2009/’10 Panini Rookies & Stars Review

A few months ago, Scott Prusha, Marketing Director for Panini America discussed how he wanted to have all of Kobe Bryant’s autographs on-card rather than a sticker.

He told Beckett Media that it was important to Kobe that he get a chance to touch and feel the card he signs. While Panini has kept true with on-card Bryant autographs, I really wish they would do it for an entire basketball release sans stickers.

Rookies and Stars is an interesting product with a very unique base design that looks like something out of 1995. In case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing in my eyes. It’s always good to get something different once in a while, even if it’s a re-hash.

The memorabilia cards and autographs are very well-done and there is no issue with the labels being hard to pick up. My only issue with this product is that it lacks personality. It may be popular but I’d much rather bust a box of Panini Basketball which has many more cards and inserts.

Of course, if you’re just interesting in “hits”, this box does come through. I pulled two relics (including a dual) and two autographs. The Team Patch Signatures look very impressive, especially in person. Yes, they are manufactured but in this particular case, it works.


Current price – $77 on Dave & Adam’s Card World

Guarantees – 120 cards, with 4 autographs or relics

Look for – Blake Griffin, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul autographs

The Good:

Unique designs

Team patch signatures look great

The Bad:

More stickers …


Relic – Dirk Nowitzki

Dual relic – Tyler Hansbrough / Ty Lawson

Autograph – A.J. Price

Patch Signature – Jonny Flynn

Final Grade: B-



  1. Like the design a lil better than the flagship, but I do agree there is something missing. I think it’s in the name, “Rookies & Stars”. It’s about as generic as it gets. You can do anything with it you can dream up design-wise, but it’ll always feel kinda flat because the name doesn’t lend itself to anything interesting. All sets have rookies and stars in them, there’s nothing unique about that. It doesn’t lend itself to a particular theme that makes it stand out.

    And there isn’t nearly as much interesting stuff you can cut up and put in a basketball card, compared to football. There’s nothing in basketball that really compares to the strangely cool and unique facemask cards the football version is most notable for, at least.

  2. This is the same design they used in football. I am undecided on it. I don’t mind a throwback to earlier sets, but this one just seems needlessly loud, especially when you consider that R&S had a very clean and classy feel when it was still under the Leaf brand.

    I will say though, that as a huge UNC fan, I would LOVE to own that Hansbrough/Lawson relic. Those were two of the most fun guys to watch that I have seen in a while (well, at least since Sean May and Raymond Felton)…

  3. I like the look of this set, especially the Freshman Orientation auto relic cards. That set reminds me of some of the mid 00’s SP Authentic relic autos.

    I agree they have a 90’s look, recent retro if you will.

    The relic on the Dirk card looks a little bigger than a normal relic piece.

    The John Flynn card is bad ass, I am not usually a fan of those type of signed patch cards, but these cards look pretty cool.

  4. While I have yet to see these cards in person, I assume they are printed on Panini’s usual glossy stock. Something about it just doesn’t feel right in my hands, and has actual been a factor in deterring me from purchasing a box of any of their sets.

    However, I appreciate the designs, and I agree that they share qualities similar to that of sets in the 90s. I really like the look of the autograph manufactured patches. The large logo patch makes the card even more appealing to a team collector. I enjoy the pairings on the dual jersey cards, but the rectangular swatches take away from the design.

    This may be my favorite set of Panini’s so far, mostly because of the manufactured patch rookie autographs. I would consider purchasing a box to get a taste of it.

  5. I don’t care for this set at all other than the patch autographs. I saw a Cousy that I would absolutely love to have in my collection, but other than that I would have to pass on this set.

  6. the design reminds me of UD Black Diamond from about 10 years ago… it is pretty good. I do like the manufactured patch… imagine a baseball team logo next to the signature instead of a random letter with a tiny signature on it… much better!

    One thing that I find interesting is that they have on card autos for the patches, but not for the stickers…

    Overall I think I would rather see some on court action than the white background on the cards

  7. I think you have been too nice/generous in regards to stickers in your reviews today. Lack of criticism, especially from people looked upon as leaders of the hobby certainly won’t help lead to more on card autographs. No one in the hobby likes them, but they keep getting made over and over because enough people don’t say to hell with this worthless crap that might not even last 10 years in reasonable storage conditions.

  8. The first thing that comes in mind is that the design reminds me of a football set and reading the comments confirm my suspicion. It just doesn’t scream basketball for me. Although it is possible that this is a design that will grow on me.

    Donruss/ Panini has to incorporate sticker autos better in the design. For far too long it looks like they just took a base card and slap on a piece scotch tape on it. The patch auto look awesome though.

    I really have to see the card in person but I’m very kind of indifferent about the cards.

  9. It’d be nice if this wasn’t a complete and utter rehash of the football version of the same product.

    This has been Panini/Donruss’s failing for a while now. Release a product in one sport, then release the product looking EXACTLY THE SAME in another sport.

    Topps is bad about this also.

  10. man, i was really hoping you would pull a kobe auto out of this one… =)

    but i, too, am not a fan of the design (ugly and same as football). the manufactured patched are ok looking, i guess, but i don’t like how the autograph looks on the material. at least it’s not on a sticker…

  11. The UD Black Diamond comparison above is spot on – and I still don’t know how I feel about Black Diamond or this. I think that the relic cards look really nice in this set, though I’m actually not a big fan of the look of the Flynn card. The auto doesn’t even look that dark, and I do not like manufactured patches at all.

  12. Another inconsistent effort from Panini. I was not big on the busy base design in football so I doubt I will like the redux for hoops. I guess the wispy looking smoke effects do fit bball better with the herb mentality and all. That Flynn is amazing looking but the rest I have seen is uninspired.

  13. Yes, the Prestige cards feel almost too glossy. There is something strange about the way they feel

    How could you have a relic card of guys that never even played yet. This appears to be another overpriced ($77) buy.

    Also, you are right, the Auto appears to be on a piece of Scotch Tape. Strange Again.

  14. hey houstoncollector, every company does that, example
    icons from ud, baseball and football, sp authentic, triple threads from topps(football and baseball), topps finest, topps cosigners, ud premier(same name, which according to you is stupid or whatever) ud heroes, and many more, this hasnt just been recently happening, its always been like that, i dont understand why people complain, if its a nicely dont product, good design and all who cares, shut up about it.

  15. This is, once again, a great set from the young Panini. The base has a lot going on, which is a good thing, and the duals look spectacular. Oh, and by the way, GO SYRACUSE!!!

  16. It would be nice to see the set totally without stickers, but I guess it’s a start for pretty boy Kobe lol. Some of the poses are a bit awkward- Allen Iverson, Wtf? But the design does look fine.

  17. hey “huh”, you know what i mean, and for icons yes, and houston collector was whining about every little thing, just like everybody is, you all need to shut up and give panini a chance, every company has a release they u may not like, so give them at least a full year.

  18. The patch autos! That’s what this set is really about. The signatures are big and easy to read. Well, easy to see at least. The base designs are interesting. I didn’t like the design at first, but it’s grown on me. I do think the design is going to look very dated in a few years. If the base set had actual on court photos, this would be my favorite basketball release of the year. I like this set alot, but I really love those patches.

  19. Just busted a box of this. Rookies are not numbered, but obviously seeded. Pulled a Kobe auto and it is on card and sweet. I pulled the Gold Stars version, numbered 05/25. There’s a ridiculous amount of inserts, some numbered, some not. I’m starting to hate manufactured patches as much as stickergraphs. Overall, it’s not a bad value at under $80 a box.

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