Allen Iverson Rookie Cards

With the 1st Pick in the 1st Round of the 1996 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Allen Iverson from the University of Georgetown. Allen Iverson has 16 official rookie cards and 13 rookie parallels. Let’s take a look!

ALLEN IVERSON

ROOKIE CARDS

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1996 Bowman’s Best, #R1

The first Allen Iverson rookie card we’ll look at it is this inaugural year of Bowman’s Best. It was a complete success, with a short 125 card checklist and a great rookie class, it proved to be one of the premium products of the year and the cards were printed on quality card stock.

But the real awesomeness of this product lies in its parallels, there are two of them. Refractors 1:12 packs and the popular Atomic Refractors inserted 1:24 packs and are a hobby favorite among collectors today.


1996 Collector’s Choice, #301

The budget-friendly Collector’s Choice seems to be a forgotten product. Made of thin paper stock it seemed to be a product designed for kids and oftentimes insert themes were kid-related.

Fantastic draft-day photo and design on the card front. Great portrait poses on the card back really make this one memorable. There are no parallels to speak of in this product.


1996 E-X2000, #53

This small 80 card set is large in design and eye-appeal! Friends they don’t make them like this anymore. Big, bold, colorful borders glisten in the light. Action photos can be seen on both sides of the card due to the thin plastic see-through membrane that features clouds in the center of the card.

This is perhaps my favorite Allen Iverson rookie card for its creative design.

Due to all this awesomeness, only player bio and stats can be given on the card back, but I’m okay with it. One parallel to speak of, the ever-popular Credentials, randomly inserted and serial-numbered to /499.


1996 Finest, #69

One of the most dynamic sets created by Topps because of its three-tier base set layout. Allow me to try and peel this onion. First, let me say, I am only looking at Series 1 (cards #1-146) breakdown because it’s the series with our keynote rookie in it.

Cards 1-100 is the Bronze theme, also known as “Common.” Cards 101-128 are known as the Silver theme or “Uncommon.” And cards 129-146 are the Gold theme, also known as “Rare.” Depending on the player, card fronts were branded with either the word Apprentices, Gladiators, Sterling, or Maestros.

Silvers and Golds can be considered short-prints by today’s standards because they were inserted at a rate of 1:4 and 1:24 packs, respectively. Here’s where it gets good. All three-tiers have refractor parallels to them. Bronze Refractors 1:12 packs, Silver Refractors 1:48, and Gold Refractors were inserted 1:288 packs.


1996 Flair Showcase Row 2, #3

Another small set, Flair Showcase features 90 cards in three different tiers (or rows), (Row 2, Row 1, and Row 0) for a total of 270 cards. The Row 2’s are considered the base cards the other two rows can be considered parallels.

This is my second favorite Allen Iverson rookie card.

The card is assembled with sturdy card stock and the design has lots of eye-appeal. Solid card design front and back make this one a must-have. One parallel in this one, Legacy Collection inserted 1:30 packs. They are stamped and serial-numbered to /150.


1996 Fleer, #235

This 300 card set was split up into two series of 150 cards in each. If you want the rookie cards from this set you’ll want to focus on Series 2 packs because that’s the only way you’ll see rookies, Series 1 has no rookies in it. Borderless, full photography on thin paper stock allows for lots of damage to edges and corners so be sure to handle with care.

There are no parallels for this set but Fleer did produce a European set this same year. In fact, they went international with this set but only the wrappers and boxes had any difference in language, the cards themselves were identical to the American version in every way. However, Series 2 cards have different numbering. Allen Iverson in the European set is card number 265!


1996 Hoops, #295

Similar to the Fleer set Skybox released the popular Hoops brand. Great action photo but no borders on thin paper stock. The biggest difference in this one is the foil offered at the player’s name and the rookie emblem at the top right. There are no parallels in this set either.


1996 Metal, #201

The Metal brand premiered the previous season, it was a hit within the hobby and it didn’t fail to deliver with this set either. The overall theme of getting cards to look like metal had been attempted within insert sets but never been done with a complete base set, so the concept drew you in. The result? As you can see a great-looking rookie card of our featured Hall of Famer.

Capturing Iverson in an action photo, with silver foil background, and multi-color makes this on a classic. Check out the back! Even though it lacks player bio and stats I love it. There are no parallels for this card.


1996 Skybox Premium, #85

Skybox offered collectors this premium product which took off in popularity due to its Autographics insert set. The base set featured all the relevant rookie cards but for whatever reason, none of them indicates that. Nowhere does it show prospects, rookie, apprentice, etc. I guess they assume that everyone will know who the rookies are.

There is one parallel, Rubies were inserted 1 per box and basically feature red foil anywhere you see gold foil, they are not serial numbered.


1996 SP, #141

This beautiful premium product released by Upper Deck is underrated in my opinion. Great portrait photography, big bold lettering and that handsome SP brand logo at the upper right-hand side make this design clean, elegant, and simple. There are no parallels to speak of in this one.


1996 Topps, #171

Topps base brand didn’t disappoint here. Great classic design capturing a very passionate Iverson. The design of the card back is very well thought out and gives us everything we would expect of Topps. One parallel to speak of, NBA at 50 is stamped on each card front and has a silverish front to them.

This Allen Iverson rookie card could also be considered his “flagship” rookie.


1996 Topps Chrome, #171

This is the debut year for Topps Chrome and is by far the headliner set for the 1996-97 season. To this day these cards carry a premium due to their demand. It was a retail-only product and mimics the regular Topps set entirely. This is perhaps the most expensive Allen Iverson rookie card.

The chromium technology makes the card stock much sturdier. One parallel does exist for this product, the extremely popular, Refractor was inserted 1:12 packs.


1996 UD3, #14

There are only 60 cards to this set but Upper Decks UD3 takes the award for most creative! Hardwood Prospects, which is cards 1-20 in the set, has that wood look to its front and back.

The photo is encased in what appears to be a free-throw line and the paint which is just genius. A different photo was inserted on the back along with stats and commentary. Overall, a design for the ages.  There are no parallels in this set.


1996 Ultra, #82

Borderless, full action photo printed on great card stock is what you get with the Ultra brand. The player and team names are combined in a highlighted swoosh. Card back gives a full photo, player bio, and commentary.

These are known for chipping especially on the back of the card. Parallels include Gold Medallion which features gold foil where player and team names are and inserted 1:12 packs. Platinum Medallion is inserted in 1:100 packs.


1996 Upper Deck, #91

Great card design and handsome colors. Too bad they used recycled photos. Same image used for the Collector’s Choice brand. The design for the card back is phenomenal as well. It gives us everything a good card back should have. A fantastic card with no parallels.

This is in my opinion is an undervalued Allen Iverson rookie card.


1996 Z-Force, 

A “Z Force” is a physics term and basically means an axial force. In other words, the line about which a rotating body, such as the earth turns. You can see the Z-Force power breaking through in the design of the card front with big bold font and the same rookie emblem that Skybox used in its Hoops product. There are no parallels in this product.

In all, there are 16 official rookie cards of Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. And there are 13 parallel rookie cards too!


What Collectors Should Know


He Had a Rough Start

Allen Iverson. Born and raised in Hampton Virginia in 1975. Early on he lived with his grandmother, and his mother Ann Iverson, ironically on Jordan Dr.

He had to grow up fast within the streets of Philadelphia. Apartment to apartment, housing project to housing project, with a mom who worked multiple jobs as Iverson helped raise his two younger sisters. Iverson had to be the man of the house at age 12.

Organized sports was his outlet. His first love was football and he excelled in that sport as well. Basketball was secondary and he didn’t enjoy it as much but many could see he had a lot of natural ability at it.

He was so good in his junior year of high school he led his team to a state title in football, a mere two months later wins another state title in basketball.

But in the summer just before his senior year that’s when the wheels fell off. At a local bowling alley, Iverson and a group of his friends were being loud and obnoxious when the group was confronted to tone it down a fight ensued.

The result. Iverson was accused of hitting a woman over the head with a chair. He was arrested, charged, and found guilty. Served 4 months in prison before the Governor of Philadelphia dropped all charges due to lack of evidence.

Iverson Given a Second Chance

Due to his conviction, he did not play any sports in his senior year of high school and due to the negative publicity, he didn’t receive any college offers.

However, his mother Ann reached out to Coach Thompson at the University of Georgetown and pleaded with him to give the young Iverson a chance.

Coach Thompson wanted to speak with Iverson personally and was really impressed. He found him to be sincere, he felt that Iverson learned his lessons and was wanting to move forward.

Iverson brought lots of success to Georgetown during his freshman and sophomore seasons. After that, he decided to join the 1996 NBA Draft.

The six-foot project kid from Hampton Virginia made it to the NBA. This was a climax for his life which up until then was always a struggle.

His freshman year in the NBA he absolutely killed it! He made his presence known immediately. Playing at a whole new level, he earned Rookie of the Year honors.

Allen Iverson’s NBA Career

Iverson’s superpower was in his ball-handling skills and his scoring ability. But the secret sauce was in his speed. It’s like listening to a vinyl record at its normal speed of 33 rpm and switching it over to 45. Picture a person having Jordan-like skills but twice as fast.

Major plunder in his career was when he voiced that he wanted a chance to play the best and that he was coming after them.

In a game against the Chicago Bulls, he had a moment where he did a filthy cross-over move on Jordan at the top of the key and scored.

He publicly challenged Jordan and it offended Michael (big mistake). Shortly after that league started to notice that Iverson seemed selfish on the court, a ball hog per see, and he was labeled “me, myself, and Iverson.”

To add insult to injury fans were offended too. The sentiment was, how dare you challenge Michael Jordan? Who do you think you are young man?

The 76er’s hired Coach Larry Brown as the new head coach, to bring clarity, discipline to the team. But that was like water and oil for the young cocky Iverson.

The two treated each other like two mountain goats for many years. Iverson refused to follow the rules, absent at various practices, dress codes, back talk, you name it he fought against it.

Eventually, they worked things out and Iverson realized he needed to trust his teammates more. That changed everything and Iverson began playing more like a leader. MVP Awards soon followed and at last Playoffs.

Career Stats & Accomplishments

Allen Iverson played as a shooting guard and a point guard. He played for a total of 17 years. The first 12 years with the 76ers, 3 yrs with the Denver Nuggets,  1 yr with the Pistons, and a cup of coffee with the Grizzles before heading back to Philly in 2010 and retiring.

Career Numbers: 24,368 Points (30th) | 1,983 Steals (14th) | 41.1 Minutes Per Game (4th).

Career Accomplishments:

  • 1996-97 Rookie of the Year
  • 1996-97 All-Rookie
  • 2000-01 MVP
  • 2000-01 Sporting News MVP
  • 11x All-Star
  • 7x All-NBA
  • 4x Scoring Champion
  • 3x Steals Champion

In the beginning, people talked about his size – too short. His game – too selfish. Too immature, bad reputation, he’ll never reach his potential, his teammates aren’t good enough.

But in the end, although he never won an NBA Championship, in defeat he earned the respect of his peers and the fans. In the end, he was embraced for who he was, a talented, big-hearted, tell it like it is all-time great!

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.


Sources:

Allen Iverson Stats | Basketball-Reference.com https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/i/iversal01.html (accessed March 13, 2021).

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