They just look dumb. The 1970-71 Topps basketball cards look stupid for a few reasons.
These cards are “tall boys,” which is good news if you’re talking about Old Milwaukee, but just looks dumb for a sports card. When Topps jumped back into basketball cards in 69-70, they decided that longer cards– to mirror the stretch physiques of basketball players– might make them more interesting.
Also, the outfits are weird. Legend says a clause in the players’ union contract said that players couldn’t profit from images of themselves wearing the team name or logo.
The solution is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Players wore their jerseys backwards. Or their shoot-around warmup gear (sometimes backwards.) Or they wore plain jerseys. Or they wore white t-shirts.
The team name does not appear on cards, either. Just Boston, no Celtics. Just Baltimore, no Bullets. Just Cincinnati, no Royals.
My interest in these very odd offerings is in the first basketball cards marked Buffalo (but not Braves.) 1970-71 was the year the NHL and the NBA expanded to include Buffalo, and that makes the cards only weirder for Buffalonians.
There is no Braves feel to any of these first Braves cards. The photos are not only of guys wearing backwards jerseys, they are all wearing the backwards jerseys of other teams.
Dick Garrett, coming off a rookie of the performance for the Lakers before being taken by the Braves in the expansion draft, is wearing a crisp white t-shirt.
But perhaps the worst sports card of all time has bothered and intrigued me since I bought it for 25¢ almost 30 years ago.
Nate Bowman played one season for the Buffalo Braves. He came here from the 69-70 champion Knicks, but you already knew that, because he’s wearing a backwards Knicks shirt.
While you’re looking at that shirt, look at the armpit on the right side of the card. It might be easier to be judgmental in this modern day where Photoshop flawlessly fixes anything, but holy freakin’ cow. Half of dude’s torso is missing.
It looks a lot like the guy who was editing the cards was working on this one right before lunch, and when he came back, he accidentally put it on the done pile.
How could someone only give a guy half an armpit and think that’s ok?
Worst. Sports Card. Ever. Unless you have other nominations.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @SteveBuffalo | www.facebook.com/stevecichon
More of those ridiculous first year Buffalo Braves cards: