2021-22 Panini Contenders Basketball Preview

It’s been a dozen years since Panini brought its Contenders line over to the NBA side.  Steph Curry, James Harden, Jrue Holiday and Blake Griffin were youngsters and Panini was just starting to ease into its role as a basketball card maker.

You got four rookies in your Hobby box back then (?!?) and while things are different now, 2021-22 Contenders Basketball keeps the long-running brand’s streak of annual releases alive. As a whole, it’s one of the brands Panini will best be known for as time marches on.

2021-22 Contenders Configuration

Hobby boxes of Contenders will contain 12 packs with ten cards per pack. Cases will carry 12 boxes.

Of those 120 cards per box, a dozen will be hits:  two autographs, two parallels and two inserts or insert parallels. The SRP is $150 per box, for what that’s worth in the current market.


Rookie Ticket Autographs are the big draw with Contenders and while we don’t know exactly how many parallels there will be, Championship Tickets and Cracked Ice will be back and Panini will also honor the NBA’s 75th anniversary with another parallel. Signers include Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs, but obviously there will be many others once the checklist arrives.

Veteran Season Tickets are just that.  There will be multiple parallels including Finals Tickets, Playoff Tickets and Premium Edition Gold Vinyl parallels (1/1) on chromium stock.


Hobby exclusive inserts will include Lottery Ticket, which utilizes a gold coin motif to show off some of the top picks in last summer’s draft.  Rookie of the Year Contenders is another option to snare inserts of this season’s newcomers.

Other inserts will include Superstars Die Cut, Suite Shots, MVP Contenders, Legendary Contenders, and the rare Permit to Dominate and License to Dominate.

2021-22 Contenders Basketball is currently set for release March 2, but as always, that’s subject to change.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for over 35 years and a collector for even longer than that, he’s usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected]

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