Klay Alexander Thompson's basketball career originated at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. There, Klay Thompson molded his shooting prowess and polished his game, leading the Santa Margarita Eagles to a state championship. Ranked by ESPN as the 53rd prospect of the 2008 class, Klay Thompson enrolled at Washington State University.
Throughout his three seasons at Washington State, Klay Thompson evolved into one of the finest players in program history, tallying the third-most points in school history and the most points scored in a single season as a senior. At Washington State, Klay Thompson was twice honored to the All-Pac-10 First Team. As a result of his playing abilities, the Washington State Cougars ultimately retired Klay's number one jersey.
After his junior season at Washington State, Klay declared for the 2011 NBA Draft, becoming the second-highest draft pick in Washington State University history, selected 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors. Spending the majority of his rookie season as a reserve, Klay still managed to earn a spot on the 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team and received the 6th most votes for Rookie of the Year.
Since his second NBA season, Klay has become a staple in the Golden State Warriors' starting lineup and a significant reason why the franchise has thrived. Klay Thompson guided the Warriors to five consecutive NBA Finals through his first eight NBA seasons, including three NBA titles. He's also been elected to five All-Star Games, a two-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, and earned a nod to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
Klay Thompson is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the league and played a significant factor in the Golden State Warriors dynasty from the 2014-15 season to the 2018-19 season. If it weren't for Klay's two injury-riddled seasons, where he sat out the entire 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA seasons, his accomplishments would be even more impressive.
Despite his injuries in recent years, Klay Thompson's rookie cards have soared. Having said that, the following are Klay Thompson's top 10 rookie cards.
2012 Panini Elite Klay Thompson Rookie Inscriptions RC #80
Recent sale: $1,499
2012-13 Panini Elite basketball is a 300-card set that comprises 200 base cards featuring NBA veterans and 100 rookie cards. 2012-13 Panini Elite basketball was issued on February 20, 2013, in 20 packs of five cards and remains an unforgettable product as each rookie card in the set is autographed and printed on acetate card stock. Collectors can expect three autographed cards, one memorabilia card, and two short-printed rookie cards in each hobby box, as hobbyists pursue the highly desired Rookie Inscriptions Autographs cards. One of the most desirable Rookie Inscriptions Autographs cards belongs to Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. Graded a BGS 10 for condition and BGS 9 for Thompson's blue-penned autograph, this is one of the finest examples of Klay's Rookie Inscriptions Autographs card, with just 3% graded higher, which attained a BGS 10 Black Label.
Klay Thompson attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, guiding the Eagles to a 30-5 record and a Division III state championship in his senior year. Thompson recorded 37 points, including a record-breaking seven three-pointers in the state championship. For his efforts, Thompson earned the Division III Player of the Year, league MVP, and was honored to the EA Sports Second Team All-American.
Klay Thompson was known for his shooting prowess from early in his basketball career, which was on full display in the Division III state championship game. Considered the 45th best recruit from Scout and 51st from Rivals, Klay Thompson committed to the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12 Conference on October 1, 2007. As one of his most valuable rookie cards, Klay Thompson's Rookie Inscriptions Autographs is a distinct and phenomenal basketball card to have in your collection.
2012 Panini Marquee Klay Thompson RC #403
Recent sale: $1,692
2012-13 Panini Marquee basketball is configured in 20 packs of eight cards, offering five distinct rookie card checklists, dubbed Swirlorama Group, Black Holoboard Group II, Laser Cut Group III, Leather Group IV, and White PETG Group V. Each hobby box consists of three autographed cards, and 35 rookies. Klay Thompson's rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Marquee emerges from the Leather Group IV checklist, showcasing 70 NBA rookies. Combining the 28 cards in PSA and BGS' population reports, Thompson's rookie card from the Leather Group IV checklist earned a BGS 10 Black Label, the only card to achieve the ultimate grade.
Across three years at Washington State University, Klay Thompson averaged 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and knocked down 2.5 three-pointers per game. Klay was honored to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, two-time All-Pac-12, and the 2011 All-Pac-12 Tournament team. Klay's 1,756 career points are the third-most in school history, and his 733 points scored in his 2010-11 senior year are the most for a single season in Washington State University history. Klay also recorded 43 points two times, ranking 3rd for a single game in school history.
On top of his individual accolades at WSU, Thompson also represented Team USA at the 2009 FIBA U-19 World Championships in New Zealand, recording 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, while shooting 51.6% from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson's rookie card from the Leather Group IV of 2012-13 Panini Marquee will continue to soar, as it's the only card on the list to be in sole possession of his highest-graded rookie card.
2012 Panini Contenders Klay Thompson Autographs RC #271
Recent sale: $1,888
2012-13 Panini Contenders was issued on December 28, 2012, showcasing four autographed cards in each hobby box, three of which highlight NBA rookies. Panini configured the set in 20 packs of five cards and well suits collectors seeking autographed and rookie cards. Klay Thompson's card derived from the Rookie Autographs checklist, showcasing 100 NBA rookies, and is graded a PSA 10, featuring his black-penned autograph. Collectors have warranted a PSA or BGS 10 for Klay's Rookie Autographs card at a 29% clip, this card included.
After three impressive years at Washington State, Klay Thompson declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. On June 23, 2011, the Golden State Warriors selected Klay Thompson as the 11th overall pick in the draft. Klay made his NBA debut on December 25, 2011, logging just 19 minutes of action, and recorded seven points, three rebounds, and one assist. In his first 30 career games, Klay came off the bench all but just one time, averaging 7.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. After the All-Star break, Klay started in 28 of 36 games, tallying 17.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.
Klay was nominated to the 2011-12 All-Rookie team and finished 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting. Considering his 2nd half of the season's stats as a starter, Klay would have been in contention for Rookie of the Year honors if he had started each game for the Warriors. Thompson's rookie season was a tremendous success, and the value of his Rookie Autographs card from 2012-13 Panini Contenders verifies its four-figure price tag.
2012 Panini Select Klay Thompson Hot Rookies Prizms Green RC #35 #'d/15
Recent sale: $2,307
2012-13 Panini Select marks the debut of the Select brand in the realm of basketball cards. The premium product contains 14 packs in each hobby box, divided among two mini boxes of seven packs. Each pack is fixed with six cards, totaling 84 cards in each hobby box. Klay Thompson's rookie card derives from the Hot Rookies checklist showcasing 50 incoming NBA rookies. The first serial-numbered Klay Thompson rookie card on the list, Klay's Hot Rookies Prizms Green rookie card is limited to merely 15 copies. To date, 11 of the 15 cards have been analyzed by PSA or BGS, with one card obtaining a PSA 10 and four receiving a BGS 10.
After his remarkable rookie season, especially as a starter in the 2nd half of the season, Klay Thompson became a staple for the Golden State Warriors, starting in all 82 games in his sophomore campaign. Klay Thompson led the Warriors to a 47-35 record, behind 16.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Klay averaged a stunning 2.6 three-pointers per game, good for 3rd most in the league with 211, as teammate Steph Curry paved the way, tallying 272.
One of Klay's best performances in his second season came on January 29, 2013, where he set a new-career high 32 points on 13 of 24 shooting, including 6 of 8 beyond the three-point line. As the lone copy to merit a PSA 10, Klay Thompson's Hot Rookies Prizms Green rookie card is one of the sharpshooter's best cards to collect.
2012 Panini Select Klay Thompson Prizms Gold RC #246 #'d/10
Recent sale: $3,240
Also emerging from 2012-13 Panini Select is Klay Thompson's Prizms Gold rookie patch autograph card, serial-numbered to 10 copies, his most limited rookie card on the list. Klay's Prizms Gold RPA arises from the Rookie jersey Autographs checklist, graded a BGS 9 for condition and BGS 10 for his black-penned autograph. Thompson's RPA is also his only card on the list with no PSA or BGS 10 featured in either grading company's population reports. As such, this particular card of Klay's Prizms Gold rookie card illustrates his highest-graded copy.
Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors went 51-31 in the 2013-14 NBA season, finishing 6th in the Western Conference. Thompson once again started in every game in the 2013-14 season, sitting out just one game. Across 81 games, Thompson recorded 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per contest. Klay set a new career-high in three-pointers, averaging 2.8 per game, finishing with 223 three-pointers, just behind Stephen Curry, who drained 261. Not only was Klay averaging more three-pointers, but his efficiency also improved, averaging 41.7% from beyond the arc.
In the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Thompson played well, averaging 16.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, but it turned out not to be enough against the Los Angeles Clippers, losing the series seven games. At this point, Thompson and the Warriors have yet to make a deep run in the playoffs, but that would soon change. As the most limited Klay Thompson rookie card on the list, one can expect to yield a considerable sum should Klay's Prizms Gold RPA from 2012-13 Panini Select surface on the secondary market.
2012 Panini Immaculate Collection Klay Thompson Autographed Memorabilia RC #180 #'d/99
Recent sale: $4,550
Klay Thompson's Autographed Memorabilia rookie card is the first of three cards on the list from the 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection. Thompson's Autographed Memorabilia rookie card is remarkable, as the image of Thompson showcases the Golden State Warriors' iconic blue and golden yellow, and Klay's patch matches the uniform from the photograph. Serial-numbered to 99 copies, Klay's Autographed Memorabilia rookie card is one of his most condition-sensitive on the list, as only 11% of cards obtained a PSA or BGS 10. While six of 12 cards earned a PSA 10, none of the 42 cards analyzed by Beckett deserved anything higher than a BGS 9.5.
Across 77 regular-season games in the 2014-15 NBA season, Klay set a new career-high in points (21.7), assists (2.9), steals (1.1), blocked shots (0.8), three-pointers (3.1), three-point percentage (43.9%), and free-throw percentage (87.9%). As a result, Klay earned his first All-Star Game appearance. In the 2015 NBA Playoffs, Thompson and the Warriors captured the NBA title, bringing the first NBA championship to the city in 40 years.
Klay Thompson's 2014-15 season was unprecedented, finishing second in the league in three-pointers with 239, yet again behind teammate Steph Curry. Considering Klay's Autographed Memorabilia card from 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection fetched four figures while warranting a BGS 9, one can only assume the value of his RPA should a PSA or BGS 10 materialize.
2012 Panini Immaculate Collection Klay Thompson Patch Autographs RC #AP-KT #'d/100
Recent sale: $5,200
Encountering back-to-back cards from 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection, Klay Thompson's Rookie Patch Autograph from the set is limited to 100 copies. Like his Autographed Memorabilia card, the front of Klay's RPA presents his vivid blue autograph and the Warrior's signature blue and golden yellow uniform. Thompson's RPA is the least condition-sensitive rookie card on the list, with 41 of 47 cards meriting a PSA 10. Though, Beckett's population report presents a different story, as none of the 29 cards earned a BGS 10, with 12 cards receiving a BGS 9.5.
Thompson continued playing like an NBA All-Star in 2015-16, registering 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists en route to his second-consecutive appearance as a reserve. Klay also went on to win the 2016 NBA All-Star Game Three-Point Contest. In the 2016 NBA Playoffs, Klay guided to Warriors to a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals behind 24.3 points, averaging a ridiculous 4.1 three-pointers per game. However, LeBron James and the Cavaliers came back in shocking fashion to dethrone the Warriors. However, the following season, Klay and the Warriors would get vengeance. In the 2016-17 NBA season, Klay earned his third-consecutive All-Star Game nod as a reserve, behind a career-high 22.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
In the 2017 NBA Playoffs, Klay and the Warriors were dominant, sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and then the San Antonio Spurs, before defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the NBA Finals. After earning his third-consecutive All-Star Game, and 2nd NBA ring, Klay solidified himself as one of the best players in the league, cementing the significance of his Rookie Patch Autograph card from 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection.
2012 Panini National Treasures Klay Thompson Autographed Memorbilia RC #110 #'d/199
Recent sale: $9,200
Klay Thompson's third most valuable rookie card stems from 2012-13 Panini National Treasures, one of the most coveted basketball sets of all time. This limited Klay Thompson Rookie Patch Autograph is serial-numbered to 199 and one of his most condition-sensitive rookie cards. Klay's RPA is graded a BGS 9.5 for condition and a BGS 9 for his near-perfect bright blue autograph. Considering the 18 cards in PSA's population report and the 168 cards graded by Beckett, only one card earned a PSA or BGS 10.
Thompson and the Warriors compiled a 58-24 record, good for the second seed in the Western Conference. After defeating the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference First Round, the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference Semifinals, and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors had a rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals, marking the fourth consecutive NBA Finals between the two franchises. The Cavaliers only defeated the Warriors in 2018, while the Warriors won the NBA title in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
Thompson recorded 20.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in the 2017-18 regular season, and 19.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Through his first seven NBA seasons, Klay Thompson amassed three NBA titles to his resume, cementing his place as one of the league's most prominent players and the value of his Rookie Patch Autograph card from the historic release of 2012-13 Panini National Treasures.
2012 Panini Immaculate Collection Klay Thompson Premium Patches Autographs RC #PP-KT #'d/75
Recent sale: $10,000
Klay Thompson's Premium Patches Autographs rookie card is his most valuable card from 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection and also his second most valuable rookie card in existence. The Immaculate Premium Patches checklist is one of the most illustrious checklists of the set, as Klay Thompson's Premium Patches Autographs rookie card is limited to 75 copies. Holding an overall PSA and BGS population of 48, only 8% of Klay's Premium Patches Autographs rookie card warranted a PSA or BGS 10. Graded a BGS 9.5, this is one of 28 copies to merit a BGS 9.5, the highest awarded grade from Beckett for Klay's Premium Patches Autographs rookie card.
The Golden State Warriors cruised to a 57-25 record in the 2018-19 NBA season, earning the number one seed in the Western Conference. Klay and the Warriors then advanced past the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Portland Trail Blazers, earning their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. However, the 2019 NBA Finals didn't go as planned, as Klay Thompson suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the series, and the Toronto Raptors ultimately defeated the Warriors.
Although the Warriors succumbed to the Toronto Raptors, their five-year dynasty was a remarkable run, as they made five straight NBA Finals appearances, capturing three NBA titles. As for Klay, he earned his fifth straight nod to the All-Star Game, solidifying him as one of the most electric players in the league. As Klay's resume persisted, his 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Collection Premium Patches Autographs rookie card unfailingly fetches five figures.
2012 Panini Prizm Klay Thompson Prizms Green RC #203
Recent sale: $12,300
Often viewed as Panini's most prominent basketball card release, 2012-13 Panini Prizm is home to Klay Thompson's most valuable rookie card. Klay's rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Prizm arises from the base set checklist as a Prizms Green parallel card. Although not autographed nor serial-numbered, the population of Klay's Prizms Green rookie card has remained low, with a total PSA and BGS population of 39. Only five of Klay's Prizms Green rookie cards have warranted a PSA or BGS 10, all of which were graded by PSA.
Klay Thompson had a long road to recovery after suffering an ACL tear in his left knee in the 2019 NBA Finals, forcing him to sit out the 2019-20 NBA season. After successful surgery and rehabilitation on his ACL, Klay unfortunately ruptured his Achilles tendon in a pickup basketball game, forcing him to also sit out the 2020-21 NBA season. After tearing his ACL on June 13, 2019, Klay didn't compete in an NBA game until January 9, 2022. Though, Klay was able to pick up where he left off, as he's averaging 16.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists in his first 19 games of the 2021-22 NBA season.
Now at age 31, Klay Thompson and the Warriors are sitting pretty in the Western Conference behind a 43-21 record, holding the third overall seed if the playoffs began today. Should the Warriors (+450), who are tied with the Phoenix Suns for the best odds to win the 2022 NBA title, make a deep run in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Klay Thompson's comeback season will officially be complete, cementing the inherent value of his Prizms Green rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Prizm, one of the most sought-after basketball sets in recent memory.
Klay Thompson's Legacy and Comeback Player of the Year
Klay Thompson's individual accolades are remarkable, especially his knack for three-point shooting. Through eight full NBA seasons and a portion of the 2021-22 season, Klay Thompson has drained 1,851 three-pointers, the 18th most in NBA history. If you thought that was impressive, Klay's 2.9 three-pointers made per game rank 5th all-time, with teammate Steph Curry leading the way with 3.8 per game.
Klay Thompson is viewed as one of the greatest three-point shooters of all time, and as a result of his shooting prowess, the inherent value of Klay Thompson's rookie cards has remained at an astronomical level. If Klay can remain healthy and steer the Warriors back to the promised land after weathering two seasons off the court, the value of Klay Thompson's will be unparalleled.