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A New Era of McFarlane NBA Figures?

On November 19 2001 McFarlane Toys announced that they had been granted the exclusive license to produce NBA basketball figures.

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Bringing an incredible new level of detail to the NBA figures and representing some of the NBA's leading players each of their basketball figures features official team logos and colors, and come with authentic game apparel specific to that player

McFarlane raised the bar yet again with these figures proving that a high end quality product could be produced for a reasonable retail price. Much to the delight of the fans and collectors.

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The first series hit toy stores in March 2002 and included six players:

  • Allen Iverson - Philadelphia 76ers
  • Jason Kidd - New Jersey Nets
  • Kevin Garnett - Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
  • Tim Duncan - San Antonio Spurs
  • Vince Carter - Toronto Raptors

There are three different "brands" that come under the NBA Sports Picks umbrella:

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Basic Series: Each season there is generally one basic series of basketball action figures released based on the top players and/or rookies of that season.

Legends: The Legends series highlights those players who have achieved a high level of success within the NBA or have entered the Basketball Hall of Fame. This series represents the "Best of the Best".

Collector's Edition: The Collector's Edition series of basketball action figures consists of 'one of' releases to celebrate special events or occasions such as the All-Stars game.

Many collectors prefer to leave their figures in their packaging as an "investment" but generally I like to take mine out of the packaging and allow them to "breathe" and displayed as intended.

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In recent years there has been a big debate on how much "articulation", i.e. moving parts, there should be as the trend since the 90's has been to keep articulation to a minimum, with usually 5-6 joints, but companies such as Hot Toys seem to be bucking this trend and pushing the "art" of articulation to its limits with some figures having as many as 30-40 joints. It also seems that collectors are also starting to demand more articulation on their figures.

However, the market seems to be split between the MIB collectors and "fun" collectors. MIB collectors (Mint In the Box) aren't generally concerned about the articulation because they rarely remove their figures from the original packaging whereas your fun collector likes to change their figures pose, display them and even play with them!

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Each series of these figures also included Chase and Variant figures which were randomly inserted into cases of the figures sent to retailers. The most recent addition to this line was the Collectors Level figures.

These figures are limited edition figures that are variants of the standard figures. Some of these figures will have alternative jerseys whereas others have base variations, trophies, awards, or even authentic player signatures, original or replica sports memorabilia etc.

Each of the Collectors Level figures are sequentially numbered, with the players' last name and the series name on the base for authenticity .

All in all McFarlane have created an excellent line of high quality, well produced and professionally sculpted basketball action figures that have captured the hearts and minds of fans and collectors alike and look likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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