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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Rookie Set

With the world reopening and sports returning, perhaps the most global sport is basketball, with more than two billion fans worldwide. The NBA has seen an influx of international talent over the last decade, with Canada ranking second only to the United States in terms of the number of players entering the league.

In 2017-18, a six-foot-six, 180-pound combo guard from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, burst onto the scene as one of the top-rated high school players. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) is a slender two-way player with a silky-smooth jumper who possesses the court vision needed in today’s game.

Known by NBA fans as SGA, Alexander has a unique story. He did not make his junior team at St. Thomas More and was assigned to a secondary team where he won the city championship and was named team MVP. He then attended Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School before heading to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2015.

Originally a Florida commit, Alexander ended up in Lexington playing for Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. Though primarily a reserve player, Alexander still averaged more than 30 minutes per game.

After a single college season, Alexander opted for the 2018 NBA Draft and was selected 11th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 10.8 p.p.g., 2.8 r.p.g. and 3.3 a.p.g., while shooting 47% from two-point range, 36% from three-point country and 80% from the charity stripe. He was among the rookie leaders in steals.

In the summer of 2019, the Clippers finalized a massive trade with the OKC Thunder that landed them Paul George, but in doing so, they were forced to include Alexander to seal the deal. The OKC Thunder rebuild was in full effect with Alexander as the new cornerstone of a franchise just two years removed from a Western Conference Finals appearance. Since settling in with the Thunder, Alexander has improved his scoring average in each of his first three seasons with the team and led them in virtually every offensive category.

Alexander’s potential for greatness has the hobby taking notice as collectors domestically and internationally are seeking his most prized cards: rare, autographed rookies and parallels that can range into the thousands. As a relatively new name to the hobby world, collectors of all ages can still obtain some of SGA’s best cards. Here are three ways to add SGA to your burgeoning collection at very affordable prices.

2018 Panini Prizm #184

2018 Panini Donruss Optic #162

2018 Panini Select #7

2018 Panini Prizm #184

PSA Population: 3,171 PSA GEM-MT 10

Average cost for PSA 10: $60


The 2018 Panini Prizm set is typically first associated with Luka Doncic, and then there is everyone else. However, it also provides a chance to get a PSA GEM-MT 10 copy of an SGA’s rookie card. For the millions of fans still mourning his departure from Los Angeles, the silver border base issue shows the young star in a Clippers jersey shooting his silky-smooth jumper. Since there is a decent amount of PSA 10s available, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one in your price range.

2018 Panini Donruss Optic #162

PSA Population: 1,649 PSA GEM-MT 10

Average Cost for PSA 10: $30


Probably the second-most popular product behind Prizm is Optic, and they score high marks for SGA’s base rookie card. This issue shows him in a three-point stance and donning the traditional blue Clippers jersey, ready to shoot, pass or dribble. Pay close attention to left-to-right centering when buying an ungraded copy, as that is an issue with these cards.

2018 Panini Select # 7

PSA Population: 369 PSA GEM-MT 10

Average Cost for PSA 10: $35


One of the more underrated basketball brands in the hobby market is Panini Select. The sharp silver and gold design with black corners really stand out on this card. SGA is shown in a dribbling position and wearing his blue Clippers uniform. The PSA population on this card is the lowest of the three, so finding a copy could be a challenge.

SGA is arguably one of the brightest stars in the NBA today. He’s an exciting player who has yet to achieve his full potential, both on the court and from a hobby perspective. At the young age of 23, he is already a franchise player for the Thunder. Affordable pricing on these base rookies of SGA can help any collector get started today, but the low prices may not last for long!

For more information on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s trading cards, please visit PSA CardFacts. For more PSA Set Registry Starter Kits, check out the PSA Blog.

Please feel free to contact Alex Yam at [email protected] if you have any additional information or comments. Please note the PSA Population Report statistics and card prices quoted are as of November 2021.

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