Highlighted by quite possibly the strongest draft class in NBA history including Lakers (by way of Charlotte) icon Kobe Bryant, first overall pick Allen Iverson, multiple time NBA MVP Steve Nash and a host of others, 1996-97 was a great year for basketball cards. Fleer continued production of a higher end product it had debuted four seasons earlier. Fleer Ultra packs also featured cards from an insert set that was an ode to guys who didn’t always get their just due on the nightly highlight shows.
Since the beginning of time, the guys who put the ball in the bucket seem to get all of the love and attention in the NBA and in basketball in general. Whether it be in the NBA Finals or the YMCA on Sunday afternoon, if you fill it up, you get shine. This refreshing insert set made it a point to highlight the players on the defensive side of the ball.
This 10-card Full Court Trap insert set features the elite stoppers that were selected to the NBA First and Second All-Defensive Teams the prior season.
The card design offers a silver foil etched, hypnotic look. It leads the unsuspecting ball handler straight into steals, blocked shots and turnovers. The 1996-97 Fleer Ultra logo is seen in one of the upper corners of the card. In a darker foil, the player’s name runs vertically from bottom to top of the card in the same darker foil. The Full Court Trap text scrolls across the bottom of the card in the same darker foil. Each card shows a full color in action shot of the player featured. Michael Jordan’s card is especially cool as he’s hunkered down in his defensive stance, ready to make a stop at the defense end of the floor.
The card backs offer a white stripe and opposing black stripe as the backdrop. There is a full color image of the player featured with the designation that they indeed made the 1995-96 NBA All Defensive Team as well as the player’s name running in the same font from the front of the card.
The raised embossed text bleeds through to the back of the cardboard.
Jordan leads off the set. A G.O.A.T. at both ends of the floor, Jordan is featured in his black pinstripe Bulls uniform and in his defensive stance, laser focused and ever intense, ready to steal the ball from whoever happens to be bringing it up court.
Seattle Supersonics NBA Defensive Player of the Year honoree and Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton was the second card in the set.
The Glove is featured on the front communicating something on the defensive end of the floor as we all know he was one of the best, well, ‘communicators’ in the history of the game.
Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammate and Robin to his Batman, Scottie Pippen, is the third card in the set.
A superstar at both ends of the floor, Pippen was a key component to the Bulls six NBA Championships. He is also found on the card front and the card in the black pinstriped Bulls uniform.
The fourth card in the set features San Antonio Spurs defensive stopper David Robinson. The Admiral appears to be grabbing a rebound in the picture.
A former NBA Defensive Player of the Year in his own right, Robinson proved that he’s still an elite defender.
A great example of the Chicago Bulls defensive dominance is shown in the fact that rebounding machine and pound for pound wildest man on the court, Dennis Rodman, is also featured in this set.
As you might imagine, The Worm appears to be securing yet another rebound on his card front and doing it in one of his signature acrobatic and artistic poses.
Not to be confused with Pearl Jam’s alternate choice for the band name, the real Mookie Blaylock is next up in the Full Court Trap set.
A man who often ranked high in league stats in steals found himself a part of this particular insert set. He’s featured in his new(er) Atlanta Hawks gear, ready to make yet another steal.
The seventh card in the set features a former Chicago Bull in power forward Horace Grant. Ho moved on to Orlando and took his defensive prowess with him.
One of the most physical and effective defenders at the forward position, Grant is a worthy addition to the defensive second team in the Full Court Trap set.
One name that is definitely not mentioned in many of our insert set reviews is that of Indiana Pacers forward Derick McKey.
A multiple time member of the NBA All Defensive 2nd Team, McKey was a key cog in the Pacers D. He earns his spot in this defensive focused set.
A name that is mentioned often in our pieces is that of Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. At the time, The Dream was a two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and quickly emerging as one of the greatest centers of all time.
His card front shows him aggressively attacking the ball and whatever poor soul that was near it.
The final card in the set is that of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Bobby Phills. Again, not a player often talked about in our insert sets and subsets, Phills with a big, strong defensive stopper for Cleveland on the perimeter for many years.
The picture on this card shows him intently defending and stopping whoever might be in front of him.
Parallels and Pricing
It should be noted that there is a gold embossed parallel of the Full Court Trap insert, inserted at a rate of one in every 180 packs, making it a much more difficult set to acquire.
Many of the raw cards in the 1996-97 Ultra Full Court Trap set can be had for just a few dollars. The most valuable, as you would imagine, is the Jordan card. In raw form or graded PSA 8, expect to pay around $50. You can expect to pay close to $200 for a PSA 9 copy. You can check out all of the singles and the occasional set on eBay here.
Full Court Trap is a little off the beaten path but defense, after all, wins championships.
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.