Classic card of the week

Doug West, 1996 Skybox

Quite possibly you recall a mysterious yet magical time when Kings’ forward Michael Smith was catching hot flaming balls. Now, you can believe this or not -– your call –- but other NBA players at the time enjoyed a similar experience. In order to sway your belief in what I have just mentioned, I will now post several cards as proof of my honor:

Here is the patented Charles Barkley: “Ouch! This flaming hot basketball is hot!” face.

And here is Dale Davis with the “I realize that this basketball is, literally, on fire. But I am going to rebound it anyway. Here goes…mother f-!” maneuver.

And of course, what would a flaming hot basketball feature be without Gheorghe Muresan’s famous “I am 10 feet tall, but this comet ball still alludes me!” low post move.

Which brings us back to Doug West. Now, let’s say you are the Skybox Company of basketball cards. Your ace young executive has just wowed the boardroom with her -– yes, her –- idea to feature NBA players catching flaming hot basketballs. It is a fail-proof idea. Why? For one thing, it makes sense. Secondly, who doesn’t love a good hot ball card? Nobody. That’s who. And also, this idea is versatile. There are a million ways you can go with it.

You can have a guy rebounding a flaming ball. Awesome. Or, shooting a flaming ball. Even awesomer. And hey – how about passing a flaming ball? Crazy awesome. That is three ways right there. Add a few more and you have a million. But here is where Skybox refused to rest on its laurels. Because check this out: How about having a guy calling a timeout within the comet tail left by a flaming hot basketball?

Think about it.

Skybox did. And the rest is history. Notice how the flaming hot basketball doesn’t even make an appearance, so that the card -– taken out of the context of other cards in the series –- makes absolutely no sense. And that’s not to mention that the series itself is largely nonsensical.

But you go, Doug West. Only a true leader realizes that when an escape comet-like, flaming hot basketball has mysteriously surfaced, you call a time out.

You don’t want to get burned like stupid Barkley.

Did you know?
This idea was an offshoot of the popular video game NBA Jam, in which the ball could catch fire when a player was “hot.” Said Skybox executive Consuelo Finkleberg with regards to the concept: “There's obviously a market out there for flaming balls. We're just trying to tap into it.”