With basketball cards popularity increasing over the past decade collectors have seen prices rise dramatically up some of their favorite players.  Basketball cards came to the forefront of many collectors in the mid-1980s.  With Michael Jordan bringing so much attention to the game as well as the greats like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As the NBA has developed some of the most promising stars ever to grace the hard court basketball cards have continued to rise and fan popularity.  Collectors have begun to see the value in purchasing these rare and hard to find rookie cards before they reach a price that they will not be able to touch them.  Below we will discuss the five most popular basketball cards that are being purchased by collectors.  These are not the most expensive basketball courts that have ever been produced but some of the most popular.

Basketball Cards

1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Basketball Card

Almost all Michael Jordan Basketball cards are collectors items but his 1986-87 Fleer Rookie Basketball Card is most definitely his most popular.  The card has dramatically increased in value over the years and has reached up to $6,000 in Gem Mint condition.  Many of these cards were destroyed as basketball card collecting seemed to be almost non-existant in the mid 1980’s.   Companies like Topps did not even produce sets in the mid 1980’s due to the fear that collectors were not interested.  With Michael Jordan’s immense popularity collectors began to scramble for the rare Michael Jordan Rookie Card. It will continue to be the basketball card that put basktball card collecting on the map.  With Michael Jordan being inducted  into the Hall of Fame this coming year his cards will continue to skyrocket.  In 1991 Upper Deck Produced a Short Printed Michael Jordan Baseball Card which is also gaining mass popularity due to his brief stint with the Chicago White Sox.  He is a gifted athlete and will always be known as one of the Top 10 Greatest Athletes of all-time. This makes the 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card #1 on our list.

1996-97 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Rookie Basketball Card

Kobe Bryant basketball cards and rookie cards are becoming just as popular as Michael Jordan’s.  The 1996-97 Topps Chrome Rookie Card has become Kobe’s most popular rookie card.  There have been over 35 different Kobe Bryant Rookie cards that were produced but this is the one we believe will stand the test of time.  With Kobe Bryant on his way to another NBA title his cards will continue to be in the forefrunt of basketball card collectors.  If you decide to buy basketabll cards that you will want to add this rare rookie card to your wish list.

Basketball Cards

1980-81 Topps Magic Johnson and Larry Bird Rookie Basketball Card

This is one of the holy Grail’s a basketball card collecting as well as sports cards in general.  It is not that often that you see to Hall of Fame players on the cover of the same rookie card.  Magic Johnson and Larry Bird will forever be linked as to of the most dominant basketball players ever to grace a hard court.  Magic and Bird have consistently been the faces that brought basketball to the forefront.  This basketball card is extremely hard to find in mint condition due to the perforated seems that are entrenched in the card.  Many collectors broke these card apart which has created a shortage of mint condition cards.  If you happen to find one of these rare rookie cards make sure that you do your best to protect it and keep it in the best condition that you possibly can.

2003-04 Topps Lebron James Rookie Basketball Card

Lebron James has become basketballs next rookie sensation.  His abilities may surpass some of the greatest players that I’ve ever played the game.  His rookie cards are being purchased by collectors like no other basketball player since Michael Jordan.  Lebron James has many different valuable rookie cards so it is hard to take which one is his best so far.  We have picked his Topps rookie card because it is the most well known for now.  We do believe in a future that Lebron James will have a different rookie card that will surpass the Topps version but for now this will have to do.  Lebron James is on his way to his first possible NBA finals and there is a chance that he might have to go up against the great Kobe Bryant.  The only downfall to Lebron James if there even is one is the fact that he is not one an NBA title yet.  All of the players above have done so more than just the few times.  For Lebron James rookie cards to reach these levels he will have to get some rings on his fingers.  Lebron James basketball cards are great investments while they are still affordable.  Make sure to keep your eye out for all of Lebron James rare basketball cards including his rookie cards and numbered versions that are extremely hard to find.

1969-70 Topps Lew Alcindor or Kareem-Abdul Jabbar Rookie Basketball Card

The Topps Kareem-Abdul Jabbar Rookie Card is one of the best basketball cards ever produced.  The card is over sized compared to many of the cards that are produced now.  The card is very hard to find in even decent condition due to the fact that the card was so large.  Jabbar holds almost every scoring record in the NBA is his legendary sky hook is his trademark move.  Kareem assisted the Lakers to many titles as well as a few National Championships with the legendary John Wooden.  He will always be known as one of the greatest basketball players to play the game and his basketball cards are continuing to rise. If you are a basketball card collector you will want to have one of these in your collection. This vintage rookie card is a must have for any sports card collector.

Alan Karpuch

Owner of GMA Grading Inc. Over 20 years experience in the sports card industry.

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