The Best Basketball Cards to Buy

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Being a basketball fan is not just fun but sometimes costly. Showing support for your favorite team or player is not limited to watching their games live, but buying merchandise like basketball cards is equally exciting. This blog is for you if you want the best basketball cards to buy.

Basketball cards are a kind of merchandise you can trade. These cards have images of a basketball player printed on them. Avid fans collect these as tokens or trade them with other supporters. Keep scrolling if you are looking for the best basketball cards to buy right now.

Our Favorites for the Best Basketball Card BrandsOur Favorites for the Best Basketball Card Brands

Before asking where to buy basketball cards, you need to understand that basketball cards follow the law of supply and demand. Indecisively buying cards will not take you somewhere. Since these cards are meant to be traded to other collectors, choose the type of cards you must buy wisely.

While basketball card brands are essential, different players have different values. It means that both the brand and the player affect the value. The general rule is to choose not just the right brand but also the right player.

If you are after money, it would be better to choose the best. Worry no more; below are the best basketball cards to buy as approved by traders, collectors, and basketball fans.

Panini Prizm

Panini Basketball cards, particularly Prizm, need no introduction. This brand has earned the trust of traders for more than a decade, thus making it ideal for beginners and collectors. These basketball cards exceeded everyone’s expectations—from product quality to trade value to price.

Even though Prizm basketball cards are considered high-end tokens, their price is more attainable than other premium ones. A prizm happy box costs around $199. Their checklists usually include star players like Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, and Kyrie Irving. These players are known to be the highest value in the trade market.

Knowing that their players’ lineup includes top-tier ones, it would not come as a surprise that even six Luka Doncic cards are equivalent to the amount of a whole hobby box. Hence, be assured that everything is a good use of dimes. Check them out on their official website and other legit retailers like Amazon.

What Makes Panini Prizm Unique from other Basketball cards:

  • Prizm cards always deliver—nothing less and exceedingly. Regarding product quality, the cards stay of excellent quality for a long time because they use rigid materials compared to other brands. You are guaranteed that they stay sharp.
  • There is always a market for Prizm. It is always the most desirable card among all the available ones in the market. Most collectors do not double-think about buying Prizm basketball cards compared to other brands.
  • It is high-end yet worth every penny. The good thing about this product is that it is expensive compared to average cards but cheaper than premium ones. Hence, it is the best choice since it responds to quality, price, and mass desirability.

Why Choose Panini Prizm Basketball Cards:

  • If you prefer to trade the cards, Prizm is the most ideal because most cards in the box come with famous players like Steph Curry, Kahwi Leonard, Paul George, and more. You will be able to sell them no matter what because you are guaranteed to pull great players, plus it is the preferred brand of all.
  • The design always satisfies. Prizm cards are known for their simple and clean aesthetics—the type of design that the general public prefers. Hence, it sits at the top of the chrome-style cards. 
  • Most traders trust the quality of Panini Prizm. It is the most specific brand to trade. Although players are a significant factor, some collectors love to base their collections on the brand. You will never regret burying it.

Topps Chrome OTE

Another brand that is worth the price is Topps Chrome. These cards are rapidly gaining momentum now. A quick background, Overtime Elite is a league for junior basketball players, which gives them the spotlight and lures them to shy away from mainstream basketball by spending $100K on each player a year.

Topps Chrome OTE left in 2007, but their hype never boiled down. They are creating a buzz in the basketball card trading community for their classic and odd boxes. This branding style makes Topps Chrome OTE one of the sought-after brands. 

What Makes Topps Chrome OTE Unique from other Basketball Cards:

  • It posts odds in every pack to highlight your luck in collecting this merchandise. It gives you a sense of ownership and high value to the lucky card.
  • Topps Chrome OTE is one of the OGs in the basketball card. Hence, the market for this brand is vast. It recently went back to the market, so the hype around it is still burning.
  • It includes a lineup of prospective star players for the NBA, including Tyler Smith, Jalen Lewis, and Bryson Warren. Hence, you will hold a high-value card if one of these players makes it big in the NBA league. Therefore, you will expect great players and also promising ones. It gives you a sense of value markup over time.

Why Choose Topps Chrome OTE Basketball Cards:

  • A lot of its high-value or upper-deck players are as cheap as the middle range of the Prizm. Since it has just recently returned, its market value will expectedly rise. Therefore, it is a good investment.
  • It is on fire these days. Since its return, the basketball cards have been gaining adequate traction. It means you will profit more enormously once the value reaches its peak.
  • The materials used in the cards are of excellent quality. Similar to Prizm, it is expected to remain sharp in the future. Most of all, the price gives so much justice to the quality. Although cheaper than the high-end ones, it gives the same feel to them.

Panini National Treasures

When Panini manufactures the basketball card, you can assure that its quality and value are excellent. National Treasures are designed and released for folks unafraid to release big cash caps. 

National Treasure is a high-end one, but spending on them will guarantee you because they come with great inclusions, and you will pull high-value players. If you are yet to believe, check out the following reasons below.

What Makes Panini National Treasure Unique from other Basketball Cards:

  • National Treasure is an elite basketball card because it includes ultra-rare and elusive cards. The good thing is it comes in both the seasoned and rookie players in its Base Set Checklist.
  • The card also comes in dual and triple autograph features, which makes it more elusive and highly traded in the market. Remember, it includes star players like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in its lineup, which makes it more exciting and in demand.
  • You may choose from the Happy Box or FOTL Box. First Off The Line Box is the most sought-after because it includes one limited edition card. These inclusions are what make National Treasure stand out and more pricey.

Why Choose Panini National Treasure Basketball Cards:

  • Again, it is a product of Panini. Although it is a little more expensive than other brands, you will not regret it because the material used is top-notch. Without a doubt, most products from Panini are of excellent quality.
  • It has a star-studded lineup. As you know, famous players are more expensive in the trade community. Hence, you will expectedly have great pulls because their setlist never disappoints.
  • The design is chic. True to its branding, the elite aesthetic reflects its premium quality. Therefore, trading is never that challenging since the quality is on fire, the design is on-point, and the player lineup is immaculate.

Panini Court Kings

Another Panini product that made it to the list is Court Kings. This is the best rookie basketball card box since it includes veterans like Larry Bird, Charles Berkley, and Grant Hill and rookie players like Jaleen Green. One thing that makes it appealing to everyone is its top-notch design, which is the best of the best.

What Makes Panini Court Kings Unique from other Basketball Cards:

  • Think of it as an art more than a collectible product. It is designed to appeal to the eyes more than the player value.
  • It has exciting inclusions and setlists. It comes with Hobby Box and International Blaster Box, which include rookie signatures, memorabilia cards, etc.
  • It ranges from rookie players into four levels, making it more exciting. Apart from rookies, there are base veteran players that make the set more valuable.
  • Compared to other brands, it only has limited prints that make each card valuable in the trading community. Therefore, you will never worry about the market since it is in demand.

Why Choose Panini National Treasure Basketball Cards:

  • If you are after the aesthetic, choose national treasure. It is more of an art collectible than fan merchandise. 
  • It has a unique style that is not reminiscent of any other cards. It is made to stand out from the tight competition of basketball card trading.
  • It is significantly better than the average releases because they come at a low price with excellent market value. Its hobby box costs less than $5000, with Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry top cards.

Panini Select

Panini Select is the best if you are looking for cheap alternatives to the abovementioned Panini basketball cards. The design is reminiscent of the authentic style that the Chromium brand is widely known for. Hence, you can still trust its quality and its player lineup.

What Makes Panini Select Unique from other Basketball Cards:

  • Panini Select is divided into three main categories: Courtside, Premier Level, and Concourse. Each category has different checklists, which makes the box distinct from each other.
  • Each category or section has a different design. It makes the entire Select collection diverse and challenging to complete.

Why Choose Panini Select Basketball Cards:

  • It is cheaper than the rest of the Panini collections. It is perfect for newbies who are just learning the whole dynamics of basketball card trading.
  • Buying it does not pose a considerable risk. Since it is cheaper, it does not come with huge risks. Plus, the checklist is manageable.

Donruss Optic

Like Panini Select, it is best if you are on a budget. You will always get right with it because its design follows the Chromium style. Hence, collectors are familiar with it.

What Makes Donruss Optic Unique from other basketball Cards:

  • You may still find top players like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry.
  • It is way cheaper than other cards. No more explanations, but it is great for new collectors.

Why Choose Donruss Optic Basketball Cards:

  • If you do not want to lose money but are still particular about the design, choose it.
  • If you want to own cards of great importance in the trading community, then choose Donruss Optic.

Our Recommended Individual Basketball CardsOur Recommended Individual Basketball Cards

Individual cards are also an excellent investment because they are guaranteed to be highly coveted in the basketball cards trade community. If you are looking for the best brands, you should source individual cards; the answer is Panini. 

Below are the individual basketball cards you should consider buying.

Evan Mobley [Black Gold Prizm] #325 2021 Panini Prizm

According to SportsCardPro, it is currently the most in-demand card from Prizm. It costs around $35—and is expected to increase gradually. It features black and orange accents, which probably hold so much value. Plus, it is signed by Mobley himself. You may add one of these carts to your cart on eBay.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Although the player is relatively unknown to most basketball fans, it boasts a decent value of $35 on eBay. Therefore, there will be a massive market for the card, and reselling will not be a problem.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • It is an excellent investment since it is listed as the most in-demand card, which means the card value will gradually increase over time.

Scottie Barnes [Zebra Prizm] #223 2021 Panini Select

Another highest rating card, according to the abovementioned website, is Scottie Barnes’ Zebra Prizm. It is the highest demand of their 2021 checklist. Hence it costs a whopping $235. It features premium blue and red accents and Scottie Barnes attempting to dunk.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Although the card is not the top player on the checklist, it costs a whopping $235. It is even listed as the highest demand of the 2021 checklist, which guarantees high marketability and profitability.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • If you are looking for a guaranteed profit, then choose this card. Since it is listed as the highest demand for 2021 Panini Select, you are confident that the market for this product is high.

2009-10 Panini National Treasures Stephen Curry Rookie Logoman Autograph

There are reasons why Stephen Curry has the most expensive basketball cards alone. According to Yahoo! News, this card is privately sold at an auction house for $5.9 million. It is the most expensive basketball card ever sold.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The $5.9 million price is understandable because it was produced during Curry’s rookie years. Since it is a limited item, it has a high market value—which explains its high demand.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • If you want an expensive basketball card with a guaranteed market, choose this. Plus, Stephen Curry is a top player.

Remember, it is better to invest in individual cards because you are guaranteed that the card you will buy is premium and not a waste of money. Below are individual cards that did not make it to the top tier but are equally valuable in the market.

2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78

If Steph Curry’s cards are expensive, you may opt for LeBron James’ cards cost $5.2 million. However, this card is a bit less expensive than Curry’s. According to Yahoo! News, it is the second most expensive basketball card ever sold. 

What Makes it Unique:

  • It features LeBron James’ signature and a photo of his debut year. That is precisely the reason it is in demand.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • Simple, it is one of the most sought-after cards in history. The price will increase over time if you have a copy of it.

2018 Panini National Treasures 1 of 1 Logoman Autograph (Luka Doncic)

Another top-rated basketball card from National Treasures made it to the list; this time, it is Luka Doncic’s $4.6 million basketball card. Although he is relatively new in the league, this card is sold almost the same as the top ones from LeBron and Curry.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Considering that he is still relatively new to the league with high card value, time will tell that he might surpass Steph’s market value. He is just a rare player who can sell a card for millions.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • Buy it now while it may be at its lowest value so far. Again, he just debuted a few years ago, but his price has already reached millions—what more shortly.

1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autographs (Michael Jordan Individual Card)

If the above ones are too expensive, you may buy Michael Jordan’s 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autographs for $2.7 million. Yes, it is expensive, but you will trade it for a higher price because it belongs to the one and only Michael Jordan. 

What Makes it Unique:

  • Michael Jordan is a legend. Since he is already a veteran, this card is a rare item. Securing this one means ensuring value appreciation.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • You will always find it easy to trade, plus its price increases over time. That’s why you need help finding this on retail platforms.

1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems – Green (Kobe Bryant)

Kobe Bryant’s 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autographs are the top 10 expensive photo cards sold to complete the legends. Hence, finding this one is so tricky because of its rarity. 

What Makes it Unique:

  • Similar to Michael Jordan, Kobe is a veteran and a legend. Since he is already out of the league, you will never find another copy of it. 

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card: 

  • If the ones above are too much for you, then Kobe’s legendary green card will be an excellent investment because it is slightly cheaper.

Our Top Basketball Card Packs_Boxes to BuyOur Top Basketball Card Packs/Boxes to Buy

2021-2022 Panini Prism Basketball Hobby Box

The safest way to invest in basketball boxes is to choose the preferred brand. For only $1,199.99, you can pull rookie and star players like Stephen Curry. Any hobby box from Prizm is excellent, but buying the latest one is a great idea for newbie traders.

What Makes it Unique: 

  • Panini Prizm is a trusted brand, plus the price is achievable. Imagine buying the box for only $1,199.99, pulling two autograph cards, ten inserts, and 22 Prizm parallels.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card:

  • It is worth every penny because you have 32 cards to resell. The two autographs alone can sell for more than $1000.

2021-2022 Panini National Treasures Hobby Box

Panini National Treasures is a highly sought-after basketball card brand. The price is a bit pricey because it costs $4,150. Although it is pricey, you will be okay with buying it since it has top players on the checklist, like Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.

What Makes it Unique: 

  • It has 30 autograph cards and 400 base and rookie cards. With this amount of cards, your chances of pulling top players are higher. Thus, you can resell the cards higher than the value of the hobby box itself.

Why Choose this Best Basketball Card:

  • The high price is worth it. If you are a newbie, buying it is a good idea because you will get more cards. It means that you have more to resell.

How to Choose the Best Basketball Cards to BuyHow to Choose the Best Basketball Cards to Buy

Choosing the best basketball card to buy means considering the quality, market value, and design. No matter how good the brand is, it is bound to rank low in the trading community if it lacks any factors. 

  • Quality is the top priority.

Basketball card collectors are very particular about the quality. You can always go right with the quality since people prefer longevity. Usually, the precious ones are those that use rigid materials.

  • Choose the best checklist.

The player lineup is also one of the main factors why players prefer one brand over the other. Simply put, famous players tend to make more noise in the market. Therefore, it does not matter if the price is high as long as the return on investment is worth it.

  • Brand

It is just that some brands like Panini Prizm are more valuable than others in the trading community. Hence, choosing the right brand and pulling the right player card will ensure good cashback.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Basketball Cards to Buy

The best basketball card to buy is the one that fits your budget precisely and the one that has lesser risks. However, you also need to consider the type of card you want to buy. If you are looking for a hobby box, Panini Prizm is the best basketball card for people who have the budget because they have a great players lineup. 

Also, if you want to have a guaranteed profit, then secure a high demand individual card because they are less risky and with high marketability. The best card to buy is anything like the 2009-10 Panini National Treasures Stephen Curry Rookie Logoman Autograph. However, it would be better to start from buying cheap but marketable ones while learning the dynamics of basketball card trading.

If you are looking for a cheaper hobby box, choosing the ones that are not risky would be better, like the Donruss Optic. They are lower in price but with great lineups. Also, Evan Mobley [Black Gold Prizm] #325 2021 Panini Prizm is a great starter for individual basketball cards. 

Once you get the hang of it, that would be the perfect time to push back. But always remember, no matter how good your cards are, you will not lose money if you understand the concept of trading. Invest in understanding market prices and values first before deciding what specific type of card you want to have.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.




Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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