September 9, 2021
When is Kristi Toliver really Sydney Wiese?
When you open a pack of 2021 Panini Prizm WNBA cards
The long-awaited 2021 Panini Prizm 2021 WNBA cards were released on Wednesday. But for those who opened a pack expecting Kristi Toliver, they were in for a surprise.
No, that’s not Toliver. That’s Sydney Wiese.
“The card was switched to be Toliver in May on the checklist and the correct Toliver image was pulled to use for the card at that point,” a Panini spokesperson said when asked how this happened and whether it was corrected. “But the photo ultimately never made it into the production file used to manufacture the card. We regret the production error.”
The photo of the card, first seen on WNBA Fan’s Page on Facebook and confirmed as accurate by multiple sources familiar with the card, is one of several in the issue that raised the ire of fans upon the release of the new set.
For instance, Natasha Howard’s 2021 card includes her in an Indiana Fever uniform, a team she hasn’t played for since 2015.
Numerous other players are in uniforms of their previous teams, from Candace Parker to Betnijah Laney. Meanwhile, Kelsey Mitchell’s team is correct in her auto insert. Unfortunately, the wrong Mitchell is pictured.
As of Friday morning, after a media inquiry pointing out the error, the Mitchell card was still featured on the Panini page dedicated to the new release.
The deal with Panini includes both the WNBA and WNBPA as partners. The WNBPA and WNBA both declined to comment on the card errors.
It is worth noting that error cards have a rich tradition across manufacturers and sports, both men’s and women’s cards. Some of Frank Thomas’ 1990 Topps rookie cards did not include his name, while Billy Ripken’s 1988 Fleer included an addition to his bat that still drove news stories decades after it was printed, then corrected, then corrected again.
And while several free agents in Panini’s 2020 set were wearing their previous team’s uniforms, an independent audit of my set of 2020 Panini Prizm WNBA cards confirmed that all 100 players were correctly identified.
Asked whether anything inherent to 2021 caused difficulties getting up-to-date photos, changed lead time on printing, or whether the WNBPA and WNBA signed off on photos, Panini did not respond.