Upper Deck Basketball Review

Basketball is a fun sport to watch and even more fun sport to play. The problem is that there’s just not much to photograph. If you’ve ever busted an entire box of basketball cards, you’ve pretty much seen every pose there is. Oftentimes, companies fail to capture collectors’ imagination.

Thankfully, 2009-’10 Upper Deck Basketball does not disappoint. I have sampled basketball products from Topps & Panini but none come close to Upper Deck in the photography department. This release may also be the best use of the 2009 flagship design, which doesn’t hurt.

Simply put, you get a lot of bang for not much buck. While this release will never compete with U.D. giants like Exquisite, it’s a great product that delivers excellent photography, designs, and a little “Mojo” for those who live for their memorabilia cards and autographs.

Did I forget to mention Upper Deck lost its basketball license?


Current eBay price – Under $60 dollars

Guarantees – Over 300 cards and four “hits”

Look for – “hot boxes” with 16 game-used relics or autographs

The Good:

Can’t go wrong with over 300 cards for $60 dollars

The best photography in basketball releases

3D inserts are fun and cheap

Masterpieces inserts!

The Bad:

Not a damn thing


Dual relic – Carmelo Anthony, Vince Carter

Autograph – DeAndre Jordan

Autograph – Bobby Brown

Final Grade: A+



  1. Mario, I don’t quite understand your love affair with UD Photography. They’re simply purchasing it on the secondary market from Getty as opposed to paying individual photographers for their snapshots.

    I’m not dissin’ UD for doing this, they pick the greatest images of the bunch, but honestly, Getty Images has the best photographers, in the best spots, with the best lenses ….ever.

    Honestly, Upper Deck really doesn’t have to do any work because Getty sets the bar so damn high. They could pick any photograph from the image bank and get a winner.

    With that said, I have no clue how their licensing agreement works. I don’t know if they’re paying per photo, or just a general fee (which is almost certainly massive).

    Topps on the other hand appears to be paying individual photographers for their work, and thus we get super shitty repetitive photographs.

    So yah, you’re right — UD does rock.

  2. Yikes,

    At this point I’m pretty much giving up on the sticker wars. I don’t mind seeing them on a low-end product but anything over $200 better have on-card autographs.

  3. I do like Masterpiece as an insert more than it’s own set.

    I like that UD uses the same base card design across several sports, but I am not a big fan of this years design. Also, enough with the Jordan base cards. I know he is the greatest, but its kind old at this point. Basketball more than any other sport seems to love having veterans in the base sets. It was cool the first time, but now it’s just seems a little played out.

    the 3d inserts look cool.

  4. The dual jersey ain’t bad to look at at all, but I think the Masterpieces and 3D Stars are the real draw for me. And that’s coming from someone who loves them their hitz.

  5. An A+ for a product with player names and team logos in impossible-to-read foil? When will manufacturers learn the the most important thing about a player name is that it is EASY TO READ!!!!

  6. I love the 3D Stars insert and Masterpieces has an amazing feel to it. I am excited to see hot boxes again. I guess UD is just looking to dump their NBA stash, but it’s still cool. I got a football hot box last year and felt like a king, even if it only yielded 4 extra relics. A $60 box with 16 hits? That’s nice. Too bad I gave up on collecting basketball. I would love to bust some of this.

  7. I really like this set. Forget the hits and everything extra. This was a great way for Upper Deck to go out before losing its NBA license.

    I don’t mind a sticker dump in a flagship product. Sticker dumps in products such as Topps Signature are the types of things that ruin the hobby.

    When you factor in the great inserts this puts this set over the top. I don’t know why they didn’t do it in baseball, but the Masterpieces inserts are beautiful. That’s a set that I definitely think that I’m going to chase. The 3-D Stars are great as well.

    Just like the 20th Anniversary cards ruin every baseball product this year, the Jordan Collection cards ruin Upper Deck’s hoop offerings. That’s about the only negative though.

  8. In all honesty a clear sticker over the top of a solid color blends in really well… when it goes across multiple layers of a card, or over the top of an action photo, that is when it looks really goofy! But here it isn’t terrible… but I still would rather it be different.

    That being said… Masterpieces!! Not a bad insert, do the cards have the same feel as the baseball ones, or are they kind of glossy? I still need to see a 3-d card in person before I give it my seal of approval!

    Overall though I like the amount of cards with some solid hits, that you get for the price!

  9. yes, the photography is great but i’m sorry, those autographed cards are just plain ugly (even if they were on-card). i’m not too much of a fan of the vertical auto either….

  10. I thought Bobby Brown was a singer. Is DeAndre Jordan Michael Jordan son. I thought Jordan was a rookie last year. Would Rather have his rookie card auto. How many times can you keep putting Michael Jordan in a card set.

  11. Wow, masterpieces and a 3d card – I am definitely sold on this set. Plus the autos look great – I think I like autos better when they appear sideways compared to the image.

  12. I generally dont get that excited about low end basketball releases but this set is the exception. I agree with the A plus ranking. The design of the base and inserts is fantastic and I love seeing MP brought back as an insert. This is one of the few UD products I have seen that actually delivers value at the MSRP across the run. I will be buying some of this!

  13. got a box of this a while back
    wheres the 3d in the 3d stars?
    its just an image of 2 different players

    ill give them credit for trying
    was just hoping for something more like diamond vision
    and less like a card in a cereal box

  14. Like many I don’t mind sticker autos in a base set but why does it have to be sideways. The 3D card looks cool. Looks like there are copying Topps Turkey Red with Masterpieces and inserting into the base set which make it harder to collect. I always buy at least one box of UD basketball every year. I always get good value from them. I am really disappointed that UD lost there license.

  15. I like this set, but the base card is getting old for me becuase I collect both baseball and basketball andin each flagship set this year, the base is the identical setup. Other than that, I love the Matchup jersey cards and Masterpiece inserts.

  16. I love this set, the autographs are weak with the exception of a few that I have seen. The jersey cards however are amazing, I have been fortunate enough to collect a few and have some got some great ones through ebay and lucky enough in a few packs at my hobby store. Where else can you get a dual jersey of Magic and Worthy, Nash and Paul, Lebron and Jordan just to name a few. I love the masterpieces cards as well. This product is well worth the money if you like jersey cards, if you are into autographs, it is weaker but you may luck out!

  17. Wow, another great value with alot of cards for a reasonable price, not to mention the “hits”. Speaking of them, they look to have a pretty nice design to them, especially the autos. Couple that with nice inserts and masterpieces, this looks pretty nice.

  18. The base cards look great. I love that you get over 3/4 of actual photo. The team logos and names aren’t the main focus of the card. The autos ar alright. I’d rather see them at the bottom of the card, but at least you CAN see them. The 3d cards add some fun to the set. I kind of like how the base cards are the best part of the whole set. I’ll get some.

  19. This is typical UD basketballe product, great action shots, interesting inserts and you gotta love those Masterpiece cards. Simple, complete and pretty cheap so you can not really ask for much more.

  20. Can someone explain me something:
    How is it that UD can still put a 2009-2010 trading cards set on the market without a NBA license? I thought panini would be the only one this year to sell cards?
    I hope somebody can explain me…. (perhaps email me with the explanation: anne_chubby@hotmail.com)

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