Now that the new year is upon us, you may be asking yourself “what are the best basketball cards to invest in for 2021?” While the answer to that question can only be revealed by the hands of time, we’d like to throw a few options out there for your consideration.
With so many players to choose from it’s hard to decide where to even start. That’s why we’re breaking our list down into 3 categories: Retired players, active players, and rookies. As you can imagine the retired players will all be NBA legends who are in (or will soon be in) the Hall of Fame. The active players list is a bit broader with veterans and newcomers alike. Meanwhile, the rookie category is self-explanatory (or at least we hope so!).
So without further ado, let’s take a look at our favorite basketball card investment options for 2021!
See which of the following players also made our Most Expensive Rookie Card of All Time List!
Best Basketball Cards To Invest In 2021 Hot List
Luka Doncic (Find Bargain on eBay)
This is our moderate risk investment of the active player group. We only say moderate risk because of his relatively short resume compared to some of the league’s stalwarts (like the guy coming up next). However, in just over 2 seasons in the league Doncic has already established himself as a dominant force that is more than capable of hauling in the MVP. If healthy all season, Doncic will reach a new level among the league’s elite players. Add a deep playoff run or MVP to the equation and your investment will be sitting prettier than an unguarded Doncic behind the 3-point arc.
Lebron James (Buy on eBay)
The still-dominant NBA legend HAS to be on the list because he’s by far the safest investment among active players. He could hang it up right now and be considered the best of all time by many fans and pundits alike (calm down MJ fans your guy is coming shortly). If you’re looking for an investment that’ll stand the test of time, this is it.
Zion Williamson (Buy on eBay)
Easily the highest risk on our activate players list. But remember: with high risk comes the potential for even higher rewards. Zion had his rookie season cut short due to injury so his true potential will finally be revealed (and on full display) by year’s end. While his performance has been consistently good so far, we can’t help but think there’s another gear that’s still yet to come. If there is, WATCH OUT.
Best NBA Rookie Cards To Invest In 2020-21
LaMelo Ball (Buy on eBay)
You knew that was coming. Believe it or not, the ultra-hyped Ball is living up to the lofty expectations. His all-around impressive early performance has him running away with the Rookie of the Year honors (as far as Vegas is concerned). Watch for his play to only get better as he settles in. If he does end up bringing home the expected ROY honors, a LaMelo Ball rookie card could prove to be one of the best investments you made in 2021.
Tyrese Maxey (Buy on eBay)
Tyrese Maxey doesn’t have come with the hype or instant star power like LaMelo, but he sure has looked good. As we said in our Tyrese Maxey rookie card review, the 76er’s first-round pick has seized a golden opportunity presented by a thinned-out roster. The way he’s playing we’d expect the opportunities to continue even after the team gets healthy. While not many saw it coming, Maxey could be challenging Ball for that coveted ROY award by season’s end.
Payton Pritchard (Buy on eBay)
The 23-year-old rookie has 4 years old college play under his belt and it shows. So far he’s been everything the Celtics could have asked for in their first-round pick. But the Celtics haven’t played in a bit so the Payton Pritchard Hype Train has had some time to cool down. Meaning now could be a perfect time to buy one of his rookie cards before that train is inevitable up and running once again. And once it gets up to full speed? You should be a very happy investor. ALLL ABBOOAAARDDD!
Best Basketball Cards To Invest in 2021 (Retired Legends)
Michael Jordan (Buy on eBay)
Regardless of what year it is, the best player of all time needs to be on your radar. Period. Think of MJ as the DIA or SPY of the basketball card investment market. He’s not going anywhere. If you’re thinking about wrapping up big long term money in one card or player, this is your man. LeBron too. Let the debate live on!
Kobe Bryant (Find Bargain on eBay)
He may be gone, but the Mamba’s memory will live on. Sure, as expected the Kobe Bryant card market saw a pop last year but by no means is it a bubble. He’s one of a handful of players that can be placed on the GOAT list and is an absolute legend of the game. Just like Jordan, great long-term option.
Paul Pierce (Buy on eBay)
We move from amazing long term plays to something more immediate. Regarded as one of the most underrated players of his generation, Paul Pierce is the headliner of the 2021 Hall of Fame class. Therefore, a nice pop in the value of his cards seems like a reasonable expectation as Paul comes closer to becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Of course, there may be a pullback if he doesn’t close the deal on his first try. We see that as unlikely, however.
He’s didn’t quite make this list, but we can’t help but show some love to Shaquille! Check out our Shaq Rookie Card Investment Guide!
Best Basketball Card Boxes To Invest In 2021
Panini Prizm (Find Bargain on eBay)
Both the 2020-21 Panini Prizm Draft Picks and 2020-21 Panini Prizm Basketball flagship sets will once again be investments you can bank on. The Draft Picks set offers an early look at cards from just about every high profile 2021 rookie you can think of. Meanwhile, the regular set will offer all of your favorite players and some of the first photos of those rookies wearing their NBA gear. The former is already on the shelves but the latter isn’t expected until the spring. The wait is excruciating.
National Treasures (Order on eBay)
Just like Panini Prizm, National Treasures has the early release rookie market covered along with a top tier regular set. Both of which are even more exciting than all of the National Treasures Movies combined. Sorry, Nicolas Cage but it’s true. At any rate, both collections are always among the most sought after sets of basketball cards year in year out. This year will be no different. Unfortunately, it be a while before we see the regular National Treasures set due to the delayed season. However, that should just make it all the better when it does arrive!