Top 13 Most Expensive Basketball Cards

Growing up, I have always been around people who are extensively involved in sports, which turned me into a sports enthusiast. And above all the other team sports, basketball had a special place in my heart. 

Being a huge fan of players like Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry, over the years, I have invested in a few basketball cards featuring mainly these two. However, I have recently noticed that the value of sports cards, especially basketball cards, has started to explode significantly, due to the undivided attention of the collectors. 

Collectors are ready to pay millions to obtain some of the most valuable and sought-after basketball cards. The majority of the Most Expensive Basketball Cards involve LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. And, some other cards in which the collectors most invest include Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Anthony Davis. 

According to my research, there have been more than 20 sales of NBA sports cards worth seven figures. The 2003-04 LeBron James Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs Card has been sold 12 times, which is the highest most times sold card in this list.

Most Expensive Basketball Cards

The majority of the basketball cards I have mentioned in the list below were retailed over the last 2 years. As the records change every few months, the position of each card in this list of Most Expensive Basketball Cards may soon change once again. 

1. Stephen Curry: 2009-10 Panini National Treasures Stephen Curry Rookie Logoman Autograph

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 6th July 2021 
  • Price: 5,900,000 USD

In the early July of 2021, a 2009-10 Panini National Treasures Stephen Curry Rookie Logoman Autograph card was sold for 5.9 million USD, and made it the Most Expensive Basketball Card ever sold. 

This rare card has now become the second most expensive sports card after the 6.6 million USD Honus Wagner Baseball Card. This card has a PSA NM-MT 8 grade, however, Curry’s Autograph is rated Gem Mint 10.

2. LeBron James: 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 26th April 2021
  • Price: 5,200,000 USD

In April 2021, this particular card was purchased by an anonymous buyer for 5.2 million dollars. 

During that time, this 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78 card was in a tie with 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle for the position of the second most expensive sports card in the world.

This LeBron James rookie card is graded BGS MT 9, which is closely minted as 10 for a card in perfect condition.

3. Luka Doncic: 2018-19 Panini National Treasures 1 of 1 Logoman Autograph

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 28th February 2021
  • Price: 4,600,000 USD

On the 22nd birthday of the player Luka Doncic, this 2018 Panini National Treasures 1 of 1 Logoman Autograph card was revealed to be sold for 4.6 million dollars. 

During that time, this one-of-a-kind card held the position of the Most Expensive Basketball Card ever sold, until the LeBron James rookie card broke the record and took the position a few months later. 

4. Micheal Jordan: 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 11th October 2021
  • Price: 2,700,000 USD

In October 2021, a 1997  Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph card was sold for 2.7 million dollars to an anonymous buyer. This valuable Micheal Jordan card is Beckett Grading Services-graded 8. 

5. LeBron James: 2020 Panini Flawless Triple Logoman Patch

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 26th June 2022
  • Price: 2,400,000 USD

In late June 2022, this unique 2020 Panini Flawless Triple Logoman Patch card was purchased by an anonymous buyer for 2.4 million dollars. This One-of-a-kind LeBron James card is graded authentic, and it is the only piece in existence. 

6. Kobe Bryant: 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems – Green

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 22nd February 2022
  • Price: 2,000,000 USD

A 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems – Green card was sold in February 2022 for 2 million dollars. This card was No. 4 of the 100 that were produced, and it is graded BGS NM-MT+ 8.5.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo: 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Logoman Patch Autograph

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 20th September 2020
  • Price: 1,857,300 USD

This one-of-a-kind 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Logoman Patch Autograph card was sold for a whopping 1,857,300 dollars in September 2020. 

Similar to some other cards on this list, during the time of the sale, this particular Giannis Antetokounmpo card created a new record and became the Most Expensive Basketball Card ever sold. At present, it is the seventh most valuable basketball card in the world.

Right from Giannis’ rookie season, his rookie cards became highly valuable and expensive. This particular card is graded a BGS Mint 9 and a 10 for the signature.

8. Kobe Bryant: 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Rookie Card

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 6th March 2021
  • Price: 1,795,800 USD

This rare Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Rookie card sold for more than 1.7 million on March 6, 2021, is one of the most highly valuable basketball cards in the current sports card market. 

This one-of-a-kind Kobe Bryant card is one of the two cards that are graded BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10. It received perfect 10s in every category and allowed it to earn the honorable Black grade. 

After the death of Kobe Bryant at the start of 2020, the value of this particular card increased by 600 percent. This card is now the most valuable Kobe Bryant card in the world. 

9. LeBron James/ Micheal Jordan/ Kobe Bryant: 2006-07 Upper Deck Exquisite All NBA Access Triple Logoman 

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 7th August 2022
  • Price: 1,680,000 USD

In early August of 2022, this James/ Jordan/ Bryant 2006-07 Upper Deck Exquisite All NBA Access Triple Logoman card was sold for more than 1.6 million dollars. It is not only a highly valuable card but also a very rare one. 

This card has been graded as authentic and there is only one of these in existence in the current market. 

10. LeBron James: 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logos #USL-LJ Signed Logoman Card

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 6th March 2021
  • Price: 1,291,500 USD

In March 2021, this rare and unique LeBron James: 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logos #USL-LJ Signed Logoman card was purchased by an anonymous buyer for over 1.2 million dollars. 

The auction house, Golden Auctions, that managed the sale stated that this particular LeBron James card was the most valuable one after 2004. However, this is not the most expensive card that features LeBron, that honor belongs to the second top card on this list. Moreover, in perfect condition, this card is graded PSA Authentic / Auto 10. 

11. LeBron James: 2003 Topps Chrome

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 5th August 2022
  • Price: 1,200,000 USD

This unique LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome card is graded a BGS GM-MT 10. This was sold for 1.2 million dollars in the early August of 2022. 

12. Giannis Antetokounmpo: 2013-14 Panini Prizm #290 “Prizms Black Mosaic”

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 12th December 2020
  • Price: 1,160,000 USD

This Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 Panini Prizm #290 “Prizms Black Mosaic” card is the 2nd Giannis card on this list which is worth over one million dollars. 

This particular card was sold in early December of 2020 for a whopping 1,160,000 USD through the 2020 Holiday Auction organized by Golden Auctions. There is only one of these cards in existence, which makes it rare and highly valuable.

13. Anthony Davis: 2012-13 Panini National Treasures #151 NBA Logoman Rookie Patch Autographs 

Most Expensive Basketball Cards
  • Date of Sale: 30th January 2021
  • Price: 1,045,000 USD

In late January of 2021, the Anthony Davis: 2012-13 Panini National Treasures #151 NBA Logoman Rookie Patch Autographs card was sold for 1,045,000 USD at an auction held by the Golden Auctions with a starting bid of 150,000 USD. 

At present, this is the most valuable Anthony Davis card in the market. This card is currently in perfect condition and was graded BGS MT 9/10.

Why Are Basketball Cards So Famous

The selling, purchasing, and trading of sports cards, especially basketball cards, have been seen to increase in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic for quite the same reasons Pokemon cards did: modern collectors looking for a safe, economical, indoor hobby spread into the market. 

Moreover, the millennials and some older people are seen to be nostalgic and pick their hobby of collecting basketball cards back up.

As the majority of basketball cards tend to have comparatively low investment minimums along with potential slam-dunk returns, they are gaining a lot of popularity among collectors as well as basketball enthusiasts. For example, a 1986 Upper Deck signed Fleer #57 Rookie Cards sold for a whopping 1,008,000 USD in June 2022.