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Why We Like 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball, A Review

panini flux basketball 2022-23

Last season, there was no release of Panini Flux Basketball, probably because of the difficulty Panini was having keeping up with their schedule amid the supply chain crisis of the time.

But now the highly stylized chrome release is back on the calendar. Are we glad it made a comeback?

I guess that really depends on the quality of this year’s release. But worry not, fair collector; we have the full lowdown in our 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball review.

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History of the 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball football release

Flux is defined as “the action or process of flowing or flowing out.” Not much of a concept for sports cards, you may be thinking. But Panini has made cards with a background of energy flowing back and forth, the centerpiece of this product.

The history of Panini Flux Basketball is long and proud, much like the story of humanity. Well, not exactly. It’s a relatively recent invention that started as an insert in the 2019-20 Panini Chronicles Basketball release.

The cards were among the most fully realized in the release. The backgrounds were usually orange or yellow. The cards were of good chrome stock and had a scratched background, which sounds weird but really works.

And then there is the distinctive Flux logo, which looks like something you would stamp on the side of a pair of sneakers. But in a good way.

Were the cards quite good enough to inspire a new standalone product? I am not sure. But this was a time of great enthusiasm for basketball cards. Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic were fresh rookies, and it looked like this sport was going to take over the hobby. So, the market was hungry for new and exciting projects.

Therefore, 2020-21 Panini Flux Basketball introduced the world to a new product. The boxes were not particularly loaded. Each Hobby box had one autograph and one uncirculated card. But Panini was hoping that the design would be enough.

But the product didn’t take off the way the company wanted. And as we mentioned, after COVID-19, there was a terrible problem with supply chains. Therefore, the release was canceled for a year. But now it’s back.

Unfortunately, since Panini will not hold the rights to the NBA for much longer, Panini Flux Basketball will never fully establish itself as a staple in the annual calendar.

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2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball release date

The current scheduled release date for 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball is October 25, 2023. That means, of course, that the product for 2022-23 is coming out a day AFTER the tip-off of the 2023-24 season.

So, as usual, it is not an optimal time to release a product. How does it compare to previous years? Well, there has only been a single last release.

The 2021-22 Panini Flux Basketball box was released on December 15, 2021. So, I guess it’s an improvement? But we are not particularly impressed.

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2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball release formats

The Panini Flux Basketball release is best known for its hobby box, which is universally considered the best format to buy Flux Basketball. However, there were retail releases last time, including blasters, mega boxes, and an Asian Tmall release.

Also, in its previous iteration, Panini also released a factory set. We have no idea if there will be one on the schedule for 2022-23, but we will keep an eye out. But for now, there will likely be a hobby box and a FOTL box as well.

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Hobby Box

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FOTL

The 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball FOTL Hobby Box info is not out yet. Indeed, we are not sure there will be one this time. But assuming there will be one, it shouldn’t be too different from the previous release. Here are the specs for the 2020-21 Panini Flux Basketball FOTL:

  • 5 cards per pack.
  • 10 packs per box.
  • Look for 1 Exclusive Flux Purple or Gold Scope and 1 FOTL Box Topper, 1 autograph, 1 atmosphere insert, 1 insert prizm, 3 additional inserts, and 3 silvers per box, on average!

Find 1 FOTL Exclusive Flux Purple Scope (#’d/18) or Flux Gold Scope (#’d/8) and 1 Additional FOTL Box Topper which can be either an Uncirculated Encased Titan Purple Scope (#’d/38), Titan Gold Scope (#’d/18), Titan Black Scope (#’d/8), Equinox Blue Scope Autograph (#’d/5), or Equinox Red Scope Autograph (1 of 1) in every FOTL Box!

  • It currently sells for $499.95

Factory Set

Again, we are not sure there will be a factory set release. Nonetheless, if it does, we believe it will be similar to the one from 2021-22. There was a Target and a Fanatics release of the set last time.

It would be nice to see both come out, but we haven’t seen much of that over the previous year.

Here are the specs for the previous one:

2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball Pros

The design is distinctive, which is a good thing. There aren’t too many Panini cards that are instantly recognizable, but once you have seen the design for Flux once, it sticks in your mind.

One thing that really stuck out in the 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball set was the inserts. As we all know, Panini can be pretty hit-and-miss with those. Flux was an unmistakable hit in that regard.

The stratosphere/mesosphere/troposphere cards were particularly popular, and we want to see what their new versions will look like.

Collectors also believe the encased auto featured in the set. It’s another example of a unique touch that Panini used for this release to make it stand out. That is why Flux has enthusiastic fans despite its lack of longevity and pedigree.

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2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball review cons

Despite initially receiving a lukewarm reception from fans, Panini Flux Basketball has become one of the most beloved of their recent releases. Therefore, there aren’t too many notable downsides.

Of course, the design is very distinctive, meaning you either love or hate it. If the main design concept doesn’t appeal to you, there isn’t much worth looking for in this release.

But perhaps the biggest problem is that Flux is not particularly hit heavy. While some hobby boxes have several autos and perhaps an RPA, Flux does not.

On average, you will find one auto in the hobby box and 20 inserts or parallels per box. Many of us love the inserts because they look great. But they usually don’t have massive value.

We will take a deeper dive into the value question below.

Finally, the price ain’t what it used to be. A lot of time has passed since the initial release. Therefore, the new boxes cost a good 100$ more. Back when it came out, an FOTL box went for only $350. It will be a good deal more this time.

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2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball checklist

The 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball checklist hasn’t been released yet. However, we can assume it will follow the pattern of the last release from two years ago.

The base checklist at that time was 250 cards. One-fifth of the list was made up of rookies.

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Parallels

Of course, the base set is just an excuse for creating a boatload of beautiful parallels in a release like Flux. We know the parallel lineup for the hobby-exclusive cards. Here they are:

  • Red
  • Sunrise
  • Moonlight
  • Blue  – #/99
  • Supernova  – #/75
  • Solar Eclipse – #/49
  • Lunar Eclipse – #/25
  • Gold – #/10
  • Green – #/5
  • Gold Vinyl – 1/1

But we don’t know what the full parallel lineup will be. But don’t worry; we will update this post when the info is released. Last time, the lineup was:

Parallel Cards: Light Blue, Moonlight, Pink, Red, Silver, Sunrise, Blue #/99, Supernova #/75, Solar Eclipse #/49, Lunar Eclipse #/25, Purple Scope FOTL #/18, Gold #/10, Gold Scope FOTL #/8, Green #/5, Black 1/1.

Cracked Ice PARALLELS: Blue, Red, Gold #/10, Black 1/1.

LASER Parallel: Base Laser, Gold #/10.

Mojo Parallels: Silver, Blue #/99, Red #/49, Gold #/10, Black 1/1.

Asia Parallel: Gold Wave, Red Wave, Silver Wave, Lucky Envelope #/8.

Factory Set Pulsar Parallels: Base Pulsar, Black, Blue, Green, Red.

Fanatics Factory Set Cracked Ice Parallels: Base Cracked Ice, Green.

As a note, I would be VERY surprised to see any Fanatics parallels in this year’s release. Call me a fortune teller. I have mad skills.

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Inserts

The Flux Basketball release is all about the inserts, so collectors expected a high standard for this. How well did they do? So far, we only have some preview pictures to go on. But we like what we see. Here is what to expect.

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Full Capacity

This is the distinctive case hit you can expect from Flux. Honestly, I am not too sure what the them is. Players are portrayed in action shots with a mystical-looking triangle behind them.

More than anything, it looks like a Freemasons symbol. But the cards look pretty cool. And though there are certainly more valuable case hits out there, it has a healthy resale value.

Titan

I am not completely sure what the concept of Titan is. I guess these are the titans of basketball. These cards have a distinctive look, with an arch of energy on the left side of the card, arching upward over the action shot. Some of the lowered numbered cards in this insert are worth quite a bit.

Incoming 

The incoming insert goes very lightly on the Flux concept, mostly having a normal-looking background. There is only a hint of the signature scratches in the background. However, the picture is split by waves of color, creating a distinctive look.

The heroes of this insert, as you would expect, are the incoming rookies. I have to say, the design for 2022-23 is far superior to the ones appearing in the previous release. They have far more class.

It’s really lovely to see such a significant step forward. But the Incoming insert is worth very little. Perhaps the facelift will help on that front.

Rookie Influx 

In the 2021-22 Flux release, the Rookie Influx cards showed the relevant newcomer to the league with a fierce energy triangle surrounding him. In this release, it’s a hexagon.

I salute Panini for trying a new shape, but it just doesn’t look as good! The Rookie Influx cards generally go for higher prices than their Incoming equivalent.

It will be interesting to see if that will hold true since the attractiveness has been reversed in this release, in my humble opinion.

Autos

It goes without saying that Flux is not a release anyone is investing in for the autos. There is only one per hobby box. While the autos that are present in the release are pretty strong, there are certainly more attractive ones elsewhere.

The autos are also invariably stickers, which can cut the flow of those trademark Flux designs. Nonetheless, there are auto here, and we will review them for you.

Best of the Best Signatures 

As the name suggests, this is billed as the home for the best autos the NBA has to offer. And that is awesome. There is only one problem. The design, at least according to the prototype, is hideous. A true atrocity.

Equinox Autographs

It’s a fabulous design. As we all know, there are a gazillion cards with astronomy concepts. But this one is a bit different because it approaches the topic more abstractly.

Despite being quite attractive, Equinox Autographs have a surprisingly poor value on the market.

Ultra Violet Signatures

I haven’t seen this year’s designs, but I can say this: the 2021-22 ones were hideous. There is so much potential for making a beautiful Ultra Violet signature.

This is just a waste. Hopefully, they will look better in the 2022-23 product. Probably because they look so bad, the autos are worth very little.

2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball value

The design is the main advantage of the Flux product. But one of the Achilles heals of the product is its value.

It has a reputation for not being the most solid financial investment, even by the standards of investing in cardboard. But how well earned is that reputation? Let’s try to find out.  

Wax

Well, we can’t do much of a deep dive here. There is only one box of this product. Ever. But let’s see how much it goes for.

2020-21 Panini Flux BasketballHobby Box$232

The performance for this box is pretty dismal. It’s a good 33% lower than what a new box costs. That seems like a particularly bad stash.

Having said that, the prospect for this product may improve. I think Flux will be missed by fans, and boxes may appreciate somewhat after Panini loses its NBA rights. So, while not the best investment in the hobby, I can imagine making a good profit off this eventually. Especially if the rookie in this product pans out.

Singles

We have Flux cards from Chronicles and from the 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball product. Which leaves us with a pretty small selection to choose from. But here at Cardlines, we make the most out of things. So, here are some recent outstanding sales:

CardValue
2020-21 Panini Flux Black Cracked Ice #202 Anthony Edwards RC Rookie 1/1 PSA 10$3,504
Ja Morant 2020-21 Panini Flux Swingman Auto Grizzlies MG33 (Raw)$1,469
2020-21 Panini Flux – Luka Doncic- Gold Shimmer Swingman Auto /10 – SSP (Raw)$1,299
2020 Panini Flux Autograph Influx Ja Morant 1/1 Auto Autograph (Raw)$1,211
2020 Panini Flux Full Capacity #6 LeBron James (PSA 9)$1,113

It is pretty much what you would expect; there are no life-changing cards in Flux Basketball. And many of the most valuable ones are parallels rather than autos. But it is clear that Flux singles are a better investment than wax.

Even a much better one. The real advantage Flux has is the outstanding beauty of its best parallels and inserts. So, investing in a scarce and gorgeous card may be an excellent way to put money into Flux.

The final word on 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball

I bet you could tell from reading this review I like Flux. Not every card is a beauty, but these cards have an unparalleled pop when it works. The thing is, I am not alone. Many other collectors share my affection for these cards.

As for the 2022-23 iteration, some inserts look better than previous ones, while others fall short of the standard. But it generally seems to uphold the Flux visual brand. Two thumbs up.

As for value, the 2022-23 Panini Flux Basketball product is not a bonanza. The boxes seem like a particularly poor investment. But the singles might not be.

My advice would be to invest in really good-looking cards with low counts. Especially for big rookies like Ja Morant (yes, I still believe in him). Most are reasonably priced, and people will hunt them down eventually.

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Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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