Which basketball cards are the must-own classics? See if you agree with our Top 10 picks.
These rookie cards represent the giants of the sport; household names that not only kept basketball in the national spotlight, but also helped give us the modern sport of basketball.
These cards are some of the most valuable and rare basketball cards. They are also the keys to many complete sets. Come with us as we look at the Top 10 Must-Own Basketball Cards of All Time, in reverse chronological order.
The first guard ever drafted out of high school, Kobe Bryant is the only player in NBA history to score at least 600 points in the postseason
for three consecutive years (2008-10). Over his career, spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant has won five NBA Finals Championships.
This card issue is very condition sensitive by modern standards because of its distinct background and borders.
Arguably the greatest basketball player in the history of the NBA, Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP in each of his six NBA Finals Championship seasons.
This is the most recognizable basketball card and the most important modern card from any sport in the entire hobby. This card, the most heavily counterfeited
card in the hobby, is susceptible to chipping and edge wear due to the multi-colored borders.
Find out the price difference between a PSA 9 & a PSA 10 on PSA CardFacts®.
Household names in the 1980s, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had a competitive fire between them that started in college and lasted throughout their
professional careers. With eight NBA Finals Championships between them, Bird was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998 and Magic in 2002.
This key rookie card is notorious for having black print defects across the front and is fairly difficult to find perfectly centered.
From his leaping slams from the free throw line to his fast break tomahawk jams, Dr. J’s dunks were legendary and spectacular to behold. One of only a
handful of players to reach 30,000 points, Dr. J was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Due to the white borders and yellow background, this card has to contend with print defects more often than not. There is a commonly found
print dot that resides next to Erving’s left elbow, but its presence should not affect the overall grade of the card.
See recent public auction results for this card on PSA CardFacts®.
This is the only recognized rookie card of the most prolific offensive player in NBA history. Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
perfected the skyhook, an offensive weapon that no one could stop during his reign.
Due to being oversized, this card is highly susceptible to wear and is difficult to find well centered. The white background can also be a haven for print defects.
The only recognized rookie card of Mr. Clutch, one of basketball’s greatest shooters, resides in the 1961 Fleer set. Jerry West led the Los Angeles Lakers
to the NBA Finals nine times in a 14-year span. Although known for his clutch shooting ability, Jerry West is also known as the silhouette of the NBA logo.
West's rookie card is one of four major Hall of Fame rookies in the set, joined by Elgin Baylor (#3) Wilt Chamberlain (#8), and Oscar Robertson (#36).
Known as the NBA's first "big guard," Oscar Robertson revolutionized the position for players like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. He is the only
player in NBA history to average a triple-double over the course of an entire season (1961—1962). The Big O was inducted into the Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980 and named to the 50 Greatest Players in History list in 1996.
The 1961 Fleer is the only recognized Oscar Robertson rookie card.
How many 1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson's have received a grade of PSA 10? Find out on PSA CardFacts®.
At 7'1", 275 lbs., Wilt Chamberlain simply dominated the smaller opposition. No one could stop him. Chamberlain was the only player in
history to score 4000 points in a season and holds the record for most points in a game at 100 and most rebounds in a game at 55.
This card is seen more often in high-grade than some of the other key rookies in the set, but it still falls subject to the same condition obstacles common to the issue.
See the differences in value between grades for this card on PSA CardFacts®.
This is the only recognized rookie card of the NBA's biggest winner. This is also the key to the 1957 Topps set, one of the toughest and most important
basketball issues ever produced. In 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Bill Russell won 11 championships. While Russell led the league in rebounding four
times, Russell's focus on defense changed the way fans define star players, making defensive play an art.
This rookie card, as mentioned earlier, is extremely difficult in high-grade, with poor centering and print defects wreaking havoc on the card.
This card is the King of the basketball trading card hobby, often described as the "T206 Honus Wagner" of basketball cards.
George Mikan is more responsible than any player of his generation for making basketball a nationally recognized sport. Mikan was such a dominant
influence on basketball that he forced the NCAA to outlaw goaltending (which was also adopted by the professional leagues), caused the NBA to widen
the lane from 6 to 12 feet in order to limit Mikan's presence under opponents’ baskets, and introduce the shot clock in response of the Ft. Wayne Pistons
strategy of keeping the ball away from Mikan, thus preserving the lead and win.
Like most 1948 Bowmans, these are often found off-center with toning along the edges, making it tough to locate in high-grade.