Does Sorare basketball exists?
Sorare NBA is not available yet, however many statements made from the team and Nicolas Julia make us think it won’t last before we see our favorite basketball players on Sorare. For the moment you can only play soccer on Sorare. Serena Williams has just joined the Sorare Advisory Board, we should also see tennis coming to Sorare! Sign up now!
Let’s dig into the history of some of the most famous NBA trading cards. Join Sorare now and win a free card thanks to the partnership between Sorare and Sorare Academy
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NBA trading cards history
Just a few decades ago, no company offered NBA cards or basketball cards in general - not even industry giant Topps.
In 1986, the Fleer Company launched the rookie card* of one ... Michael Jordan. As Jordan's career on the court reached new heights and soared into the stratosphere, so did the value of his rookie card.
1986 Fleer Company Michael Jordan Rookie Card 1986 - Michael Jordan - The Fleer Company.
Basketball card collectors began to reevaluate the long-forgotten purely financial aspect of cards. There was a great demand for new card products related to basketball. In addition, the trade in old (vintage) cards was making a comeback.
*Reminder: In basketball, a rookie is a player in his first professional year. Join Sorare now and win a free card thanks to the partnership between Sorare and Sorare Academy
NBA cards: the old years
The first NBA cards date back to the legendary Sport Kings series of 1933, a multi-sport set made by Goudey Gum. The set featured four basketball players of the time: Eddie Burke, Nat Holman, Joe Lapchick and Ed Wachter. Sign up now!
It would be 15 years before another basketball card set was released. And it was in 1948 that Bowman produced his first and only hard card set. This set contains one of the most valuable basketball cards, George Mikan's rookie card.
A 72 card color set that includes 5 more Hall of Fame** players. Bowman's '48 set is a holy grail for many collectors. It also marks the beginning of a period of scarcity.
After 9 years of no basketball cards, the Topps Gum Company released its first set in 1957. The set of 80 cards included many Hall of Fame players. Despite the inclusion of Bill Russell's rookie card, the lack of popularity of basketball as a whole caused Topps to quickly exit the market, not returning until the 1969-1970 season. Nine years of absence, a new set of cards ... and another 12 years without anything. Well, not quite.
The Fleer company: the return
To fill the void during those years, The Fleer Company repositioned itself in the NBA card market. The goal was to fill the void left by Topps after its one-shot. During the 1961-1962 season, they released a 66-card set that introduced the American public to cards of legendary players such as Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Lenny Wilkins and Jerry West. These pioneers revolutionized the game by helping the league grow and giving its fans the boost they needed. This laid the foundation for the NBA as we know it today. Read ou article about Sorare NFT.
The year Topps returned to the market marked the beginning of the true modern era of basketball cards. And with it, the production of one of the most legendary cars of all time. It is the rookie card of Lew Alcindor. Alcindor would later change his name to Karim Abdul-Jabbar and become the NBA's all-time leading scorer. He also went on to win six NBA championship rings. The 1969-1970 Topps series was unique for its rectangular design, which US collectors nicknamed "tall-boys."
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Bird, Magic and Jordan enter the picture
Topps was the exclusive manufacturer of basketball cards with professional licenses in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was the 1980-1981 series that influenced the future collecting of the basketball card genre. In that year, Topps used multiple players on one card, with a horizontal layout and perforations between players.
One of these cards featured 3 players, including 2 rookies from college rivals, future legends, and now Hall of Fame members Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The 3rd player on the card was also not to be outdone, as it was Julius "Dr. J" Erving. This card is one of the most sought after NBA cards in the world.
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Due to the nature of the perforated format, many kids have separated the cards. It is a difficult challenge to find the cards intact, but it pays to have them "graded" (good quality).
The following year, the last Topps basketball product appeared for the next 11 years. It cannot be said that they were faithful to the genre. During this period, many new companies entered the market or came back. Most notably, the Hoops, Fleer, Star and Upper Deck companies. Due to the absence of the iconic trading card company, Topps missed the opportunity to produce a rookie card of the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. Although both Star and Fleer produced rookie cards of Michael Jordan, it is ultimately the 1986-87 Fleer card that is considered the ultimate and most sought after rookie card.
LeBron James ushers in a new era
While Michael Jordan was reviving the basketball trading card hobby, there was another major catalyst that took things to the next level. The NBA had an increasingly media- and Internet-savvy fan base. Demand for cards of the top-selling NBA superstars grew as international trade became easier. In 2003, the rookie class was one of the most talented ever to enter the league. Led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Boch. It was the perfect opportunity to get to the next level.
Upper Deck conquers the NBA card market
The trio of young superstars (Lebron, Wade and Carmelo) inspired the creation of the industry's first truly premium product. It was the Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball 2003-04 series. It hit the shelves at a price of $500 per pack. This was made possible by the small print run and the abundance of high-quality rookie cards. Many included autographs and jersey patches. There was also a lot of speculation about the potential of the draft class itself.
LeBron James was a source of hype, attention and speculation for several years before the draft was released. When LeBron James' licensed NBA rookie cards came out, all collectors were eager to get their hands on them. These elements combined to create the perfect media storm for this revolutionary new product. Since then, there has been no looking back. The sport itself has grown in popularity and the NBA has proven to be very talented at marketing its superstars.
A new all-time high:
Collector's ticket prices continue to skyrocket. Every month or so, a new record is set. In March, the most expensive basketball trading card sold was a rookie card of Giannis Antetokounmpo for $1.812 million. The record was pulverized by a rookie card Logoman National Treasures of Luka Doncic from the 2018-19 season, signed by the player (and therefore bearing the NBA logo from a jersey of the Slovenian). It had been purchased in early March for $4.6 million. Then, by the end of April, the record had fallen again, as an Upper Deck Exquisite card of LeBron James from 2003-04 (with a piece of the jersey worn by the King) had sold for $5.2 million! It was easily the most expensive sports card in history, on par with Mickey Mantle's baseball card.
But a Steph Curry rookie logoman signed by the Warrior and featuring a piece of the jersey just sold for $5.9 million, a new record for a sports card! It is the Alt Funds, an investment group managed by Alt, that bought this card and that had already bought LeBron James' card... Alt owns about 10,000 cards whose total value would exceed $50 million.