Yet another Topps mockup and presentation "set" has popped up in the past few weeks. For its annual release of hoopsters in 1976, Topps went to a chunky 3 1/8 x 5 1/4" super-size card that was not brought back the next year. However, prior to this set being thought up and marketed, it appears an internal presentation was made to the Topps brass (a situation we have seen here before) using 1973 basketball cards as the basis for the pitch. Thanks to noted basketball collector and Friend o'the Archive Don Huse for pointing out these intriguing cards:
The back has clear indications of being taped to something else and my guess is that object was a presentation board:
The description on these (they are on eBay) makes it seem like they were created by an artist and are not true photographs. This Marvin Barnes card's damage would bear this out:
In addition to White and Barnes, two other examples are known. One is of Jim Chones:
And the other depicts Slick Watts:
There do not seem to be any other examples, which are being sold by BMW Sportscards. All four have tape residue on their reverses. A little detective work. some by another Friend o'the Archive, Adam Warshaw, reveals that Barnes began his career in the 1974-75 season and that Chones too entered the league that year. Based on all that, it seems the likely date of creation was around 1975.
Of note also is that the 1973 card of Jo Jo White looked totally different than the mock up using the '73 design:
There was no 1973 Slick Watts card while the other two players, as noted above, entered their respective leagues after 1973. Here is a 1976 Topps card of Jo Jo White, to complete his trifecta and I think we can all agree the action shots on the mockups are far superior to this:
I am quite curious if more ersatz 73's are out there.