Now that we are officially in the middle of the Summer Olympics, the part of these games that are most directly tied to the hobby is the performance of USA basketball. As one of the biggest national sports, as well as one of the most valuable hobbies, there have been numerous ties from the team to collectors over the decades it has been in existence.
Panini has really taken a keen interest in producing cards from USA basketball since acquiring the NBA exclusive license, and I think this is one of the first times the games have rolled around since they have been the only ones producing basketball cards.
Because there are so many player collectors out there for the NBA, and combined with collectors of Olympic memorabilia, it creates a very large audience looking to pick up cards with the USA seal on them. Supply is limited, and demand is tremendously high for these types of cards, which makes the value of the best players almost un-buyable.
I would say that every gold medal matters, but victory is almost assured each time these guys lace up their shoes. From what has been said about each of the individual teams since 1992, the value can depend on who was on the team, not how much they won by. With 2008 being the second most valuable to the best of all time, 2012 might be a close third if they come up on the top level of the medal stand. Anything less than gold will seriously devalue the cards, so Im sure collectors and Panini are waiting with baited breath on each victory.
Personally, I like the Olympics a lot, as I think they stand for something greater than just one individual in one sport. Therefore, cards that celebrate this part of the sport are a cool reminder of what happened each time the Olympics take center stage.