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1980-81 Topps Basketball Cards

The economics of producing increasingly unpopular basketball cards eventually caused Topps to exit the business after 1981. Shortly before that drastic step, they tried putting three players on one card in this set. Topps had previously issued "trios" stickers as inserts in the 1971-72 wax packs. The perforated cards often were separated by us kids, instantly robbing us of our college funds when the prices of the Magic and Bird rookies went through the ceiling.

While Topps was roundly (and rightly) criticized for this lame idea, the format did produce one of the best multiplayer rookie cards ever in the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson card on the left. If that remarkable pairing weren't enough, the card also featured the long-reigning, most exciting player in the game: Julius "Dr. J." Erving. 

There are several other Bird and Magic rookie cards in the set, owing to the facts that each panel appears twice in the set (more on that below) and the return of subsets after a three-year hiatus. 

The subsets are really just panels of players with an icon denoting that they were a team leader, league leader, or All-Star with one exception: Slam Dunk cards (see the Bobby Jones panel below - and yes, that is Kobe's father on his left). A long overdue idea and one that is poorly executed here if only because of the size of the cards. Imagine the great Dr. J and David Thompson cards were could have had if this idea had been properly executed.

The leader panels have a new twist. They actually show the number of rebounds, the points-per-game average, or whatever the individual statistic was that got that player on that card just above his name. For example, the Dan Issel "scoring leader" panel below has "23.8" just above his name.

Explaining the makeup of the set is difficult, so lets start with some terms. A panel is one of the three parts of a card; a card is made up of three panels. There were 264 different panels. They appeared on the first 88 cards and then again on the second 88 cards for a total of 176 cards. Huh? I mean that the same 264 panels appear in different positions (with different players/panels next to them) in the first and second sets of 88 cards that make up the whole set. So while there are 176 different cards, there are only 264 different panels even though there are 528 total panels in the 176 cards.

Wax packs came with a measly eight cards for 25, but also featured one of 16 fold out team posters measuring 4 7/8 by 6 7/8 inches and printed on paper. Seven teams were deemed unworthy of a poster (or perhaps photos were unavailable). Checklists were provided on the backs of the All-Stars a dozen or so cards at a time.

1980-81 Topps at a Glance
Back Leaders Wax Pack
All-Stars Slam Dunk! Poster Inserts


Here's a checklist of the cards:

1 Dan Roundfield, Julius Erving, Ron Brewer
2 Moses Moses Malone (All-Star), Steve Mix, Robert Parish (Team Leader)
3 Williams (All-Star), Geoff Huston, John Drew (All-Star)
4 Steve Hawes, Nate Archibald (Team Leader), Elvin Hayes
5 Dan Roundfield, Dan Issel (Team Leader), Brian Winters
6 Larry Bird, Julius Erving (Team Leader), Magic Johnson
7 Dave Cowens, Paul Westphal (Team Leader), Jamaal Wilkes
8 Pete Maravich, Lloyd Free (Slam Dunk), Johnson
9 Rick Robey, Adrian Dantley (Team Leader), Johnson
10 May, Washington (Team Leader), Henry Bibby
11 Ford, Quinn Buckner (Team Leader), Wilbur Holland
12 Russell, Kevin Grevey, Dave Robisch (Team Leader)
13 Walker, Johnson (Team Leader), Bill Robinzine
14 Austin Carr, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (All-Star), Calvin Natt
15 Jim Cleamons, Robert Reid (Slam Dunk), Charlie Criss
16 Lagarde, Swen Nater (Team Leader), James Silas
17 Whitehead, Artis Gilmore (Slam Dunk), Jones
18 John Roche (Team Leader), Ray, Ben Poquette (Team Leader)
19 Alex English, Johnson, Jeff Judkins
20 Terry Tyler (Team Leader), Armond Hill (Team Leader), Michael Ray Richardson
21 Kent Benson, John Shumate, Paul Westphal
22 Phil Hubbard, Robert Parish (Team Leader), Tom Burleson
23 John Long, Julius Erving (All-Star), Ricky Sobers
24 Eric Money, Dave Robisch, Rick Robey (Slam Dunk)
25 Michael Cooper, Johnson (Team Leader), David Greenwood
26 Robert Parish, Robinson (Team Leader), Jones
27 Parker, Dave Dave Twardzik (Team Leader), Cedric Maxwell
28 Rick Barry, Otis Birdsong (Team Leader), John Mengelt
29 Allen Leavell, Walker (Team Leader), Williams
30 Calvin Murphy, Maurice Cheeks (Team Leader), Greg Kelser
31 Robert Reid, Wes Unseld (Team Leader), Reggie Theus
32 Rudy Tomjanovich, Johnson (All-Star), Doug Collins
33 Johnson (Team Leader), Wayne Rollins, Michael Ray Richardson (All-Star)
34 Mike Bantom, Adrian Dantley (All-Star), James Bailey
35 Dudley Bradley, Eddie Jordan (Team Leader), Allan Bristow
36 James Edwards, Mike Newlin (Team Leader), Lionel Hollins
37 Johnson, Johnson (Team Leader), Robinson
38 Knight, Paul Westphal (All-Star), Smith
39 George McGinnis, Eric Money (Team Leader),Mike Bratz
40 Ford (Team Leader), Smith, Williams (Team Leader)
41 Ford, John Drew (Team Leader), Larry Kenon
42 Scott Wedman, Bill Cartwright (Team Leader), John Drew
43 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Team Leader), Mike Mitchell, Terry Tyler
44 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Thompson, Brian Taylor (Team Leader)
45 Michael Cooper, Moses Malone (Team Leader), George Johnson
46 Mark Landsberger, Bob Lanier (All-Star), Bill Walton
47 Norm Nixon, Sam Lacey, Austin Carr
48 Marques Johnson (Team Leader), Larry Bird (Team Leader), Jack Sikma
49 Junior Bridgeman, Larry Bird (Team Leader), Ron Brewer
50 Quinn Buckner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Team Leader), Mike Gale
51 Johnson, Julius Erving (Slam Dunk), Abdul Jeelani
52 Sidney Moncrief, Lonnie Shelton (Slam Dunk), James Silas
53 Johnson, Bill Cartwright (All-Star), Bob Gross
54 Maurice Lucas, James Edwards, Eddie Jordan
55 Mike Newlin, Norm Nixon (Team Leader), Darryl Dawkins
56 Phegley, James Silas (Team Leader), Terry Tyler
57 Robinson, Mike Mitchell (Team Leader), Bobby Wilkerson
58 Van Breda Kolff, George Gervin (Team Leader), Davis
59 Michael Ray Richardson, Lloyd Free (Team Leader), Artis Gilmore
60 Bill Cartwright, Kevin Porter (Team Leader), Armond Hill
61 Knight, Lloyd Free (All-Star), Adrian Dantley
62 Joe Meriweather, Lloyd Free, David Greenwood (Team Leader)
63 Earl Monroe, Jim McElroy, Leon Douglas
64 Marvin Webster, Jones (Team Leader), Sam Lacey
65 Williams, Maurice Lucas (Team Leader), Dave Twardzik
66 Maurice Cheeks, Magic Johnson (All-Star), Ron Boone
67 Bobby Jones, Chris Ford, Joe Hassett
68 Alvan Adams, Bill Cartwright (Team Leader), Dan Issel
69 Don Buse, Elvin Hayes (Team Leader), Austin Carr
70 Walter Davis, George Gervin (All-Star), Jim Chones
71 Rich Kelley, Moses Malone (Team Leader), Winford Boynes
72 Tom Owens, Jack Sikma (Team Leader), Purvis Short
73 George Gervin, Dan Issel (Team Leader), Mitch Kupchak
74 Joe Bryant, Bobby Jones (Slam Dunk), Moses Malone
75 Swen Nater, Calvin Murphy (All-Star), Washington
76 Brian Taylor, Shumate (Slam Dunk), Larry Demic
77 Brown, Larry Kenon (Team Leader), Washington
78 Johnson, Davis (All-Star), Nate Archibald
79 Lonnie Shelton, Leavell (Team Leader), Maurice Lucas
80 Gus Williams, Dan Roundfield (Team Leader), Kevin Restani
81 Allan Bristow (Team Leader), Mark Olberding, James Bailey (Slam Dunk)
82 Tom Boswell, Billy Billy Paultz, Bob Lanier
83 Ben Poquette, Paul Westphal (Team Leader), Charlie Scott
84 Greg Ballard, Reggie Theus (Team Leader), John Williamson
85 Bob Dandridge, Reggie Theus (Team Leader), King
86 Kevin Porter, Davis (Team Leader), Otis Birdsong
87 Wes Unseld, Tom Owens (Team Leader), John Roche
88 Elvin Hayes (Slam Dunk), Johnson (Team Leader), Bob McAdoo
89 Dan Roundfield, Lloyd Free, David Greenwood (Team Leader)
90 Moses Malone (All-Star), Kevin Grevey, Dave Robisch (Team Leader)
91 Williams, Mark Olberding, James Bailey (Slam Dunk)
92 Steve Hawes, Johnson (Team Leader), David Greenwood
93 Dan Roundfield, Johnson (Team Leader), Bill Robinzine
94 Larry Bird, Bill Cartwright (Team Leader), John Drew
95 Dave Cowens, Westphal (All-Star), Smith
96 Pete Maravich, Leonard Robinson (Team Leader), Dwight Jones
97 Rick Robey, Chris Ford, Joe Hassett
98 May, Larry Bird (Team Leader), Jack Sikma
99 Ford, Johnson (Team Leader), Bob McAdoo
100 Russell, Armond Hill (Team Leader), Michael Ray Richardson
101 Walker, Otis Birdsong (Team Leader), John Mengelt
102 Austin Carr, Mike Mitchell, Terry Tyler (Team Leader)
103 Jim Cleamons, James Edwards (Slam Dunk), Eddie Jordan
104 Tom LaGarde, Billy Billy Paultz, Bob Lanier
105 Jerome Whitehead, Calvin Murphy (All-Star), Washington
106 John Roche, Wayne 'Tree' Rollins, Michael Ray Richardson (All-Star)
107 Alex English, Moses Malone (Team Leader), Winford Boynes
108 Terry Tyler (Team Leader), Thompson, Brian Taylor (Team Leader)
109 Kent Benson, Artis Gilmore (Slam Dunk), Jones
110 Phil Hubbard, Tom Owens (Team Leader), John Roche
111 John Long, Magic Johnson (All-Star), Ron Boone
112 Eric Money, Nader (Team Leader), James Silas
113 Michael Cooper, Johnson (Team Leader), Robinson
114 Robert Parish, Moses Malone (Team Leader), Johnson
115 Sonny Parker, Maurice Lucas (Team Leader), Dave Twardzik
116 Tick Barry, Sam Lacey (Team Leader), Austin Carr
117 Allan Leavell, Dave Twardzik (Team Leader), Cedric Maxwell
118 Calvin Murphy, Mike Mitchell (Team Leader), Bobby Wilkerson
119 Robert Reid, Mike Newlin (Team Leader), Lionel Hollins
120 Rudy Tomjanovich, Dan Issel (Team Leader), Winters
121 Johnson (Team Leader), Lloyd Free (Slam Dunk), Johnson
122 Mike Bantom, George Gervin (Team Leader), Davis
123 Dudley Bradley, Paul Westphal (Team Leader), Jamaal Wilkes
124 James Edwards, Nate Archibald (Team Leader), Elvin Hayes
125 Johnson, Dan Issel (Team Leader), Mitch Kupchak
126 Knight, Leavell (Team Leader), Maurice Lucas
127 George McGinnis, Bob Lanier (All-Star), Bill Walton
128 Ford (Team Leader), Adrian Dantley (Team Leader), Johnson
129 Ford, Reggie Theus (Team Leader), John Williamson
130 Scott Wedman, Kevin Porter (Team Leader), Armond Hill
131 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Team Leader), Robert Parish (Team Leader), Tom Burleson
132 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Shumate (Slam Dunk), Larry Demic
133 Michael Cooper, John Shumate, Paul Westphal
134 Mark Landsberger, Lloyd Free, Artis Gilmore
135 Norm Nixon, Elvin Hayes (Team Leader), Austin Carr
136 Johnson (Team Leader), Dave Robisch, Rick Robey (Slam Dunk)
137 Junior Bridgeman, Julius Erving (All-Star), Ricky Sobers
138 Quinn Buckner, Johnson (All-Star), Jeff Judkins
139 Johnson, Eric Money (Team Leader), Mike Bratz
140 Sidney Moncrief, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Team Leader), Mike Gale
141 Johnson, Jones (Team Leader), Sam Lacey
142 Maurice Lucas, Julius Erving (Slam Dunk), Abdul Jeelani
143 Mike Newlin, Wes Unseld (Team Leader), Reggie Theus
144 Roger Phegley, Quinn Buckner (Team Leader), Wilbur Holland
145 Cliff Robinson, Johnny Davis (Team Leader), Otis Birdsong
146 Jan Van Breda Koff, Julius Erving (Team Leader), Magic Johnson
147 Michael Ray Richardson (Team Leader), Steve Mix, Robert Parish (Team Leader)
148 Bill Cartwright, Eddie Johnson (All-Star), Doug Collins
149 Toby Knight, Paul Westphal (Team Leader), Charlie Scott
150 Joe Meriweather, Washington (Team Leader), Henry Bibby
151 Earl Monroe, James Silas (Team Leader), Terry Tyler
152 Marvin Webster, Eddie Jordan (Team Leader), Allan Bristow
153 Williams, Jack Sikma (Team Leader), Purvis Short
154 Maurice Cheeks, George Gervin (All-Star), Jim Chones
155 Jones, Ray, Ben Poquette (Team Leader)
156 Alvan Adams, Lloyd Free (All-Star), Adrian Dantley
157 Don Buse, Adrian Dantley (All-Star), James Bailey
158 Davis, Bill Cartwright (All-Star), Bob Gross
159 Rich Kelley, Jones (Slam Dunk), Moses Malone
160 Tom Owens, Norm Nixon (Team Leader), Darryl Dawkins
161 George Gervin, Foots Walker (Team Leader), Freeman Williams
162 Joe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (All-Star), Calvin Natt
163 Swen Nater, Smith, Williams (Team Leader)
164 Brian Taylor, Robert Reid (Slam Dunk), Charlie Criss
165 Brown, Larry Bird (Team Leader), Ron Brewer
166 Johnson, Bill Cartwright (Team Leader), Dan Issel
167 Lonnie Shelton, Larry Kenon (Team Leader), Washington
168 Williams, Reggie Theus (Team Leader), King
169 Allan Bristow (Team Leader), Lonnie Shelton (Slam Dunk), James Silas
170 Tom Boswell, Jim McElroy, Leon Douglas
171 Ben Poquette, Maurice Cheeks (Team Leader), Greg Kelser
172 Greg Ballard, Davis (All-Star), Nate Archibald
173 Bob Dandridge, John Drew (Team Leader), Larry Kenon
174 Kevin Porter, Dan Roundfield (Team Leader), Kevin Restani
175 Wes Unseld, Geoff Huston, John Drew (All-Star)
176 Elvin Hayes (Slam Dunk), Julius Erving, Ron Brewer (Slam Dunk)
 

 

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1980-81 BASKETBALL

Year: 1980

Manufacturer: Topps

# of Cards: 176

Value/Price: Check eBay (see links below)

Size: 2 x 3

Image courtesy of Topps


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