The NBA is an incredibly popular sport, not only in the United States but globally. That means that there are many potential card collectors out there. They might not know where to start. If you wanted to start a basketball card collection with an eye toward investment, here are some items to track.
1992-93 Upper Deck Shaquille O’Neal PSA 9 1B – Cost Estimate $50.00
There was no bigger basketball player in the 1990s than Shaquille O’Neal. Upper Deck, then the biggest player in the card world, knew he was going to be highly collectible coming in. So the company added to the fun by including in their set a redemption card for the Shaq rookie.
The Shaq issue doesn’t go for too much as it came out in an era where UD was pumping out tons of cards in each set. Still, it had a great image and inspires nostalgia in all of those who were collecting at the time. A 1B Shaq card in a PSA 9 is a great way to start your collection in an affordable way.
2020 Panini Prizm Silver LaMelo Ball – Cost Estimate $50
For several years, Lavar Ball told the media about how his sons would become the next big stars in the NBA. The eldest son Lonzo has carved out a nice career. Middle son LiAngelo couldn’t really make it in the NBA. The youngest son, LaMelo, is a different story. He has looked like a star since the second he stepped on the court.
After two breakout years where he was named the Rookie of the Year in 2021 and an NBA All-Star in 2022, LaMelo has been plagued by injuries for much of this season. Those injuries have created an opportunity to get in cheap on his Panini Prizm rookie card which can be had in a PSA 9 for $30-$50.
1986 Fleer Karl Malone – Cost Estimate $150
If you are just getting into the hobby of basketball card collecting, you are probably going to be quite intrigued by the 1986-87 Fleer basketball set. The offering features the rookie cards of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin, and Isiah Thomas.
While he is considered one of the greatest players ever, Karl Malone can often be overlooked. His rookie card is also in the set and can be had quite affordably. A PSA 8 copy of Malone’s 86 rookie sells for around $150.
2018 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic PSA 9 – Cost Estimate $200
There can be some debate over who is the best player in the NBA right now. Nikola Jokic has won back-to-back MVP Awards. Steph Curry can still cook like no else and Giannis Antetokuonmpo is somehow getting better every year. But Luka Doncic has been downright amazing this season.
Despite playing on a middle-of-the-pack Mavericks team, Doncic has, time and time again, shown that he can be an unstoppable force. His rookie card from Panini had reached stratospheric levels before coming back down a bit. As of now, a PSA issue of the card runs for $200.
2003 Topps Lebron James PSA 9 – Cost Estimate $550
LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And while he has now been in the league for nearly two decades, he is nowhere near done.
When the Ohio teen entered the NBA, cards were booming, and he has more than 50 rookie cards. The most popular of these is his Topps Chrome card which is a little expensive for most collectors. But the Topps version of his rookie card can be purchased for between $500 and $550.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.