By Barry Janoff
June 27, 2013: The Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns have the top five picks in the NBA Draft tonight, but the outright winner is Panini America, which has signed 16 players expected to go in the first round or shortly thereafter.
Panini America, the official trading card partner of the NBA, said it has reached exclusive trading card agreements with projected No. 1 overall pick Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) and projected top-five selections Ben McLemore (Kansas), Otto Porter (Georgetown) and Alex Len (Maryland).
In addition, Panini America has also signed exclusive agreements with: Victor Oladipo (G, Indiana), Anthony Bennett (F, UNLV), Michael Carter-Williams (G, Syracuse), Trey Burke (G, Michigan), Shabazz Muhammad (G/F, UCLA), Cody Zeller (F/C, Indiana), Dennis Schroeder (G, Germany), C.J. McCollum (G, Lehigh), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (G, Georgia), Jamaal Franklin (G, San Diego State), Shane Larkin (G, Miami) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (G, Michigan).
The company said that the agreements grant Panini America "exclusive rights to produce officially licensed NBA rookie cards and autographed trading cards of these future NBA stars". The first rookie cards and autographs of the 2013-14 NBA Draft class will arrive in late October inside the company’s 2013-14 NBA Hoops Basketball product, according to the company.
“We’re coming off of a truly historic NBA season that culminated with one of the greatest NBA Finals we’ve ever seen,” Mark Warsop, Panini America CEO, said in a statement. “Adding so many talented new faces to the Panini America NBA family for 2013-14 ensures that our momentum will continue and we’re excited about delivering the first Rookie Cards and autographs from this next class of NBA stars.”
"We’re excited about delivering the first Rookie Cards and autographs from this next class of NBA stars.” — Mark Warsop, Panini America
Meanwhile, Panini America announced its plans for the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft, being held June 30 in the Prudential Center, home to the New Jersey Devils. The Colorado Avalanche hold the first pick.
Panini said it has created a six-card New Jersey Devils team set previewing the 2013-14 Score Hockey design featuring the following players: Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryce Salvador and David Clarkson.
In addition, Panini has produced three cards commemorating Stanley Cup victories in the New York/New Jersey area. One card features Scott Niedermayer and pays tribute to the Devils three Championships. Mark Messier is featured on a card commemorating the New York Rangers winning the 1994 Stanley Cup in 1994. The third features Bryan Trottier and pays tribute to the New York Islanders dynasty that brought them four Stanley Cups.
Panini America is an official partner of both the NHL and NHL Players Assn.
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