Monday, February 15, 2016
1992-93 Charlotte Hornets Burger King Standups Set
Twelve Charlotte Hornets players were the subjects of a unique "standups" promotion issued during the 1992-93 NBA season.
To summarize, four different envelopes were released by Charlotte-area Burger King restaurants during the course of the promotion. Each envelope contained three player standup cards that were denoted on the envelope fronts. The four set sponsors were also listed on the envelope fronts (Burger King, WJZY 46, Coca-Cola and the Hornets).
Each standup was printed on medium-weight cardstock and perforated around the general shape of the player it pictured. The half-oval "stand" for each player is also perforated on one of the sides. As you've probably guessed by now, the idea was to display the players on a flat surface by removing the excess card backgrounds along their perforations, then using the stand piece to keep these upright.
The promotion was released at a good time, as Charlotte was excited about the potential of their hometown ballers in 1992. Rookie center Alonzo Mourning was drafted by the Hornets, being picked second overall after some dude nicknamed Shaq who went to Orlando. Adding Mourning to a roster that already included Larry Johnson (who had been drafted 1st overall the year before) and Muggsy Bogues (an overachiever who had been a Charlotte fan-favorite since the club first played in 1988) caused fans to pour into the Charlotte Coliseum. Kendall Gill and Dell Curry rounded out the five players that played the most minutes that year for Charlotte, and by season's end the Hornets found themselves in the playoffs for the first time in their five year history. Though the Hornets beat a surprised Celtics team in the Eastern Conference First Round, the Knicks would prove to be too much to handle in the Eastern Conference Finals, where Charlotte was downed four games to one.
All five players mentioned above are included in the standups set, with the rookie-year Mourning being the most valuable by far. This type of perforated card had been released before in past years and in other places, typically for promotions just as obscure as this one. Due to these being a regional oddball offering, and with cards a size much larger than the standard issue (these standups measure a whopping 4 inches across by 8 7/8 inches tall), the set was pretty much destined to be off the radar of most basketball collectors from the beginning.
While I don't believe these cards to be truly scarce, they do seem to have gone into hiding; one doesn't find these all too often on the internet auction sites. When looking for a set, it would be advisable to find the cards still in their original envelopes and the perforations need to be fully intact to maintain their value. I believe a complete set with envelopes should be valued in the $20 range today, and this oddball gem provides an interesting alternative to the millions of mainstream cards that were produced during the peak of the basketball junk wax era.