Bo Derek & Joe Namath in an NBA box? Yep, thanks to Panini Rewards …

A funny thing happened recently when I ripped into a box of 2016-17 Panini Studio basketball cards.

I pulled cards of Joe Namath and Bo Derek.

No, really. My Derek was an autograph and my Namath was a patch card from a Los Angeles Rams jersey — cards that I’d always eyed here and there but didn’t expect to be able to land from a box of NBA cards.

How’d it happen? I pulled them via Panini Rewards points.

I don’t remember my exact points total from the box, but the card was enough to grab a throw-in patch card, too, for my collection atop the cards seen above and have about 50 points left over for another time. (Confession: The Derek and Namath scans are just like mine — but not mine — my caffeine hasn’t yet kicked in well enough today to go digging through boxes for scans. My Namath has a better swatch, too. I didn’t expect it to be a patch card, either, as it seemed “underpriced” even for a standard jersey.)

The program isn’t new — it launched in 2014 — but I’ve only used it a handful of times. When I get points cards — typically a 150 or a 250 — that means some window-shopping for cards on the lower end of the spectrum. Typically 150 is good enough for an autograph or memorabilia card of a lesser name — but sometimes stars like Super Bowl MVP James White present themselves and create a frenzy for those who buy and sell points and wait for new cards to be posted. While redemptions aren’t fun, being able to select precisely what you get is an added bonus in my mind. I could have landed a card I didn’t necessarily want but instead I get to pick something I need specifically for my collection. Yes, it’s not NBA but that’s OK — I could have gone that direction if I wanted to.

What didn’t I get in the box instead of points? An autograph — and probably a decent one based on the points — though a Namath patch (I think it’s a card numbered to 50) and the non-sports auto offer enough unusual interest for me beyond what a decent-range NBA name would.

My box of Studio also included a LeBron James jersey card and base/insert appearances from Ben Simmons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many more — but in this case Panini Rewards made the box far beyond the norm.

And that’s all expect these days ripping wax — just give me something unique and I’m good.

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