Kobe Bryant Cards: Collection, Guide, and Buying/Selling Tips
The tragic death of Kobe Bryant in 2020 marked the end of an era for one of the greatest basketball players in history. As a shooting guard, he won five NBA championships and was twice named Finals MVP during his 20-year career. The 18 All-Star appearances Bryant had ranked second in the NBA only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 19 all-star appearances. One of the most valuable collectible cards in the hobby is Kobe’s. He is something special and represents world sport perfectly. From an investment perspective, what are some of the top Kobe Bryant cards?
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant square off on Kobe’s card from 2008 Topps Chrome. Any serious card collector would find this a fascinating prospect because of the combined star power. An Orange Refractor, one of 499 numbered parallels. While it isn’t an RC, some of the top Kobe Bryant cards have become a great alternative recently, especially for high grades.
Kobe’s greatness can be best appreciated by him alone. The Row 0 card is the most popular of all the parallels in the 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection. Bryant, wearing a yellow and purple Lakers jersey, is shown on the front of the shirt and has an interesting design. Unlike his Topps Chrome rookie card, it’s a true rookie card from 1996. On the reverse, the third image of Kobe can be found alongside the serial number in large font.
A limited-edition Kobe card is part of the 2015 Immaculate Collection set. He penned a poem entitled ‘Dear Basketball’ for the Milestones subset, commemorating his impending retirement. At the time, Kobe will give his all this season at a press conference. Despite a massive auto at the base, graded versions will cost more than an organ transplant for owners.
Michael Jordan comes to mind when speaking of Kobe and his career. The SP Authentic 2001 card features them together for the benefit of collectors. Dual autograph that can only hold a tiny image of each player. This is a must-have for any ultra-high-end collector. Instead, most of the card is dedicated to large on-card autos. There are only 50 copies of this Jordan/Kobe auto, so demand far exceeds supply, as was the case with Kobe/LeBron.