Panini America has signed five of the NBA’s top draft prospects to exclusive trading card agreements, the company’s first player endorsement deals since being named the exclusive licensee for the NBA in January.
Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Brandon Jennings (Lottomatica Virtus Roma, Italy) and Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut) will be featured in all 2009-10 Panini NBA card products and on select packaging and advertisements throughout the year. In addition, exclusive autograph cards from these five players will be prominently featured in Panini America’s first line of NBA products. The first release for 2009 is Prestige, coming in October.
“Blake, Tyler, Jordan, Brandon and Hasheem are all special players who we believe will have great careers in the NBA,” said Mike Eisenstein, president of Panini America. “Rookies are a key part of the trading-card business, and we’re excited that fans will have the opportunity to receive autographed cards of these great players exclusively in Panini packs. As we look forward to beginning our first year as the NBA’s exclusive trading card partner, it was important for us to build around great basketball players and great people. We feel strongly that these five will make a positive impact both on and off the court.”