1969-70 Topps Basketball — Walt Bellamy

A first for Off-Centred: a basketball post! Basketball cards don’t get much love from collectors, myself included. In fact, I don’t really like basketball–I’ll watch the Celtics if it’s the playoffs but that’s about it–so this was purchased strictly for aesthetics. I like it so much that I thought I’d try and put it together, however, the Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar/Lew Alcindor and a few other rookies put it out of reach. Also, Topps had some sort of licensing issue going on at the time with the NBA, so almost all the players are wearing their jerseys backwards to avoid showing team nicknames. This card is an exception, as the Pistons away jerseys at the time just listed “Detroit” on the front instead. So I’ll probably just pick up a few here and there for my tallboy collection.

I don’t know much about Walt over here other that he won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, was a first overall pick, and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame here in Massachusetts. The thing I find most impressive about him is the list of defunct and relocated teams on his resume: Chicago Packers, Baltimore Bullets, and New Orleans Jazz. Of all the strange things about professional sports I think the strangest is that the franchise kept the nickname “Jazz” after they moved to Utah. The Utah Jazz. Just think about that for a second, people.

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