Possibly/probably the best season for cards ever. The NBA celebrated it's 50th Anniversary and Topps brought out the Topps Stars set to honor the 50 Greatest Players list that the NBA came out with. Topps added two new chomium based sets, in addition to the long standing Finest, Bowman's Best was it's own set, and Topps Chrome was a chromium based version of the basic Topps set. Fleer/Skybox added Z-Force, and Upper Deck added UD3, a set I was not a big fan of in it's two-year run.
Autographs came into prominence this season. Fleer/Skybox introduced Autographics, a set composed entirely of autographs, inserted throughout all the products they offered. My first autograph came out of this set. (Chris Childs). Topps also put autographs in a cross-line fashion as well. Autographs were not new, but it was now when they become common.