Earlier today Panini America made the long awaited announcement that they have signed 2019 NBA #1 pick, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans to an EXCLUSIVE TRADING CARD AGREEMENT.
Panini America reported that his first officially licensed autographed cards will appear in Panini America’s 2019 Contenders Draft Picks Basketball releasing in early September.
They also announced Zion’s first officially licensed NBA autographs will release in October in 2019-20 NBA Hoops Basketball and he will be included in the 25 more basketball card products released during the season by Panini.
It took awhile for this news to come out because Zion had issues with the original agent he signed with coming out of Duke. He since has changed representation and was able to officially sign with Panini America.
I believe Panini wishes this would have been able to be announced last week while 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention was taking place in Chicago.
This is great news for Panini America, Local Card Shops, Breakers and of course Collectors. In 2016-17 when #1 NBA pick, Ben Simmons signed an exclusive deal with Upper Deck, we all lost out on the opportunity to collect rookie autographs of the top pick.
Panini and Upper Deck have traded signing exclusives with players from sports they are not licenced to create. Leaving collectors out in the cold and not being able to collect the hot rookie or super star in licenced professional uniforms. Leaving them to collect them in gym clothes, high school uniforms or photo shopped pictures.
Upper Deck Exclusive Basketball Players
- Michael Jordan
- LeBron James
- Ben Simmons
Panini America Exclusive Hockey Players
- Kaapo Kakko
Zion is a game changer and the demand for any and all 2019-20 NBA Basketball product will be very high. My recommendation would be if you are able to save a few boxes this year, I would do so. Easier said than done.