Best Basketball Cards to Buy in 2022 From Jordan to Doncic

Best Basketball Cards to Buy in 2022 From Jordan to Doncic

Panini is the hottest brand of NBA basketball cards, and these are the packs and players to invest in.

Best Basketball Cards to Buy in 2022 From Jordan to Doncic
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ByDarry Port

Published Jan 6, 2022Updated Jan 24, 2022

Collectibles

Collectibles

Sports

Sports

Entertainment

Entertainment

You know what they say: money follows eyeballs. And basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, with around 2 billion fans according to Sports Browser. Since most basketball cards have low investment minimums and a potential for slam-dunk returns, they’ve become a preferred asset class among basketball enthusiasts. For instance, a 1986-87 Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card sold for a whopping $840,000 in July 2021. In 2020, a 2003 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection LeBron James Rookie Patch sold for a staggering $900,000.

Every year, basketball card collectors from around the world seek out these rare gems. And the 2021/22 NBA season is no exception. With all the young players entering the league and stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry still playing at the peaks, you can bet that some prized cards will be released throughout the season.   

If you haven’t already done so, there's no better time to buy up the best basketball cards that 2021 has to offer. But with so many options to choose from, you’ll be left scratching your head at which cards might fetch the highest premiums. This guide covers the best basketball cards to buy in 2021, why they’re expected to rise in value, and lists some popular sites where you can buy your top picks.

What is the best brand of NBA basketball cards?

Before you invest in any NBA basketball card, you should be confident in the brand behind it. Panini is the largest and leading sports card manufacturer in the world. Before Panini it was Topps, until they lost their license to produce sports cards in 2016. Founded in 1961, Panini has since grown to become a billion-dollar company. With their focus on quality, artistry, and prestige, most people agree that they’re the best brand of NBA basketball cards. 

The brand has also signed agreements with some of the biggest sports leagues to become their exclusive trading card licensees. A few examples of these agreements include the NFL, NBA, and MLB. A few of the most popular NBA cards from Panini include National Treasure, Prizm, Donruss Optic, and Select. National Treasure cards are limited edition cards that come with enhanced artwork and holographic foil, and feature photorealistic player depictions on the front of the cards. 

Panini's Prizm is a favorite among NBA card collectors. They have rare, limited edition cards that are usually retired players or players known in the league for their outstanding performance on and off the court. Collectors love Donruss Optic as well because of its eye-catching color and design. For those of you looking for limited edition cards, Donruss Optic is a great choice. 

Finally, Select is another great NBA trading card pack to buy. Select features a lot of parallels and autos to give collectors a good shot at pulling their favorite player cards.

Best basketball card packs to buy  in 2021

Basketball cards have become a hot collector's item in recent years among people of all ages. You might be in it for the cool designs featuring your favorite players, or the opportunity to monetize your passion for basketball. In either case, here are some of the best basketball card packs you can buy in 2021.

Panini Prizm

Panini Prizm cards are an affordable way to get into the world of NBA trading cards. These are official NBA cards that are known for their bright colors and sharp design. With its beautiful Prizm parallels, you can easily fish out world-renowned NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Zion Williamson. Anthony Edwards and Lamelo Ball are the latest rookies to join this already illustrious list of NBA stars. As you rip open this pack, be sure to check for these two top rookies.

Panini Select

Another great option is Panini Select. These cards come in a sturdy and thick cardstock containing an array of inserts and parallels to bring out the best of the NBA. Panini Select provides a wide variety of pricey cards with favorite rookies and veterans alike.

National Treasures

National Treasures are rare and highly desired NBA cards, which is reflected in their price tags (ouch). These limited edition cards feature intricate designs and high-quality artistry that will make you the envy of basketball collectors all around the world. 

Best basketball cards to buy in 2021

When investing in a basketball card, you need to look out for a couple of things. First, rookie cards are always desirable among collectors. This means that there’s always a market for star players' rookie cards. This holds true for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett. Second, be sure to check the condition of the cards. A rookie card with high quality will fetch higher prices than one that’s worn out. Let’s explore the best basketball cards to buy in 2021:

1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo

The Michael Jordan Nike Promo card is one of the first-ever basketball cards to feature Michael Jordan. His "Jumpman" pose was used for advertising the original Jordan 1 sneakers. In June, this card was bought for $203,000 by Collectable

Michael Jordan is a six-time NBA champion who has won Finals MVP every time. He also became the first billionaire player in NBA history after ending his career as a 14-time All-Star. 

Michael Jordan's rookie cards and autographed memorabilia are highly sought after. 

His rookie cards are the most valuable among all sports, beating out even LeBron James and Steph Curry. You can invest in the 1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo card by buying shares from Collectable. All you have to do is sign up for an account and buy some shares, then sit and wait for it to rise in value. When a card's price increases, the value of your shares do too.

1986 Michael Jordan Fleer RC #57

The 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer RC #57 is arguably the most recognizable and sought-after basketball card ever produced. The card hit a $40,000 auction price by the end of 2019 and was recently sold for $200,000 on eBay in June. 

Unlike other cards, this card is extremely condition-sensitive, which has made its price skyrocket. Additionally, due in part to The Last Dance, almost every Jordan card is worth much, much more than they were a decade ago. 

This makes the card an excellent investment, with every basketball card collector wanting to jump on the bandwagon. You can buy the card from Dibbs by purchasing fractional ownership of the card. Once the card is sold, Dibbs credits you with an equal share of the profits. The higher the sale price of the card, the more cha-ching for you.

1996 Kobe Bryant Topps Chrome RC #138

The 1996 Kobe Bryant Topps Chrome RC #138 is one of the most valuable basketball cards ever produced. The card hit a staggering $1,795,800 through Goldin Auctions and is destined to rise in value. 

The card is a tribute to Kobe Bryant's rookie year and his impressive performance during the playoffs. Kobe was an 18-time All-Star, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, and a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, which makes his cards some of the most valuable in the NBA.

2018 Luka Doncic Panini Prizm RC #280

The 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Prizm RC #280 is projected to have the highest ROI over the next ten years. Doncic won the 2019 Rookie of the Year and made his first All-Star appearance in 2020. In August 2021, he signed the largest rookie extension in NBA history for a jaw-dropping $207 million

Featuring a solid RC logo and a unique border design, this Panini Prizm card is estimated to be worth $1,500 by the end of 2021 and is expected to continue rising in value.

Dunking on these bros with your basketball card collection

Basketball cards are one of your best options for investing in sports memorabilia. It’s relatively easy to own rookie cards that are limited edition thanks to platforms like Dibbs and Collectable. By reading this guide, you just got a play-by-play overview of the best basketball cards to invest in. Now embrace your inner Steph Curry and go shoot your shot. 

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