Believe it or not, there was a time when rookie basketball cards were about as exciting to your average hobbyist as that checklist they pulled from their last wax pack.
Indeed, back in the 1980s, during the original hobby boom, it was tough for even the hottest of basketball players to make much noise in a market dominated by baseball cards. Heck, even football was a distant, distant second to the diamond when it came to capturing collector hearts … and dollars.
It took a good long while, and some of the most exciting stars in NBA history, but the tide slowly began to turn.
A large part of the credit for that has to go to Michael Jordan (who else?), whose first Threepeat with the Chicago Bulls elevated him to basketball legend status. Even then, though, Jordan’s 1986-87 Fleer rookie card didn’t sell for much more than the RCs of the latest baseball phenom.
Upper Deck issued a baseball card of Jordan in 1991, though, and it instantly became a hobby favorite and began to shine light on other hoops cards.
When Jordan retired from baseball in the mid-1990s and headed to the diamond, his star — and his basketball cards — rose even further.
By the time Air Jordan returned to the court a year later, Shaquille O’Neal and other young stars were really starting to light up the hobby with their own rookie cards.
The 25+ years since have seen hoops continued to eat into baseball’s hobby market share, with huge names like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Luka Doncic, and many others flooding the buckets with their shots and the market with their rookie cards.
Today, you can pretty much count on every basketball product yielding a crop of new rookie cards that continue to drive the market forward.
And you can find nearly all of those cards for sale through various online venues … but, of course, there’s still one leading marketplace when it comes to where collectors turn to find our next cardboard conquests.
Yeah, it’s eBay, no doubt.
And, as you can see from the 25 most watched rookie basketball cards on eBay right now, the hoops market shows no signs of slowing down. Check back often, too, as these listings are updated on a continual basis.