#11 Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns check in at No. 11 in the Panini America 30 Teams | 30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The Suns have been home to some of the game’s greatest players including Charles Barkley, Connie Hawkins, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Johnson. Ten Suns players have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The club may still be looking for its first NBA championship, but the organization has enjoyed a lot of success in the desert. In only their eighth  season, led by Dick Van Arsdale, Paul Westphal and Hawkins, the Suns made their first trip to the NBA Finals.  The Suns fell to the Boston Celtics in a hard fought 4-2 series.

The foundation of its next run of success was built around Walter Davis, Johnson, Barkley, Tom Chambers and Dan Marjerle. A 13 consecutive season playoff run included another trip to the NBA Finals in 1993, led by NBA MVP Barkley. The Suns won an impressive 62 games in the regular season. The Chicago Bulls prevailed in the Finals to win their third championship in a row.

During the early 2000s, the Suns were led by Steve Nash who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Grant Hill, Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire were also part of the team in this period. The fast break-style offense made the team an athletic force among and one of the NBA’s elite teams for several seasons.

The club may still be looking for its first NBA championship, but the organization has – for the most part – enjoyed success in the desert, and owns the league’s second highest winning percentage of any team not to yet win an NBA title.

Check out the Suns all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. And if you’re looking for the latest Panini NBA products, you can find them on their website.

#12 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder spent over 40 years as the Seattle Supersonics before relocating to OKC in 2008.

The Thunder have been a key part of a makeover of Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have generated excitement in the city for over a decade. He was the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and has played his entire career as a member of the Thunder. He’s won an MVP, averaged a Triple Double for an entire season twice (and is on his way to his third straight season currently), and become the face of the franchise with his passion and drive. The Thunder have made the NBA Finals and become a consistent contender in their brief time in OKC.

The franchise was legendary before they moved to the Midwest. They won the 1979 NBA title behind the efforts of Fred Brown, Jack Sikma and others. The Sonics also had some of the most popular players in the 1990s, the era when many card collectors grew up. Shawn Kemp was a supremely talented and athletic power forward, slamming down monster dunks and becoming a ’90s superstar.

The Sonics only got one season of Kevin Durant before moving to OKC, but that was a Rookie of the Year season for the teenager. Durant made the move to Oklahoma with the team, where he became their scoring leader and first superstar. While Westbrook and James Harden were developing into the future-MVPs that they would become, Durant was the focal point for the team. He won the MVP in 2014 and led them to the NBA Finals that season.

Check out the Sonics/Thunder all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#13 Miami Heat

Founded in 1988, the Miami Heat franchise is one of the youngest in the NBA.

It took them a few years to gain a foothold in the league, but the additions of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway in the mid-1990s helped to establish the franchise as a contender. The biggest move in the history of the team, though, was when they drafted Dwyane Wade fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. The shooting guard from Marquette was selected after LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh in what would end up being one of the greatest draft classes in NBA history. The Heat are pretty happy with the player they ended up with at No. 5. Wade is the best player in Miami history, leading them to their first NBA Title in 2006, when he teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to bring the championship to Miami.

But it was in 2010 when good times really starting coming to Miami. Wade was able to leverage his friendship (and the Heat’s large amount of cap space) to recruit his friends from the 2003 Draft Class to Miami. James and Bosh joined up with Wade to form the “Big Three” that would go to four straight NBA Finals and win two titles. This turned the Heat into must-watch television and a national storyline every night. The Heat were the hottest ticket in the entire NBA and every game, whether at home or on the road, felt like a playoff game. It was truly the best time in franchise history.

Check out the Heat’s all-time roster, consisting of many players who helped the franchise to those three championships. Click on the card of each player to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#14 Portland Trail Blazers

Many NBA fans may not realize how consistent the Portland Trail Blazers franchise has been since they were founded in 1970. The Blazers have made the playoffs in 34 of the team’s 48 seasons and reached the postseason 21-straight seasons between 1983 and 2003.

This success has resulted in Portland’s fanbase being one of the most passionate and supportive in the entire league. Their 814-game sellout streak is one of the longest in major sports history. The first true superstar and all-around best player in franchise history was Bill Walton.

The eccentric big man has remained in the public spotlight for decades as a Grateful Dead-loving, off-the-wall, iconic color commentator, but he was a dominant big man in his prime. He only played four years for the Blazers, but those four years were magical. In 1976-77 he led them to the only championship in franchise history. It was the first winning season Portland had ever experienced and the first time they’d even reached the postseason. Walton and the Blazers faced off against Julius “Dr. J” Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers were up 2-0 in the series before Walton took over. He won the Finals MVP by willing the Blazers to four-straight victories with his dominant post play.

Walton would eventually give way to other Blazers’ superstars such as Clyde “The Glide” Drexler who would take the Blazers to two NBA Finals appearances. Currently the team is led by Damian Lillard, a generational talent at point guard and one of the most underrated and under-appreciated players in the the entire NBA. Portland’s loyal and passionate fanbase certainly appreciates Lillard and places him alongside the other Blazers’ legends in this all-time lineup.

Click on each card in the countdown to see if they are available to purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#15 Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks were founded in 1946 as the Buffalo Bisons, but it was when they settled in St. Louis as the St. Louis Hawks in 1955 that they really began to find success.

Only three years after arriving in St. Louis, the Hawks, led by Cliff Hagan and Bob Pettit, defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in six games. Pettit put up 50 points in the series-clinching game. The Hawks experienced some of their best years in the first decade, they made the Finals several more times. The legendary Lenny Wilkens joined the team in 1960 and quickly helped keep the team near the top of the league.

They would eventually move to Atlanta in 1968 where the team featured exciting stars like “Pistol” Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson. They were an entertaining team for their new fanbase in the 1970s.

But the most exciting player in franchise history arrived in 1982 when the “Human Highlight Film” Dominique Wilkins showed up in Atlanta. Wilkins was one of the most athletically gifted players to ever play the game. His dunking ability was legendary, but he was also a dynamic scorer, thrilling Atlanta Fans for more than a decade.

For most of their history the Hawks have been consistent playoff contenders, especially in the 21st century where they were one of four teams to make 10-straight playoff appearances (2008-2017).

Click on each card to see if it’s available on the Beckett Marketplace.

#16 Sacramento Kings

Of all the NBA teams with long histories involving several cities and leagues and nicknames, none are as complicated as the Sacramento Kings. Here’s a quick rundown: Rochester Seagrams (1923-1942), Rochester Eber Seagrams (1942-1943), Rochester Pros (1943-1945), Rochester Royals (1945-1948 National Basketball League, 1948-1957 NBA), Cincinnati Royals (1957-1972), Kansas City-Omaha Kings (1972-1975), Kansas City Kings (1975-1985), Sacramento Kings (1985-Present).

Head spinning a little? The oldest member of this legendary lineup, Jack Twyman, began playing for the Rochester Royals so you’ll only need to keep track of five different name changes for the purposes of this lineup. Twyman, the high-scoring forward who was mentioned in the same breath as Wilt Chamberlain when it came to points scored, was a legendary player of the early days. But the best player in franchise history and one of the greatest of all-time showed up in 1960 when the franchise was the Cincinnati Royals.

The “Big O” Oscar Robertson became synonymous with one thing: the Triple Double. Robertson filled the stat sheet every night in an astonishing fashion, scoring points, grabbing boards, dishing assists and leading the Royals to near the top of the NBA. Twyman, along with Jerry Lucas, were key contributors on those teams as well.

Nate “Tiny” Archibald would eventually take the superstar reigns in 1970 after Robertson’s departure. He was part of the team when they moved to Kansas City in 1972. Archibald led the league in scoring and assists that season. He was the face of the franchise for much of the 1970s.

The team would finally settle in Sacramento in 1985, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that they truly found success. Chris Webber arrived via trade and teamed up with guys like Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, and Mike Bibby to turn the Kings into a Western Conference power. They contended for the Western Conference crown many times over the next several years. They pushed the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers all the way to game 7 in the 2002 Western Conference Finals in one of the most talked about series in NBA history.

Click on each card to see whether they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#17 Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks were founded in 1980 by Don Carter, famous for his cowboy hat that would become part of the team’s first logo.

With their very first NBA Draft pick, they selected Kiki Vandeweghe, who was later traded. That trade turned out to be a huge benefit when they used the draft pick to select Rolando Blackman the next year. Ro became a franchise player who paired up with Mark Aguirre, Brad Davis and Derek Harper to lead the upstart Mavs to unexpected success in the 1980s. Expansion teams aren’t supposed to contend for the playoffs so quickly, but the Mavs made it to the Conference Semifinals in their fourth season. By 1987-88, the Mavs were one of the best teams in the entire Western Conference, making the Conference Finals and taking the unstoppable Los Angeles Lakers all the way to a seventh game before losing.

That would be the high point for the franchise for more than a decade. They didn’t make the playoffs in the 1990s, but that did result in high draft picks, one of which they used to select future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd. Kidd was immediately a star for the Mavs, but he would be traded away within three years of being drafted. That wouldn’t be the end of his story with the Mavs, as he would return in 2007 and eventually help the team to their only NBA title.

But the story for the modern-day Mavs began with the additions of Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki in 1998. At the time, neither move seemed too important, but they would become the most impactful in franchise history. Nash, Nowitzki and Michael Finley formed the core of the high-scoring teams under Head Coach Don Nelson. The Mavs made the playoffs for 12-straight seasons starting in 2000-01, becoming one of the best teams in the entire NBA and consistently contending for a title.

Nowitzki would become the best player in franchise history and the best European player ever. His legacy in Dallas is unmatched, and was cemented in 2011 when the Mavs finally won the NBA Title. Nowitzki, along with Kidd and others, defeated the Miami Heat in the first season of that superteam of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Dirk’s play in that series has gone down as one of the most impressive Finals’ performances in history.

Check out the team below and click each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

International Stars

In honor of All-Star week and the impact that players born outside the United States have had on the NBA, Panini and Beckett decided to put together a special lineup of the greatest International Stars in history.

The NBA is truly a global game, with stars from all over the world. At this week’s All-Star game you’ll see stars from Greece, Cameroon, Australia, Montenegro, Serbia and Germany.

This lineup features stars China to Jamaica and everywhere in between. It contains without a doubt the greatest European player ever in Dirk Nowitzki, two legendary African big men in Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutomobo and the man who opened the NBA’s gateway to China in Yao Ming.

When looking at this lineup, you’ll realize one thing: it helps to be over 7-feet tall. Any opponent would have some trouble driving the lane against this crew.

There have been many legendary international stars in the NBA, this was an incredibly tough lineup to compile. Who do you think should have made this list?

#18 Cleveland Cavaliers

The city of Cleveland was long known for the championship curse that lasted 52 years and spread across all major sports. But in 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally broke that curse and brought a major celebration to the city.

The Cavaliers have had some of the league’s best players, even if you aren’t counting LeBron James.

The team was originally founded in 1970 as an expansion team in the Eastern Conference. The first few seasons were tough for the franchise, but the arrival of a few stars helped point things in the right direction. Players such as Austin Carr and Lenny Wilkens helped the Cavs capture their first division title in 1976. They even advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost 4-2 to the powerhouse Boston Celtics.

After a downturn in fortune in the early 1980s, the franchise returned to the playoffs later in the decade and into the 1990s. They played in some of the most famous playoff series in NBA history, playing against the likes of Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Michael Jordan. In 1992, they beat out Indiana and Boston, but suffered a heartbreaking loss in the conference finals to Jordan and the Bulls. They had great players in this tenure as well such as Mark Price and Larry Nance Sr. Their success as a franchise continued until 1998, which would be their last playoff appearance until the King arrived.

While the time up until 2003 was rough, it would ultimately represent one of the most important times in the history of their franchise, as they were able to draft Akron, OH’s LeBron James first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. In just 3 years, James completely turned the franchise around, leading them to a playoff appearance in 2006, and a trip to NBA Finals in 2007 for the first time in franchise history.

While they were swept by Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, it was evident that LeBron had brought a new championship mindset to the organization. For the next few years, the Cavs were perennial competitors and made deep runs in the playoffs, but were unable to reach the Promised Land again. 

Then in the 2010 offseason LeBron James left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, bringing another tough period for the organization as a whole. But those losing seasons gave them the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. With that pick they grabbed Kyrie Irving, who would become one of the best players in the entire NBA.

When LeBron returned to Cleveland, he was returned to a team with a budding superstar in Irving and an established star in Kevin Love. Those three combined to bring the first championship to Cleveland in franchise history and the first title in the city in over half a century. It wasn’t easy though, the first season they made the Finals but fell short. In their second season they returned to the Finals and pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA history, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Finally, the city of Cleveland had captured the illustrious and long overdue title that they desired for so long. LeBron and the rest of the Cavaliers were forever cemented in the history of the franchise and the city.

Click on each card in the slideshow below to see if the card is available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#19 Washington Wizards

Like almost every NBA team, the Wizards have had several different team names and played in multiple cities, but their most successful period came after they settled in the Washington D.C. area in the mid-1970s.

From the Chicago Packers to the Chicago Zephyrs to the Baltimore Bullets to the Capital Bullets to the Washington Bullets, it was a whirlwind first decade and a half for the franchise. Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld were drafted as the No. 2 overall pick in back-to-back drafts in 1967 and 1968 and their additions set the team on a winning trajectory. They would make the playoffs several times, even making the NBA Finals in 1971, but were swept by the dominant Milwaukee Bucks.

Earl Monroe was then traded, but the Bullets would acquire another future Hall of Fame in Elvin Hayes the next season. The Bullets became one of the best teams in the NBA, making the NBA Finals in 1975 but getting swept by the Knicks.

It wasn’t until 1977-78 that the Bullets finally got over the hump and won the NBA Title. That season, the Bullets were far from favored going into the playoffs. But the underdog Bullets were able to win the only championship in team history by defeating the Seattle Supersonics in the Finals. They made the Finals the next season, their fourth Finals in the 1970s.

The franchise would experience some down years in the following decades, but they would be lifted through the years by superstars like Bernard King, Gilbert Arenas, and, most recently, John Wall. The team officially became the Washington Wizards in 1997, their sixth name change.

Click on each player card below to see if their card is available on the Beckett Marketplace.