The San Antonio Spurs, formerly a member of the American Basketball Association, has become one of the most storied franchises in the NBA. Led by President and Coach Gregg Popovich, the team has captured 5 titles since 1999. The Spurs have gotten lucky with draft lottery balls, but have also been experts in international scouting. Below are some key rookie cards from important figures from the Spurs dynasty.
David Robinson 1989 NBA Hoops #138
Robinson became a star and one of the most sought-after prospects in years after his excellent career at the US Naval Academy. The Spurs drafted him 1st overall in 1987 but had to wait two years for the center to complete his military obligation. Robinson immediately proved to be worth the wait as he became an MVP, a 10-time All-Star, and a 2-time NBA champion.
The Spur star’s best rookie card comes from the 1989 Hoops set. While there are two Robinson rookies in the set, collectors clearly prefer card 138, which features Robinson holding a black jersey. The card is readily available in a PSA 10 and will sell for between $300 and $400.
Tim Duncan 1997 Topps Chrome
10 years after the Spurs won the opportunity to select David Robinson, lightning struck again as they won the 1997 Draft Lottery. They only had the chance to do so because Robinson had missed most of the previous season with an injury. And the lottery win allowed the team the chance to select Tim Duncan.
Duncan, a big man like Robinson, will go down as one of the 20 or so best players in league history. The selfless power forward was a 5-time champion, a 2-time MVP and a 15-time All-Star. Duncan’s premier rookie card comes from the overproduced 1997 Topps Chrome set and a PSA 10 copy sells for around $500.
Manu Ginobili 2002 Topps Chrome
The Spurs weren’t just successful because they were able to land Duncan and Robinson, their front office was also exceptional at scouting international talent. In 1999, the team selected Argentine guard Manu Ginobili as the 57th pick in the draft. When he came over, he was already an experienced player in his mid-20s and was successful right away.
Over the course of his career, Ginobili would win 4 titles, make 2 All-Star games, and be the glue that held the Spurs together. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2022. The best rookie card for the Argentine is his 2002 Topps Chrome which sells for between $200-$300 in a PSA 10.
Tony Parker 2001 Topps Chrome
The Spurs hit a home run with Ginobili long before he played for them. The team hit another homerun during the 2001 draft when they selected French point guard Tony Parker with the first pick. Only a teenager at the start of his career, Parker was incredibly polished and would go on to make 6 All-Star teams and win 4 championships.
Parker is a sure bet to enter the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible and helped open the doors for more French stars to come. The best rookie card for the point guard comes from the 2001 Topps Chrome set and goes for around $300 in a PSA 10.
Kawhi Leonard 2012 Panini Prizm
Despite his fantastic college career, Kawhi Leonard somehow fell to the 15th pick of the 2011 draft. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers, but the Spurs smartly traded for his rights. In his first few years with the Spurs, Leonard acted as a defensive stopper and helped the team capture another title in 2014. He also won a title with the Toronto Raptors in 2018.
These days, both Kawhi’s offensive and defensive games are fully formed and he is one of the best players in the league. The small forward’s best rookie card is his Panini Prizm card, which sells for a bit under $400.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.