Born in Melbourne, Australia, Kyrie Andrew Irving moved to the United States at the age of two, where he was raised in West Orange, New Jersey. Irving polished his basketball skills as a member of the New Jersey Road Runners AAU team before attending Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey as a freshman and sophomore in high school. Irving later enrolled at The Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey for his junior and senior season of high school, putting himself on the map.
As one of the top recruits in the 2010 class, the 2010 McDonald's All-American enrolled at Duke University, one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the country. A front-runner for the Freshman of the Year, Kyrie Irving's college basketball career was cut short due to an injury and ultimately declared for the 2011 NBA Draft after just 11 games at Duke.
On June 23, 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected 6'2" point guard Kyrie Irving of Duke University as the first overall selection of the 2011 NBA Draft. Irving lived up to the hype, capturing the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year. Irving made four All-Star Game appearances through his first six NBA seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including the 2014 NBA All-Star Game MVP, and captured the 2016 NBA title. After the 2016-17 NBA season, Irving requested a trade and competed on the Boston Celtics for two years before reaching free agency and now contending with the Brooklyn Nets.
Through 599 career NBA games, all as a starter, Kyrie Irving has established himself as one of the most dominant and refined point guards in the league. Now in his 11th NBA season, Irving has compiled seven All-Star Game nods behind a career stat line of 22.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in his remarkable career.
Kyrie's ability to completely take over a basketball game has led to his prominence, and basketball collectors have taken notice. On that note, let's delve into Kyrie Irving's top 10 best rookie cards of all time.
2012 Panini Threads Kyrie Irving Autographs RC #151
Recent sale: $350
Panini America's release of its 2012-13 Panini Threads basketball set stands out by offering on-card rookie autographs printed on wood card stock, Kyrie Irving's autographed rookie card being one of them. 2012-13 Panini Threads allocated 24 packs of five cards offering three autographed cards and one memorabilia card in each hobby box. Kyrie Irving's autographed rookie card is fittingly the first card in the rookie set checklist, as the first player off the board in the 2011 NBA Draft. Irving's signed rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Threads is one of 14 cards to convey a PSA 10. While 54% of Irving's autographed rookie cards from 2012-13 Panini Threads obtained a PSA 10, none of his 26 cards graded by Beckett earned higher than a BGS 9.5.
Kyrie Irving's road to NBA stardom began on the New Jersey Roadrunners AAU team as a teenager. In his first and second year of high school, Irving attended Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 3.6 steals per game. Irving then transferred to The Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey, for his junior and senior seasons. Irving averaged 24.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game as a senior, earning a spot on the 2010 McDonald's All-American team.
2012-13 Panini Threads is an unforgettable basketball release and is a perfect example of Irving's remarkable talents he displayed throughout his high school basketball career, where it endures as one of the best Kyrie Irving rookie cards to collect.
2012 Panini Momentum Kyrie Irving Momentous Rookies Autographs RC #19
Recent sale: $450
Panini initially released its Momentum brand on the gridiron in 2012 Panini Momentum football and later debuted Panini Momentum on the hardcourt for the 2012-13 NBA season. Issued in one pack of 15 cards, collectors can expect five autographed cards in each hobby box, as hobbyists pursue Kyrie Irving's Momentous Rookies Autographs rookie card. Irving's Momentous rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5 for condition and BGS 10 for his bold blue on-card autograph. Although Irving's Momentous Rookies Autographs rookie card isn't serial-numbered, it's one of his most limited rookie cards on the list, featuring a combined PSA and BGS population of 33. Of the 33 cards in PSA and Beckett's population reports, only two copies received a PSA or BGS 10, one from each card grading authentication company. As such, only 6% of Kyrie's Momentous Rookies Autographs rookie cards have conveyed a PSA or BGS 10.
Kyrie Irving was rated as one of the top players of the 2010 class, ranked as the number two point guard and 8th overall player by Rivals, and the number two point guard and 4th overall by Scout. Irving ultimately enrolled at Duke University, playing for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is in his final year coaching the Blue Devils. Through his first eight games on the Blue Devils, Kyrie was a force, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, before the leading candidate for Freshman of the Year suffered a right toe injury, hindering his ability to take the court.
Irving ultimately returned for the Blue Devils in the 2011 NCAA Tournament three months later, though he played his final collegiate game on March 24, 2011, as the Blue Devils lost in the Sweet Sixteen. He showed a lot of promise through just 11 NCAA games, and collectors took notice, as Kyrie Irving's Momentous Rookies Autographs rookie card has increased in value since its release.
2012 Panini Select Kyrie Irving Hot Stars Prizms Green RC #7 #'d/15
Recent sale: $475
Appearing from the same iconic set as Klay Thompson's Hot Rookies Prizms Green rookie card is Kyrie Irving's Hot Stars Prizms Green rookie card. Irving's Hot Stars Prizms Green rookie card is his second most limited rookie card on the list, serial-numbered to only 15 copies. The Hot Stars checklist showcases 25 of the most prominent players in the league from the 2012-13 season, from the late Kobe Bryant to Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Irving's Hot Stars Prizms Green rookie card has a total PSA and BGS population of 11, stressing just one card holding a PSA or BGS 10.
While Kyrie Irving played only 11 college games at Duke University, he showed enough promise to the Cleveland Cavaliers front office, ultimately selected as the number one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Through 51 games in his 2011-12 rookie season, Kyrie recorded 18.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Irving was nearly voted unanimously as the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year, receiving 117 of the 120 first-place votes. The following season, Irving tallied 22.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.5 steals, earning his first nod as a member of the 2012-13 NBA All-Star team.
Kyrie Irving quickly emerged as the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and hobbyists acknowledged his talents, quickly acquiring his Hot Stars Prizms Green rookie card the instant it surfaced.
2012 Panini Prestige Kyrie Irving Prestigious Picks Signatures RC #1
Recent sale: $495
2012-13 Panini Prestige was issued prior to the 2012-13 NBA season, on September 14, 2012, in 24 packs of eight cards. Collectors can expect three autographed cards and one relic in each hobby box to pursue rookie cards from both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 NBA seasons. Kyrie Irving's rookie card is the first card of the Prestigious Picks Signatures checklist, representing one of his most populated rookie cards on the list. Of the 34 cards graded by PSA, Kyrie's Prestigious Picks Signatures rookie card merited a PSA 10 on 21 occasions, while just 16 of 143 cards received a BGS 10.
In the 2013-14 season, Kyrie Irving's points declined slightly to 20.8 points per game, though he increased his assists totals to 6.1 per game. Through 71 starts, Irving recorded seven double-doubles and his first career triple-double. Voted to his second-consecutive All-Star Game, Kyrie Irving took home the 2014 All-Star Game MVP honors behind 31 points, five rebounds, and 15 assists. In the 2014-15 season, LeBron James and Kevin Love signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, establishing the Big Three. Led by point guard Kyrie Irving, the Cavs went 53-29, finishing second in the Eastern Conference and advancing to the 2015 NBA Finals.
While ultimately succumbing to the Warriors in six games, Irving and the Cavs built a dynasty in Cleveland. Running the point for the Cleveland Cavaliers dynasty, he became one of the most prolific players in the league, and Kyrie Irving's Prestigious Picks Signatures rookie card value soared as a byproduct.
2012 Panini Innovation Kyrie Irving Stained Glass Purple RC #63
Recent sale: $505
The inaugural 2012-13 Panini Innovation release contains Kyrie Irving's next most coveted card, emerging from the Stained Glass checklist as a Purple parallel card. The Stained Glass checklist highlights 100 of the top 100 NBA players from the 2012-13 season, including some promising rookies, hence Kyrie Irving's Stained Glass Purple parallel rookie card. Irving's card received a BGS 9.5 for centering, corners, and edges while bearing a BGS 9 for the card's surface, for an overall BGS 9.5. Since its release, only five of Kyrie Irving's Stained Glass Purple parallel cards have been graded by PSA and BGS, and this particular card showcases the card's loftiest grade, along with two other copies.
In the 2015-16 season, Kyrie recorded 19.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 steals en route to aiding the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 57-25 record and securing the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. After defeating the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and Toronto Raptors, the Cavs squared off against the Golden State Warriors in the finals for the second consecutive year. Though this time around, the Cavaliers, who were down 3-1 in the series, prevailed in seven games, bringing the city of Cleveland their first NBA title.
Kyrie was spectacular in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, recording 25.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.7 steals across 21 games and played a significant factor in the Cavaliers' comeback over the Golden State Warriors. The Cavaliers showed resiliency in the 2016 NBA Finals, and the price of Kyrie Irving's 2012-13 Panini Innovation Stained Glass Purple rookie card benefited as a result.
2012 Panini Hoops Kyrie Irving Kobe's All-Rookie Team RC #2 #'d/5
Recent sale: $889
Like 2012-13 Panini Prestige, 2012-13 Panini Hoops included rookies from both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 NBA seasons, featuring 36 packs of eight cards in each hobby box. Basketball card collectors can anticipate two autographed cards per hobby box. However, Kyrie's most valuable card from the set arises from Kobe's All-Rookie Team checklist, playing off Magic's All-Rookie Team set, which features the 10th most valuable Penny Hardaway rookie card we recently covered. Kobe's All-Rookie Team checklist highlights 30 NBA rookies, none more sought-after than Kyrie Irving's rookie card, serial-numbered to only five copies.
Kyrie Irving set a then-career-high 25.2 points, including 3.2 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in the 2016-17 season. Kyrie and the Cavs posted a 51-31 record to finish second in the Eastern Conference. After sweeping the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors, the Cavs knocked off the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, forcing the third consecutive installment of the Cavaliers-Warriors in the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for the Cavs, the Warriors would get the best of them, losing the series 4-1.
Although the Cavs and Warriors would face off in the 2018 NBA Finals for the 4th consecutive season, Kyrie was not a member of the Cavs franchise, as he requested a trade in the offseason. Kyrie had a tremendous six-year run on the Cleveland Cavaliers, earning four All-Star Game nods, three NBA Finals appearances, and winning one NBA title. As Kyrie Irving's Kobe's All-Rookie Team rookie card is his most limited on the entire list, it will forever be one of his most highly sought-after rookie cards for the foreseeable future.
2012 Panini Select Kyrie Irving Autograph Prizms RC #151 #'d/99
Recent sale: $1,000
Irving's subsequent rookie card also arises from 2012-13 Panini Select, this time as his Autograph Prizms rookie card. Kyrie's Autograph Prizms rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5 for condition, and a BGS 10 for his bold blue signature, becoming the first card on the list to surpass four figures. Each card in the Rookie Prizm Autographs checklist is serial-numbered to 199 or less, showcasing Kyrie Irving's rookie card limited to 99 copies. Kyrie's Autograph Prizms rookie card is one his most challenging to locate in a high grade, as just 2% obtained a PSA or BGS 10.
After requesting a trade, Kyrie Irving became a member of the Boston Celtics. Kyrie averaged 24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.1 steals while establishing a then-career-best 49.1% field goal percentage in his first season on the Celtics. Irving led the Celtics to a 55-27 record, good for 2nd best in the Eastern Conference. While the Celtics rolled into the 2018 NBA Playoffs, Irving suffered a setback, ultimately missing the remainder of the 2017-18 season. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics lost to Irving's former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The following year, Irving recorded 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and a career-high 6.9 assists per game. The Celtics finished the 2018-19 season bearing a 49-33 record, earning the 4th seed in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Despite a positive showing from Irving, the Celtics fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The 2018-19 season proved to be Irving's last in Boston, signing with the Brooklyn Nets during free agency. Although he only played two seasons in Boston, Irving was the face of the franchise. As only one of 51 cards meriting a PSA or BGS 10, Kyrie Irving's Autograph Prizms rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Select is memorable and one of the most cherished Kyrie Irving cards.
2012 Panini Prizm Kyrie Irving Prizms RC #201
Recent sale: $1,520
Kyrie Irving's third most valuable rookie card arises from the illustrious 2012-13 Panini Prizm set, issued to collectors on November 28, 2012. 2012-13 Panini Prizm comprises 20 packs of six cards in each hobby box, as collectors pursue rookies from both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 rookie classes. Collectors can expect two Prizms Silver rookie cards in each hobby box, including Kyrie's rookie card from the Prizms Silver checklist. Kyrie's Prizms Silver rookie card is one of his most populated rookie cards, with 51 cards graded by PSA and 107 cards in Beckett's population report. Irving's Prizms Silver rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5, and only 15% merited a higher grade.
In his first season on the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving amassed a career-high 27.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and tallied 6.4 assists for good measure. Unfortunately for Kyrie and the Nets, his season was limited to just 20 games after suffering a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery. Although Irving only amassed 20 games in his first season for the franchise, he provided hope for the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyrie's first season with the Nets may have been brief, though the value of his rookie cards continued to grow, especially his Prizms Silver rookie card from 2012-13 Panini Prizm. To illustrate his impact for the Brooklyn Nets, in the 20 games that Kyrie played, the Brooklyn Nets posted an 8-12 record, and while a small sample size, in those eight victories, Kyrie averaged a remarkable 32.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.
2012 Panini Prizm Kyrie Irving Autographs RC #4
Recent sale: $2,000
Like his Prizms Silver rookie card, Kyrie Irving's second most valuable rookie card arises from 2012-13 Panini Prizm. Irving's most coveted rookie card from the set is his autographed rookie card insert that highlights his sharp blue signature on the face of the card. Irving's 2012-13 Panini Prizm autographed rookie card has a total PSA and BGS population of 243, the most populous rookie card on the list. Despite that fact, only 12% of Irving's autographed rookie warranted a PSA or BGS 10.
In his second season on the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie recorded 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals. Irving's 26.9 points ranked 9th in the league, and his 92.2 free-throw percentage was the 4th highest in the 2020-21 NBA season. Kyrie Irving became the 9th member of the 50-40-90 club in NBA history, depicting players who shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the free-throw line. Irving and the Brooklyn Nets posted a 48-24 record to earn the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, eventually falling to the soon-to-be NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Irving's performance in the 2020-21 NBA season earned him his 7th All-Star Game selection and showcased his ability to navigate the franchise to be the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference. As such, his autographed rookie card from the 2012-13 Panini Prizm set proceeds to be one of his most coveted rookie cards of all time.
2012 Panini National Treasures Kyrie Irving Autographed Memorabilia RC #101 #'d/199
Recent sale: $6,350
One of the most memorable basketball card releases in the past decade is 2012-13 Panini National Treasures that fittingly comprises Kyrie Irving's most valuable rookie card. 2012-13 Panini National Treasures contains one pack of 10 cards, as collectors anticipate nine autographed, memorabilia, or printing plates in each hobby box and one base card. Each card in 2012-13 Panini National Treasures is serial-numbered, including the base cards, featuring Kyrie Irving's Autographed Memorabilia rookie card serial-numbered to 199 copies. Of the 164 cards graded by PSA and BGS, less than 1% of Kyrie Irving's Autographed Memorabilia rookie card from 2012-13 Panini National Treasures merited a PSA or BGS 10. Graded a BGS 9.5, this is one of the finest examples of Kyrie Irving's RPA, with a single card graded higher, meriting a PSA 10.
Kyrie Irving's third season on the Brooklyn Nets has been quite the roller coaster due to vaccine mandates in New York City. Initially unable to compete or even practice with the team, Irving eventually became a part-time player with the Nets, partaking in only away games. Kyrie Irving made his 2021-22 NBA season debut on January 5, 2022, immediately impacting the Nets. Through his first 17 games, Irving is averaging 26.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, capped by a remarkable 50-point performance on just 15 of 19 shooting on March 8, 2022.
The Brooklyn Nets are currently 33-33, holding the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. In order to make a deep run in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Kyrie Irving will have to be on the court. If Irving can only compete for the franchise on the road, the Brooklyn Nets season may experience an early exit. If vaccine mandates in New York City are lifted, and Kyrie Irving can steer Nets through the Eastern Conference in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the value of his 2012-13 Panini National Treasures RPA rookie card will skyrocket.
The Inherent Value of Kyrie Irving's Rookie Cards
The worth of Kyrie Irving's rookie cards from the 2012-13 season has soared since immediately becoming one of the most dominant point guards in the league as a rookie. Now competing for his third NBA franchise, Kyrie Irving's desire to win his second NBA title hinders on his clearance to compete for the Brooklyn Nets on an everyday basis. Should the Brooklyn Nets, currently the favorite in the Eastern Conference with +600 odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals, make a deep postseason run, Kyrie Irving's rookie cards will reach astronomical levels.