Sunday, February 5, 2023

SLU Showcase #3 - Kareem & co.

While we wait for LeBron James to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA's all-time scoring list, let's see what NBA Starting Lineups are sitting on the shelf at Collector HQ:

There's the legend, displayed in an enclosure just like in the movie BASEketball:

This is no way to treat basketball royalty! Let the man out and let him run around with the other 7ft. superstar centers like Wilt Chamberlain:

You didn't think I was going to open a 1988 Kareem SLU, did you? It's my oldest NBA figure by far. Second oldest is that Hakeem Olajuwon on the left, which I purchased for ... 

...hold on. 

... why is Shaq so much smaller than everyone? He looks like a point guard compared to these titans.

He's a quarter-inch shorter than Larry Bird! This Bird figure is from the 1988 series, which makes it the oldest open figure in my small basketball collection. All four loose figures were a gift from Jon, whose generous cardboard contributions got me back into collecting basketball. He's done it again with SLU!

Back to Hakeem. When I was a basketball kid back in the early '90s, he was my guy and the Rockets were my team. One weekend in 1996 or so, my sister-in-law took me and her five year-old son to a sports card shop in her hometown. Card Castle had the best selection of hockey cards in the state of Connecticut, but their Starting Lineup shelves were the main draw. I could have spent hours perusing the racks of older, out-of-market pieces. And I did, in several ensuing visits to the shop. 

This figure is special, because my SIL brought me and helped me pay for it. Maybe I bought other things or I was short on cash, I don't remember. But I do remember that this cost $20 that day. 

Not a wise investment; I could get a sealed Hakeem from the 1988 series for twenty today.

The back is a little scuffed on the left side. I've brightened this image so you can see the checklist. The days of representing every pro team were long gone, but three quarters of the league were covered. Shawn Kemp, Sean Elliott, and Bobby Hurley are intriguing to me.

Here's the back of Jabbar's piece, brightened as well. My old scanner used to allow non-flat items to scan but this one wont scan anything if the top can't close over it. Anyway... the 1988 NBA series was full of white whales for eight year-old me to chase down. I rarely saw any hoops pieces in stores: a Michael Jordan here, a couple Celtics there. Maybe a Knicks row once. I did end up with a loose Danny Manning somehow, but that was it.


look at Larry dunk lol

I've got a small handful of sealed Starting Lineup basketball figures from the mid-to-late '90s. Contrasting the pieces you see here, they're almost all guards. Perhaps I'll show those in a future post. 

Next week, I'm all about baseball with the 100 Greatest Non-Hall of Famers and a dozen new SLU figures that just arrived. My display shelf is filling up fast :)

Thanks for reading!



  1. I never owned a basketball SLU. I wish I did! They look awesome.

  2. After all of these years you still have the Hakeem figure, and obviously still care about it, plus the positive memory attached to it; so with those two things in mind, I'd say that $20 was a pretty good investment :)

  3. The only basketball figures I bought (when they were first released) were Lakers players. I'd have to check to see if I have any still sealed. I know I have a 1988 Jordan, but I picked that up much later at the flea market. Sure hope you show off the rest of your basketball SLU's.