Michael Jordan Rookie Cards

I will try to restrain myself as I make this declaration. It is my unqualified opinion and the opinion of many who are qualified, that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time! His accomplishments on the court, and his marketing star power put the NBA on the mountaintop for many years.

How dare I make that statement without having facts. Well let’s look at those facts. In 1999, an ESPN survey of journalists, athletes and other sports figures ranked Jordan The Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century, above big names such as Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. Also, in 1999 Jordan placed second to Babe Ruth in the Associated Press Top 100 Athletes of the 20th Century.

Michael Jordan was the ultimate go to guy. It seems like he thrived for and shined most when the stakes were highest. Game 7 in the fourth period with less than 20 seconds left on the clock everyone knew it was going to Michael and he had a way of delivering last second heroics in the clutch.

Living near Chicago I had the privilege of watching his entire career. Now we can speak until the sun comes up about his many accomplishments, awards and jaw dropping statistics but here’s the bottom line: In my opinion Michael was the most dominating basketball player of all-time; he dazzled us with his athleticism, he captivated not only a city but a nation. Opponents were left baffled on a nightly basis because they’ve tried everything to stop him but couldn’t. His primary accomplishments on the court:

6x NBA Champion | 6x Finals MVP | 5x MVP | 14x All-Star | 32,292 Career Points

Jordan played at the University of North Carolina for three years and won the National Championship title in 1982. Jordan was drafted by the Bulls as the third overall pick in 1984. He quickly captivated the league with his explosive play and emerged as an All-Star earning him the nicknames: “Air Jordan” and “His Airness.” 1986-87 he joined the company of Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players to score 3,000 points in a season. Equally impressive that year was his defensive play, recording 200 steals and 100 blocked shots.

1986-1990 the Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs by the Celtics and three consecutive times by the Detroit Pistons. But in 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93 the Chicago Bulls were three-peat NBA Champions.

On October 6, 1993 after the death of his father Jordan announced his retirement. On March 31, 1994 Jordan decides to pursue the dream of his father who always saw Michael playing baseball. He joined the minor league system of the Chicago White Sox. A year later Jordan called for a press conference and announced to the world, “I’m Back!” Jordan and the Chicago Bulls made it to the 1994-95 playoffs but were knocked out by the Orlando Magic.

Feeling the sting of a playoff loss, Michael began putting in some extra hours in training. The Bulls made some key acquisitions during the off-season and the Bulls went on a second three-peat winning titles in 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98. On January 13, 1999 retires for the second time. One year later Jordan returns to the NBA as part Owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. On September 25, 2001 Jordan returns as a player for the Washington Wizards. He led the team in every aspect of the game but the season and career was cut short due to his knees not holding up.

Worthy of mentioning, Michael has two Olympic Gold Medals the first one was in 1984 and the second as part of the 1992 Dream Team.

Michael Jordan had celebrity/star power. He was charming and carried himself like a professional. He was an ambassador of the game of basketball everywhere he went and was a role model to younger players and children. And because he carried himself in such a manner he was the spokesman for companies like: Nike, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Ball Park Franks, Raovac, Wheaties, Hanes and MCI.  He is the most marketed sports figure in sports history.

In June of 2014, Jordan was named the first NBA player to become a billionaire. In 2015 Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $1.1 billion and he is the second wealthiest African-American, behind Oprah Winfrey.


1986-87 Fleer, No. 57 (Shop eBay)

The 1986-87 Fleer is the most popular mainstream rookie card of Michael Jordan mainly because the Fleer is the only card company that was NBA Licensed at the time. Fleer offered this “Premier Issue” basketball set, the first basketball set released by the them since the early 1960’s.

A word of caution when purchasing the 1986-87 Fleer card of Michael Jordan, it is one of the most counterfeited cards in the hobby today. Be sure to do your homework or better yet purchase one that has been authenticated and encapsulated by one of the major authenticators in the industry today: Professional Sports Authenticators, Beckett Grading Services or Sportscard Guaranty Corp. This way you remove all doubt of authenticity. The card has maintained consistent increase over the past ten years and has become an iconic card even among investors.

As of the date of this post graded copies at mid-grade range can be purchased for $500-$800; for higher end grades you can expect to pay $1600-$3800. And in 2016, a PSA Gem Mint 10 sold for $29,060.

1986-87 Fleer Sticker, No. 8 (Shop eBay)

These stickers should be considered insert cards. They were inserted into packs of 1986-87 Fleer and are generally severely mis-cut, finding one with good centering could prove to be challenging. Typically, insert cards are not considered rookie cards but the hobby has embraced this one as such. It is also a more affordable alternative.

As of the date of this post graded copies at mid-grade range can be purchased for $100-$200; for higher end grades you can expect to pay $700-$800. And Gem Mint 10’s are selling between $6000-$7000.

1984-85 Star, No. 101 (Shop eBay)

Technically speaking this card is considered an “extended” rookie card. An XRC is a card that was released in an extended or limited set. Most often cards that were released between the time a player was drafted and prior to a players first appearance in the league. So for example if the NBA Draft is in June and the basketball season starts in October that means the set was released somewhere between June – October of 1984.

Moreover, this card can be considered an XRC because of Star’s limited and non-standard distribution. Which surfaces another issue. This card has also been heavily counterfeited. Some authenticators will not even accept them for submission. Again, do diligence in investigating prior to purchasing one of these. To this day these cards are extremely difficult to find because production runs are rumored to be at or less than 5,000 copies.

As of the date of this post graded copies at mid-grade range can be purchased for $3500-$7000; higher end grades can fetch $8000-$30,000+ for a gem mint.

“23 Jordan, A Michael Jordan Tribute.” 23jordan.com. http://www.23jordan.com/index.htm (accessed May 22, 2017).
Wikipedia contributors, “Michael Jordan,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michael_Jordan&oldid=781250631 (accessed May 22, 2017).
callum_55’s. “michael jordan portrait.” Digital Image. Photobucket.com. Accessed 02/28/17 from http://s980.photobucket.com/user/callum_55/media/mjportrait.jpg.html?sort=3&o=27.
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial