Top 10 Valuable Basketball Cards: All-Time Dream List


Many high-value basketball cards are floating around out there. But which are the most valuable of all time?

In this guide, we used both PSA and BGS Sports Market Reports to unearth NBA cards with estimated open-market values exceeding $3,000. Here’s a rundown.

Top 10 Most Valuable Basketball Cards of All-Time

Basketball cards value can sometimes take your breath away (and make you wish you’d had the foresight to buy them when first released!). In the following section, we present the 10 most valuable cards and what makes them so special.

#1–1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan

  • Year of issue:1986–87
  • PSA10:$450,000
  • BGS9.5:$90,000

Michael Jordan is arguably the most famous NBA player of all time. His skill and the legacy he left on the sport have made him a popular icon and one of the most popular living sports stars.

The 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan is the most esteemed of all the star’s Rookie Card appearances and perhaps the most coveted card of all time. Cards of this variety graded PSA Gem Mint 10 have an estimated value of $350,000, those rated BGS 9.5 a value of $80,000. The high price comes from a combination of the card’s rarity and the abiding love for what Michael Jordan did for the sport.

Get Topps Basketball Fleer #57 Michael Jordan on GemCard

#2–1980 Topps Larry Bird/Magic Johnson

  • Year of issue:1980–81
  • PSA10:$125,000
  • BGS9.5:$15,000

The 1980 Topps Larry Bird/Magic Johnson is a rookie card of three of the 1980s most famous players, including Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The card encapsulates the competitive feud that started between these two players all the way back in high school. According to estimates, there are only 22 copies of the card rated PSA Mint 10, 600 PSA Mint 9 and 2,500 copies of PSA Mint 8.

The card is known to have issues with both black splotches and centering, so finding quality examples can be a challenge. Many people, however, see it as a great investment option because it features three of the most popular players from the 1980s, implying a larger fan base.

#3–1996 Topps Chrome #138 Kobe Bryant

Photo:Goldin Auctions
  • Year of issue:1996–97
  • PSA10:$40,000
  • BGS9.5:$13,500

One of the most popular rookie cards even, the 1996 Topps Chrome #138 Kobe Bryant deserves its position at number three in our hall of fame. Kobe Bryant was an NBA star destined for greatness ever since his career debuted in 1996. This card captures his time in the Los Angeles Lakers, during which Bryant had a spell-binding first three years.

Get 1996 Topps #138 Kobe Bryant on GemCard

#4–1986–87 Fleer Sticker KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR #1

  • Year of Issue:1986–87
  • PSA 9 estimated value:$15,000
  • BGS 8.5 estimated value:$1,500

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., was perhaps one of the most successful players ever to grace the game. His 71-game winning streak led the UCLA Bruins to three national championship victories from 1967 to 1969. He then joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 before helping the Los Angeles Lakers to six NBA titles in the 1980s. This card pictures the 7 foot 2-inch giant during the 1986 season, one of the only years in the 1980s that he did not become an NBA Champion.

#5–2003–04 Topps Chrome LeBron James

  • Year of Issue:2003–04
  • PSA 10 estimated value:$25,000
  • BGS 9.5 estimated value:$15,000

LeBron James grew up in a broken home in Akron, Ohio and dreamed of becoming a sports star. He honed his skills and eventually got a place on his high school basketball team, leading it to three Ohio High School Athletic Association State Titles in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Soon after, James joined the Cleveland Cavaliers which named him the “Draft Pick #1” in 2003.

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#6–2009 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry #101

  • Year of Issue:2009–10
  • PSA 10 estimated value:$27,000
  • BGS 9.5 estimated value:$20,000

According to some, Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. He changed the nature of the game, thanks to his impressive range and ability to somehow always hit his target. This rookie card is his most desirable, heralding from the 2009 Topps Chrome issue. There are just 28 known PSA 10 cards of this type in existence.

#7–1986 Hakeem Olajuwon Fleer Rookie Card

  • Year of Issue:1986–87
  • PSA 10 estimated value:$27,000
  • BGS 9.5 estimated value:$20,000

Hakeem Olajuwon would probably have gone down in history as one of the greatest players in the game, had he not been playing around at the same time as Michael Jordan. For those who knew the game, Hakeem had an uncanny ability to woo fans and bamboozle opponents, thanks to his smooth footwork and effortless application. The card actually reads “Akeem Olajuwon” which was his former name before he changed it to Hakeem.

#8–2007 Topps Chrome Kevin Durant #131

  • Year of Issue:2007–8
  • PSA 10 estimated value:$11,500
  • BGS 9.5 estimated value:$4,000

This is the fifth Topps Chrome card to make this list, proving just how pivotal influential this series remains. It features Kevin Durant, widely regarded as being one of the best scorers in the game.

What’s great about this particular card is that Durant’s career is not over. Despite his injuries, he has the skill to continue winning accolades in the future, which could push up the card’s value even more! With a career average of 27.0 points, 4.1 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game, many people consider him to be among the finest players in history.

#9–1992 Shaquille O’Neal Topps Gold Rookie RC #36

  • Year of Issue:1992–93
  • PSA 10 estimated value:$8,000
  • BGS 9.5 estimated value:$2,000

This card was a rare golden leaf version of the base Topps rookie card for Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant centers ever to grace the game. It features gold foil writing, which set it as a premium card from the outset. Since its introduction, its value has continued to soar.

Before his retirement in the 2010–11 season, Shaq was very much a sports personality. But since then, he has made the move to proper celebrity.Investors should take note. Shaq is still involved in the NBA (as of 2021), making appearances on programs associated with the sport, including Inside the NBA. Thus, this card’s value may continue to grow.

#10 1989 David Robinson Hoops SP Rookie RC #136

The card is a little unusual since it features David Robinson holding his Spurs shirt on the night of his draft while wearing a suit. It is not an action shot, like so many others in this list. But it’s popular because it shows off Robinson’s beaming smile and gregarious nature. It’s also highly sought-after because of how Robinson’s career developed, both in the NBA and internationally. He’s widely regarded as a worthy member of any dream team.

For many, this card is valuable for its pure nostalgia. David Robinson was one of the most popular basketball stars in history.

Buy or Sell Basketball Cards on GemCard

For many sports enthusiasts, buying and selling basketball cards worth money is more than a hobby: it’s a passion. But actually getting hold of cards can be a challenge. Sometimes you have cards that you don’t need and would like to sell. And other times, you don’t have the cards you want to complete your collection, and need to buy.

That’s where GemCard comes in. GemCard is a buying and selling platform for people who want to trade basketball cards and complete their collections.

The way the platform works is incredibly simple. First, you register as a member on the site, which allows you to make purchases and access NBA cards value information.

Next, site tools show you the latest information on card prices from various online marketplaces. This feature lets you see how people are pricing trading cards in different places, letting you pick the best price.

The last step is to buy cards outright or place a winning bid. If your purchase is successful, GemCard will then mail your item to you within seven to ten working days.

Selling cards on the platform is also very simple. First, you click the sell button or the ask better. “Sell” is where you set a price. “Ask” is where you can get people to send you bids. Then, once you’ve selected your pricing criteria, you simply wait for offers and sales to roll in.

GemCard only sells cards graded by the world’s two largest third-party sports card authentication services, PSA and BGS. So, whenever you shop or sell via the platform, you can be certain that you’re getting a fair price.