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See Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and others dunk in video trading cards

May 19, 2011 |  6:11 pm

Video Trading Card
Old-school sports trading cards have gotten a high-tech makeover.

Limited-edition video trading cards -- packed with 20 minutes of career highlight footage -- will begin hitting store shelves in June. The first ones will feature four basketball players: Lakers star Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The cards were created by San Dimas display company Recom Group Inc. for Panini America Inc., maker of trading cards for the National Basketball Assn., the National Hockey League and the National Football League.

Recom owner Rob Norden said the concept behind the video trading card was an upgrade on the traditional card while "staying true to the form" of a beloved sports memorabilia.

For example, he said, the video cards "are actually still on cardboard."

But the cards will be slightly bigger than normal and the electronics inside make them several times thicker. A screen will fill two-thirds of one side and will play clips of on-court action, to be accompanied by music and possibly voice-over commentary, Norden said. The screen can be turned off when you've had your fill of slam dunks and chest thumping.

With 2 gigabytes of storage space, the cards -- which also come with chargers -- can also be used to store music or documents, Norden said.

They will be limited inserts in Panini's Totally Certified Basketball card line, which will include hundreds of traditional cards of active and former NBA players. A pack of five retails for $20 and will be available in sports memorabilia shops around the country.

For collectors that covet exclusivity, Panini will also put out a small quantity of autographed video cards -- to be accompanied with a video of the player signing the card for the ultimate proof of authenticity.

"In the collection business it's always the question of 'Is this really the real thing?' " Norden said. "With this, card owners will actually be able to watch players sign the very card they are holding."

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-- Shan Li

Photo: Sample video trading card from Panini America and Recom Group. Credit: Recom Group

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