This is the last card in the 1981-82 Topps basketball set:
That's Moses Malone attempting a shot over Washington's Wes Unseld - who didn't have his own card in the set likely because he retired in 1981. Topps issued this set regionally, as they did with the 1981-82 hockey set: 66 main cards, 44 "East" cards, 44 "Midwest" cards, and 44 "West" cards. After this set Topps ceased production of both hockey and basketball cards until 1984 and 1992, respectively.
This is the first card of the 1983-84 Star basketball set. The Star company led their 275-card set with the 1983 champs' star player Julius Erving. I'm not going to get into whether Star counts as a "true" set since the cards were distributed in specific team bags rather than assorted randomly in packs. It's an NBA set, and it was the only option basketball card collectors had until Fleer's initial NBA release in 1986-87.
But wait... this set was released in 1983. What about 1982?
There weren't any NBA card sets in 1982. So I decided to make one.
I'm not a graphic designer and I never learned PhotoShop so I don't have a mock-up design to show you.
Instead I created a 198-card checklist for the 1982-83 "Topps" basketball set. I didn't add any Super Action or Team Leaders cards, I simply chose eight players for each team and then added a postseason recap at the end of the set - one card for each series. Here's the checklist (rookie cards in bold.)
As you can see from this sample checklist, 1982-83 Topps would have had a strong group of Rookie Cards including Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and near-HOFers Mark Aguirre and Tom Chambers. Four Hall of Famers would have had a proper sunset card, and four players missed their best chance at being captured on cardboard.
Also I noted any transactions up to the end of August; Topps may have added text to the card fronts with this info.
Hat tip to retrocards.net for these playoff highlight mock-ups.
Thanks for reading!