message to the player featured on the front. A who’s who of young stars is featured, including Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and many more.

What started as a very fun word game has spawned a legendary insert game called Dunk N’ Go-Nuts. Found one in 36 packs on average, this set is a smart play on the legendary donut (and coffee) chain of the same name. It took on a life of its own and became a cult favorite and now a mainstream crossover hit. The set of inserts that might make you want to stop by a drive-in on the way to work tomorrow features some of the biggest names in basketball including Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and, of course, Michael Jordan.

The card design follows the base set and since much of it is clear acetate, the words Dunk N’ Go-Nuts are in the same font as the donut shop. Generally, all photos of players feature them, as you can imagine, dipping the basketball. It’s a great set that’s fun, unique, and in some cases incredibly valuable.

A PSA 9 Jordan recently sold for over $3,000. Overall prices vary, of course, depending on player and rank, but they are some of the most popular 90s basketball inserts.

The revolutionary Authen-Kicks 12-card set is a hand-numbered insert set that was one of the first card sets to feature the sneakers worn by the player on cardboard. The horizontally designed cards feature an action image of the player with the sole of a shoe as a backdrop and a small oval sample of the sneaker worn by the featured player.

This insert is a hit on many levels, from card collectors to sneakerheads to culture collectors. The checklist is a bit random, but you can find superstars like Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady included. As a special bonus, there’s an autographed version of Keith Van Horn’s card numbered just 44 – his jersey number at the time.

Autographed autographed cards can also be found in this product at a surprisingly reasonable price of $18 per clip. Offered in a number of product lines including Hoops, Metal Universe, Skybox EX Century, Skybox Molten Metal, Skybox Premium and even Skybox Thunder, they all share a unique design and checklist. The cards are featured on auto cards with a notary like Skybox raised authentication seal which adds to the uniqueness of the set.

There are a handful of stars included in the 139-card pool, but the real standouts are the rookie year autographed cards where you can find one of the rare players like Carter, Jason Williams and others. These are some of the most valuable and important rookie year cards for these players. There are plenty of lesser lights on the checklist, which can also be had for a buck or two.

1998-99 EX Century remains bright red in the aftermarket. Sealed boxes continue to increase in value with only a limited number available online.

The 1998-99 version of EX Century continues to enjoy and to be appreciated by collectors who believe it stands the test of time and remains one of the highlights of all 1990s basketball card products.

On Tony Reid

From an early age, Tony has been a huge sports fan. If he could play sports, watch sports and talk about it, it was a great day. As soon as he was drawn to sports, Tony was drawn to collecting sports cards. Little has changed over the years. He collects RCs of star baseball, basketball and football players. He also has a soft spot for early autographs from MMA stars. If you want to talk to Tony about the greatness of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, or Ken Griffey, Jr., you can reach him at @reidrattlecage on all social media platforms.


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