During a booming market for basketball cards, 1993-94 Fleer Ultra emerged as what was–for the time anyway–a high end product. Issued in two series, many shop owners and collectors gravitated toward the rookies and hard to pull cards in Series 2 but it was the 1st series that delivered one of the most well-received insert sets of the era.
The design was so eye-catching at the time that it was impossible to ignore them even in showcases filled with plenty of other options.
’93-94 Ultra Scoring Kings stands as one of the more unique and well-received to this day. Printed on foil stock, there’s plenty of deep purple color with lightning bolts bursting out in all directions. A full color image of the player overlaps the backdrop.
The Fleer Ultra logo is found in one of the upper corners and the somewhat underwhelming Scoring Kings logo is found on a lower corner of the card and the player’s name is scrolled across the bottom of the card. Photos don’t do them justice.
The card backs show a horizontal design with a paragraph detailing what makes each player such a scoring threat and also lists a few key highlights from their career.
You could argue that the card backs are as attractive as many of the card fronts from that particular era.
The Scoring Kings cards were generally found once in every 36 packs, making them quite attainable today.
The ten- card checklist features many of the most prolific bucket-getters in the league. Taking it a step further not only was the checklist filled with scorers, it was filled with greatness. Nine out of the ten players in the set are now Hall of Famers.
The powerful set starts off with a power forward for the ages. A beautiful card of Phoenix Suns megastar Charles Barkley leads it off. Chuck looks to be head faking, in the process of going up finishing at the rim. The deep colors of the Suns uniforms combined with the dark design offer an ominous look into what Barkley is about to do to his hapless defender.
Next up is a card of Detroit Pistons super scorer Joe Dumars, who was actually a top 10 scorer in the league the year prior. The card shows Joe in his classic blue Pistons uni driving toward the hoop. Joe D was an absolute bucket in his prime and is nicely represented in the set.
Card three features a full body shot of Patrick Ewing as he’s raising up ready to release a jumper. The background really pops against the white New York unis on this card of the Knicks great.
The fourth card in the set features Charlotte Hornets rising Superstar Larry Johnson in a similar pose. Grandmama is showing good form about to release a jumper.
The fifth card in the set was reserved for the card every Ultra buyer wanted to pull. This card and image is burned into the minds of young collectors from the time as one of the most memorable and significant cards of the era. It shows Jordan in his red Chicago Bulls uniform, a stylish one hand release of the rock that’s most surely going through the hoop.
Card number 6 features the big and brawny mailman who delivered in Utah for the Jazz for years. He’d wind up as the third leading scorer in NBA history before his long career ended.
The seventh card in the set features Charlotte hornets Center Alonzo Mourning raising up over a defender and releasing a floater towards the rim.
Orlando Magic Center Shaquille O’Neal is up next as the eighth card in the set although the backside of Joe Kleine gets as much play on this one. Just a classic 90s basketball card.
The San Antonio Spurs Admiral is the next to the last card in the set. The left-handed center releasing a jumper towards the rim in his classic white Spurs number 50 jersey.
The last card in the set features one of the most prolific scores of the era in Atlanta Hawks sensation Dominique Wilkins. Nique’s card is a spectacular image of him going up and under Chicago Bulls forward Horace Grant, trying to get his circus shot off. The lighting in the background of this card offers a perfect framework for Wilkins’ handiwork.
Looking back at these cards individually and then collectively, the appeal holds up 20 plus years later.
Not only does the appeal hold up two decades years later, the value does as well. A PSA 10 Scoring Kings Michael Jordan card sold for north of $20,000 in the middle of 2021. Thankfully for collectors, non-gem Jordan cards and the rest of the the set won’t set you back that much.
With the countless number of insert cards to the come out since the release of the 1993-94 Scoring Kings set, it’s an absolute testament to Fleer and the design team that this set has held up so well for so long. Scoring Kings are still among the kings of the 1990s insert game.
About Tony Reid
From the time he was a little kid, Tony has been a huge sports fan. If he could play sports, watch sports and talk about sports it was a great day. From as early as he was drawn to sports, Tony was drawn to collecting sports cards. Not much has changed over the years. He collects RCs of star players in baseball, basketball and football. He also has a soft spot for first autographs of MMA stars. If you want to talk to Tony about the greatness of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson or Ken Griffey, Jr. you can reach him at [email protected] and @OffCenterTR on social media.