Top 23 Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards
The manifestation of the late Kobe Bryant was prominently influential both on-and-off the court. Whether you follow basketball or not, Kobe Bryant is a name that will always carry significance. His intense passion for winning led to countless feats throughout his 20-year career, including:
- 5-time NBA Champion
- 18-time NBA All-Star
- 15-time member of the All-NBA-Team
- 12-time member of the All-Defensive-Team
- 2008 Most Valuable Player
- Two-time NBA Finals MVP
- Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist
- Currently NBA's 4th all-time scoring leader
His accomplishments on the court remain awe-inspiring, but the achievements off the court are noteworthy. Some of the world's biggest brands endorsed Kobe Bryant, including Nike, McDonald's, and Sprite. Bryant was a stakeholder in several business ventures, including BodyArmor, Art of Sport, and HouseCanary. Kobe invested $6 million in BodyArmor, which today is worth more than $200 million. Kobe also founded a personal care brand called Art of Sport, which is a unisex body and skincare line marketed towards athletes. Art of Sport utilizes data collected from athletes and expert scientists to ensure their products genuinely work, all while featuring natural ingredients. What is more, Kobe launched a venture capital firm called Bryant Stibel, which works with companies to reveal their teams' value and sustain long-term growth.
While his net-worth skyrocketed, he continued giving back to the community. Kobe created the Mamba Sports Academy to educate and empower future generations of athletes. He also began the Kobe Bryant China Fund, which served to donate to those less fortunate with the aid of the Chinese government. The fund was also significant in the United States because it endorsed cultural activities, including Mandarin education and Chinese cuisine classes. Kobe Bryant is the reason why basketball grew exponentially in China, as it drew in a $4 billion market for the NBA. Roughly 800 million people watch no less than one NBA game each year, which is more than the entire United States population.
Kobe Bryant is also the first athlete to win an Academy Award for his 2017 animated short film "Dear Basketball." Kobe Bryant's Academy Award as executive producer was the ultimate fulfillment on his extensive list of attainments. "Dear Basketball" was Kobe Bryant's way of summing up the game of basketball. Kobe Bryant played his last game on April 13th, 2016.
While painful to explain and unmanageable to understand, the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna's were cut short earlier this year in a helicopter accident. The sports world came to a standstill when the news surfaced. However, it became clear that the influence Kobe had on society will remain forever intact. The life of Kobe Bryant was unprecedented; for this reason, Mamba Day, which will now be on August 24th, consisting of Kobe's two numbers throughout his NBA career, 8 and 24, will be the day we pay homage the life of Kobe Bryant.
Sports hobbyists have been drawn to Kobe Bryant cards since he entered the NBA at age 17, and they are more sought-after now than ever. As Kobe Bryant's Hall of Fame induction is approaching, the demand for his rookie cards will continue to rise. Because of the impression Kobe had on society, it should be highlighted that 9 of his rookie cards were sold on the day of his passing, many of which set new highs. The following is an in-depth list of the top 23 most valuable Kobe Bryant rookie cards.
1996 Flair Showcase Kobe Bryant Row 0 #31
Recent sale: $1,781
The 1996-97 Flair Showcase Basketball set took sports cards to brand-new heights. This series was slightly unconventional as there are numerous variations of the set that one could collect, which has influenced its popularity. Row 0 is the most limited of the series, which has also elevated the value of this card. There were only 150 of the Legacy Collection produced, so they are slightly tough to obtain, especially in top condition.
The 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy showcases a headshot of Kobe on the bottom right-hand corner of the card, with an action shot above with Kobe appearing to dish the ball versus the Philadelphia 76ers. The graininess of Kobe in the background yields attention to his headshot. Philadelphia is Kobe's hometown, as he lived there until the age of 6, before moving to Rieti, Italy, so his father could proceed to play professional basketball. Kobe would later move back to Philadelphia at the age of 13.
There have been 468 cards submitted to PSA regarding Kobe Bryant's 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0. From the 468 cards, just 67 of them earned a PSA 10. Regarding the 420 cards that collectors sent to BGS, only 7 of them received a BGS 10. While 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 has sold for the most moderate value of the series, collectors aren't steering away from possessing this card.
This set is termed the Legacy Collection, which may have foreshadowed the career Kobe would put together. Kobe has the second-longest tenure playing for one team with 20 seasons, following only Dirk Nowitzki, who played 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. Kobe played 1,346 regular-season games and 220 playoff games. What do you think about that for a legacy?
1996 Flair Showcase Kobe Bryant Row 2 #31
Recent sale: $1,949
Affiliated with the 1996-1997 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0, and Legacy Row 1, the Legacy Row 2 was also one of the variations of the series. While not as limited as the Row 1 set, this card still possesses a great deal of value. As presented earlier, because the 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy series was unprecedented, there are many ways to go about establishing a collection with this series, as the popularity of this set will always be noticeable.
Collectors also feel strongly that Row 2 is their preferred variation of the set. Still, there will always be a personal liking among the distinct varieties of the 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy sets. The front of this card shows Kobe driving into the paint, as he's about to throw down an emphatic dunk, while the back of the card resembles the 1996-97 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 1.
From the 749 Kobe Bryant rookie cards of the 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 2 series sent into PSA, 58 came back with a PSA 10. Of the 515 cards that landed at BGS, only 3 of them came back as a BGS 10. While less valuable than Row 1, but more profitable than Row 0, this 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy will resume holding its value. Whether you favor collecting Kobe's rookie card from Row 0, 1, or 2, you will end up with a phenomenal collection. Come what may, whichever 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy card you acknowledge as your preference, each moment you lay your eyes on Kobe's rookie card from this set, you'll relive that he goes down in history as an individual who revolutionized the game of basketball.
1996 Upper Deck Kobe Bryant #58
Recent sale: $2,000
This 1996-97 Upper Deck Kobe Bryant rookie card embodies the 90s more than any of his other rookie cards. Pictured here is a still portrait of Kobe wearing white sunglasses, which certainly shows another element of himself. On the back of the card, he's wearing the sunglasses over his eyes, as it shows more of a relaxed Kobe Bryant.
Despite the relaxed photographs of Kobe Bryant, he was anything but that on the basketball court. Kobe had this burning passion for the game, and the intensity he showed day-in-day-out was something of such high caliber that one may feel that he would burn out eventually. Kobe Bryant would prove skeptics wrong, as he gave it his all for as long as he could, which turned out to be a remarkable 20-year career for the ages. Kobe was not only a prolific scorer but also a brute on the defensive end of the court. Kobe Bryant was a force of nature every time he neared the court.
This 1996-97 Upper Deck Kobe Bryant rookie card appears in the PSA population at 3,533, with 682 earning a PSA 10. With 3,105 in the BGS population, only eight received a BGS 10. Being one of the more cost-effective Kobe Bryant rookie cards, along with the personality that Kobe reveals, this card is becoming to any basketball fan.
1996 Stadium Club Members Only 55 Kobe Bryant w/ Coating #52
Recent sale: $2,000
As in the title of the card, 1996 Stadium Club Members Only 55 features 55 different players. Fifty of the cards picture the top players of each division, while the other five cards received particular attention, one of them being Kobe Bryant. PSA has received 881 Kobe 1996 Stadium Club Members Only 55 rookie cards, with 400 earning a PSA 10. However, with 364 reviewed by BGS, only seven were awarded a BGS 10.
Drawn on the card is truly a glimpse of greatness as you witness Kobe driving through the paint towards the basket. If you are looking into a long-term investment, an unopened box of this set may be of interest to you. Kobe Bryant would prevail to be in a class of his own, and collectors are seeking this 1996 Stadium Club Members Only 55 rookie card because of that.
1996 Topps Kobe Bryant Draft Redemption #DP13
Recent sale: $2,000
This 1996 Topps Draft Redemption Atomic Refractor shows Kobe Bryant forcing his way to the basket. There is a shattered ice manner about the card, which makes this card incomparable. Unfortunately for collectors, the card is condition sensitive because of the foil and centering of the card. With PSA receiving a population of 494 Kobe Bryant rookie cards from the set, 61 cards deserved a PSA 10. Although BGS accepted 594 of the identical card, just one of Kobe Bryant's rookie cards earned a BGS 10.
The card discusses Kobe's 3-pt shooting, which may have only been 32.9 percent for his career, but he is respected as a pure shooter, especially in clutch situations. When Kobe made his debut as the youngest player in NBA history, he was already viewed as a proven asset.
1996 Skybox Z-Force Kobe Bryant Z-Peat Zebut #3
Recent sale: $2,024
1996 Skybox Z-Force Zebut was a trendy set because of the players it featured. If you were to purchase a box of this set, it comes with a high price, which helps steer the value of Kobe Bryant's rookie card. The 1996 Skybox Z-Force Zebut set was loaded with inserts. Like the 1996 Skybox Z-Force, Kobe was visibly running the offense, and, as such, he arrived in the NBA as the first point guard to be drafted straight out of high school.
PSA has reviewed 50 Kobe Bryant rookie cards from the 1996 Skybox Z-Force Zebut series, with 18 rated as a PSA 10. BGS received an additional 53 rookie cards; however, not a single card earned a BGS 10. The highest grade awarded from BGS is a BGS 9.5, which holds a population of 7. This series is a preferred commodity by collectors, as the inserts are noteworthy and distinguished from alternative sets of that year, which serves to boost the value of Kobe's 1996 Skybox Z-Force Zebut rookie card.
1996 Fleer Metal Kobe Bryant Precious Metal #181
Recent sale: $2,250
The 1996 Metal Precious Metal Kobe Bryant rookie card is deeply cherished and a favorite by collectors. This Kobe card differs from the base set as this card is featured with an all silver background. This card shows Kobe with his head up as he analyzes the play in front of him, while he runs the Los Angeles Lakers offense. The back of the card shows Kobe sharp in focus, with the same image behind him, except the image in the background is featured in black and white.
Here we have another Kobe Bryant rookie card that mentions "No NBA Experience." When Kobe Bryant was a rookie, and he was playing fewer than 16 minutes a game, the Lakers knew he was flying under the radar, including the potential he had. The "No NBA Experience" description is fascinating because Kobe would go on to put up some ridiculous numbers, which led to establishing a Hall of Fame career.
PSA has received 995 Kobe Bryant rookie cards from the 1996 Precious Metal set, with 114 cards earning a PSA 10. BGS acquired 85 cards from collectors; however, the highest grade received is a 9.5, which has a population of 32. Amidst the illustrious silver background, hobbyists are captivated by this card, which will further serve in holding the value of this Kobe Bryant rookie card.
1996 SP Kobe Bryant Holoviews #PC18
Recent sale: $2,300
The 1996 SP Holoviews featuring Kobe Bryant is a particular special card. The first three images of Kobe are all unique in their distinct ways. First, here you have the action shot of Kobe performing one of his trademark finger rolls. In the next image, you have this brilliant action shot of Kobe looking as if he is the star on a track and field team as a long jumper. Finally, you can view this ridiculous hologram of Kobe on the bottom right-hand corner of this beauty.
Because of the hologram aspect of this Kobe rookie card, the condition of this card is unfortunately rather sensitive. As a result of this, this card is an instead cost-effective option compared to some of Kobe Bryant's other rookie cards. 80 Kobe Bryant rookie cards from the 1996 SP Holoviews #PC18 series have been reviewed by PSA, with only 8 of them receiving a PSA 10. From the 244 sent to BGS, the highest grade earned was a BGS 9.5, with a population of 19. The physical representation, along with the affordability versus other Kobe rookie cards, will aid the card in maintaining its value. While the card may have a bit going on for some, like the three images of Kobe, which could throw you for a loop, the more you analyze this card, the more you may understand and appreciate it's aesthetics.
1996 SP Kobe Bryant #134
Recent sale: $2,500
With the 1996-97 SP Kobe Bryant rookie card, you see Kobe pictured resting his head on a basketball, as he gazes squarely at you. The back of the card shows Kobe driving by defenders in the paint as he heads towards the basket.
With one of the higher populations of Kobe Bryant rookie cards from PSA at 6,668, the 1996-97 SP #134 set has given 841 cards a PSA 10. BGS evaluated 4,087 of the same card, although only a total of 8 cards received a BGS 10. With the finesse of this Kobe Bryant rookie card from the 1996-97 SP set, this card will continually be significant. An exceptional set by Upper Deck, this card is considered to be meaningful because the cards themselves are sophisticated; on top of that, this was a great year to obtain rookie cards.
Even though Kobe was a rookie, he strove for greatness, period. The look on Kobe Bryant's face for this 1996-97 SP shows that he possesses the "it" factor. While Kobe appears young in the photo, which he happened to be merely 18, he still had created a lot of buzz as a player who was coming out of high school and heading to the NBA. As of this writing, only 45 players have made the jump from High School straight to the NBA. Kobe Bryant inevitably turned heads while he was at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania as he broke records that could sustain for quite an extended period.
1996 Flair Showcase Kobe Bryant Row 1 #31
Recent sale: $2,550
Similar to the 1996-97 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 and Row 2, the Legacy Row 1 was one of the variations of the series. As discussed earlier, because the 1996-97 Flair Showcase Legacy was unconventional, there are multiple ways to go about establishing a collection with this series, as the prevalence of this set will always be self-evident.
The front of Kobe's 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 1 card showcases him dribbling up the court, once again with his tongue out, as he dissects the opposition, looking poised to execute the most suitable playmaking decision. The back of the card shows Kobe appearing fearless, perhaps at the free-throw line. Kobe averaged 83.7% from the free-throw line, which secures him as one of the most reliable free-throw shooters in NBA history. Kobe ranks third on the NBA's all-time free-throws made list. Also worth mentioning, the term "grace" on this card may have you feeling a sense of appreciation to have been able to see what Kobe was able to accomplish, both on-and-off the court.
The most valuable of the Flair Showcase Legacy series, 853 Kobe Bryant rookie cards have arrived at PSA, with just 68 of them attaining a PSA 10. From the 635 sent to BGS, only one came back with a BGS 10. The unique approaches to collecting this set will continue to increase the value of the series. Furthermore, Row 1 is the most costly of the series, suggesting this Kobe Bryant rookie card will be more sought-after than both Row 0 and Row 2.
1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Youthquake #YQ15
Recent sale: $2,839
The style of this 1996 Topps Chrome Youthquake Kobe Bryant rookie card is relatively intense. Kobe is highlighted on this card as he is protecting the ball. The back of the card emphasizes Kobe as he balances the basketball over his head with a resolute look on his face. The 1996 Topps Chrome Youthquake set had centering concerns and refractor lines, which make Kobe Bryant's rookie card from this set tough to attain in a high grade. The Topps Chrome Youthquake cards were initially cost-effective, but collectors soon caught on to the retail market when it was introduced.
PSA has received 511 Topps Youthquake Kobe Bryant rookie cards, with only 73 attaining a PSA 10. With 446 introduced to BGS, just one earned a BGS 10. While this Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Youthquake rookie card is well-received, it is viewed as being reasonably priced.
1996 Bowman's Best Best Picks Kobe Bryant Atomic Refractor #BP10
Recent sale: $3,000
Kobe Bryant's 1996 Bowman's Best Best Picks rookie card has found itself examined by PSA 55 times, but only five cards merited a PSA 10. Of the 217 sent to BGS, the highest grade received was a BGS 9.5, with a population of 22. Kobe Bryant's 1996 Bowman's Best Best Picks rookie card highlights a cool, calm, and collected Kobe managing the point. The back of the card shares some incredible stats, where Kobe racked up 34 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, and nine blocks during a high school game when he played for Lower Merion.
This unique Kobe Bryant rookie card possesses a prominent eye appeal. Along with the physical appearance and origin of the Atomic Refractor, this Kobe rookie card is treasured by a plethora of hobbyists. This card signified the rise of the Atomic Refractor in the NBA. If you happen to be analyzing this set, you are presumably interested in purchasing this Kobe Bryant refractor parallel.
1996 Skybox Premium Kobe Bryant Rubies #203
Recent sale: $3,500
This 1996-97 Skybox Premium Rubies #203 features Kobe beyond the arc as he examines the play in front of his eyes. The face of the card displays Kobe suited up in purple with gold; in contrast, the back features Kobe with gold and purple. The reverse of the card also highlights Kobe with a broken left wrist from when he fell during a pickup game before training camp in his rookie season. You could find one Skybox Premium Rubies in every box, which is a comparable approach to the way box toppers are applied in the modernized hobby.
With 102 Kobe Bryant 1996 Skybox Premium Rubies sent to PSA, only 17 arrived with a PSA 10. Of the 17 reviewed by BGS, the highest grade earned was a 9.5 BGS, with a population of 12. Despite Kobe's injury, it is without question that his wrist did not affect his performance on the court.
1996 Pacific Power Kobe Bryant Platinum #PP-6
Recent sale: $4,550
With only 5 Kobe Bryant 1996 Pacific Power Platinum received by PSA, only one has earned a PSA 10. Furthermore, BGS has examined 8 Kobe Bryant 1996 Pacific Power Platinum rookie cards, and the highest grade earned is a 9, with a population of merely 3.
The 1996 Pacific Power Platinum card highlights Kobe Bryant dribbling up the court for his high school team Lower Merion. The image displayed on the front of this 1996 Pacific Power Platinum Kobe Bryant rookie card appears once again on the back of the card. The primary photograph on the reverse of the card shows Kobe Bryant at the free-throw line, where he is a lifetime 83.7 free throw percentage.
Because of the foil of the card, the condition of the 1996 Power Pacific Platinum is especially delicate because it's prone to chipping. Even with the delicacy of the card, this Kobe rookie card will remain intriguing to collectors.
1996 Score Board Autographed Basketball (D.G. Only)
Recent sale: $4,950
This 1996 Score Board Autographed card features Kobe Bryant throwing down a massive one-handed slam. Yet again, Kobe is flaunting off his tongue like Michael Jordan notoriously. Kobe is presented here wearing his high school practice jersey for Lower Merion as he suits up with number 55.
Score Board was an organization that dealt with licensing and selling sports memorabilia. They reached out to Kobe immediately after he declared for the NBA draft out of high school to autograph the card mentioned above. Under the agreement, Kobe was compensated $10,000 as a base salary, plus $2 per signature.
There have only been two Kobe Bryant 1996 Score Board Autographed Basketball rookie cards received by PSA, one of which earned a PSA 10. There have also been an additional 20 cards reviewed by BGS, although the highest grade received is a 9.5, with a population of 9. As one of the rarer Kobe Bryant rookie cards on the market, one may find this card tempting to add to their collection.
1996 Skybox E-X2000 Kobe Bryant E-X2000 Credentials #30
Recent sale: $7,999
1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials is unconventional and cutting edge as players come face to face with the clouds. 1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials is challenging to find in good shape due to the susceptibly of poor long-term conditions of the card. Nonetheless, 1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials classifies among one of the freshest sets that derived from the 90s.
Kobe Bryant is pictured wearing the Los Angeles Lakers classic gold and purple uniform, which the Lakers introduced before the 1978-79 season. This particular uniform set would extend until the end of the 1999 season. As Kobe Bryant is shown in the clouds, society recognizes the impact he will always have on the game of basketball and acknowledges that he improved the effectiveness of the sport. The eye appeal of Kobe Bryant's 1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials is dramatic, which drives the prevalence of the card. The colors shown are not just bold; they are invigorating. The 1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials starring Kobe Bryant displays a population of 59; however, only four were pleased to receive a PSA 10. Collectors also sent this to BGS a total of 178 times, where the highest grade ever received was a BGS 9.5, which happened a total of 9 times. Because there are only four cards that have received a 10 from either PSA or BGS, and as collectors drive the market, one could imagine how this card will continually increase in value, among the criteria is the appearance of this card will look impressive in any collection.
1996 Skybox Kobe Bryant E-X2000 #30
Recent sale: $8,500
1996 Skybox E-X2000 is quite similar to its parallel termed E-X2000 Credentials. Both cards are tough to find in high quality because they are easily susceptible to damage. Kobe Bryant is pictured the same here as the Credentials parallel, wearing the Los Angeles Lakers classic gold and purple uniform. With Kobe revealed in the clouds, and with his Hall of Fame induction upcoming, nobody will overlook what Kobe has accomplished for the game of basketball, which has forever transformed the game.
The eye appeal of Kobe Bryant's 1996 Skybox E-X2000 is about as climactic as the Credentials parallel. The colors shown here are bold as well; however, this base set may appear brighter, which could attract many collectors to this card alternatively. This card is a prime illustration to see how eye appeal could affect the demand for a specific card in an assortment of ways.
Slightly more valuable than the 1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials, PSA lists this card population at 3,275, although only 22 of those received a PSA 10. With 2,352 sent over to BGS, only 1 BGS 10 is in existence. As a result of the data recorded, obtaining this card in high grade is somewhat tricky. While collectors are at the forefront of driving the market, this card will too steadily grow in value, as the ceiling is even higher than the Credentials parallel.
1996 Bowman's Best Kobe Bryant Atomic Refractor #R23
Recent sale: $9,298
This 1996 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor featuring Kobe Bryant shows off some of his composure. The half-smile on his face shows that he has a sense of his confidence while holding the basketball. The value of the 1996 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor set has a significant impact from the rookie class, especially rookie sensation Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant's 1996 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor rookie card has a population of 216 from PSA, with only 34 of them coming back as a PSA 10. Collectors have also sent 200 cards for inspection to BGS, with just three cards earning a BGS 10. As one of the more notable Kobe Bryant rookie cards, expect this card to appreciate, as it has been a traditional set for collectors to accumulate because of the widespread interest.
As for Kobe's college statistics, it's unusual to see the words "did not attend," as he has been one of only a handful of players throughout league history who has gone straight from High School to the NBA. Kobe was remarkably talented with his superhuman abilities that taking the path to the NBA was self-explanatory. Kobe was beyond dangerous with the basketball, shown by his ability to drive through the paint. Once Kobe approached the hoop, there wasn't anybody who was able to stop him. His fieriness was extraordinary, as he put his heart and soul into every possession.
1996 Skybox Premium Kobe Bryant Rubies #55
Recent sale: $9,999
The 1996 Skybox Premium Rubies pictures Kobe as he is backing away from the basket, but while he is glancing back to the bucket to attempt the finger roll. The pop of the ruby red truly makes the card stand out from many of the other Bryant rookie cards. This card is associated with being of high-quality, plus the design is original, as the eye appeal is also quite distinct for this Kobe Bryant rookie card. Rounding out the top 5 of the most expensive Kobe Bryant rookie cards, 1996 Skybox Premium Rubies has a population of 64 through PSA, with only 18 receiving a PSA 10. With 77 of the same card entrusted with BGS, the highest grade earned was a BGS 9.5, which has a population of 12. With collectors remaining to be engaged by this card, it is the anticipation that this card will reside in the top 5 for some time. There is a whole lot of collectors who continuously have their eye out for one of these 1996 Skybox Premium Rubies because of how one may appear in your collection.
The 1996 Skybox Premium Rubies set reveals how Kobe's number came to be. When Kobe was at the well-regarded ABCD Adidas camp, he sported the number 143, which he then added up to become number 8, which Kobe wore was for ten seasons before switching to number 24, which he also dressed for the following ten seasons of his career.
1996 Finest Kobe Bryant Refractor w/ Coating #74
Recent sale: $13,300
The 1996 Finest Refractor set is known to be one of the most challenging sets of the 90s to collect. This Kobe insert has remained quite difficult for collectors to obtain because of its prestigiousness, scarcity, and the expense of the card. Standing in as Kobe Bryants 4th most valuable rookie card, this 1996 Finest Refractor #74 has a population of 249, with only 17 of those earning 10's from PSA. As for BGS, of the 288 cards reviewed, the highest grade received is a BGS 9.5, with a population of only 7. As one of the most appealing Kobe Bryant rookie cards, you might even go so far as to describe this card a gem. Obtaining this card with a high grade is going to cost you.
Kobe Bryant takes flight with this 1996 Finest Refractor card, as his expression shows that nobody is going to deny him of this dunk explicitly, or anything else that crossed his path. It is essential to highlight that this card emphasizes not only Kobe's offensive abilities but his defensive prowess as well. Throughout Kobe's 20-year career, he made the All-NBA Defensive Team 9 times. As the card stresses the word "apprentice," Kobe may have been his father's apprentice as he followed in his footsteps to the NBA, but he had to mature as an individual along the way. Kobe was able to reach great heights that may never be replicated both on-and-off the court.
1996 Finest Kobe Bryant Refractor w/ Coating #269
Recent sale: $15,000
Kobe Bryant's 1996 Topps Finest Gold Atomic Refractor card is highly sought-after by renowned collectors as they seek to add this precious card to their collection. There is additionally a bronze and silver version of the card, but they don't surpass the value of the gold version. The gold series of the set had printing issues, which makes it challenging to find this card adequately centered. 1996 Finest Refractor issued this set with a protective film. While collectors are inclined to peel it off to reveal the gloss and crispness, the card may be less-sought after without the film.
Kobe's executing a routine reverse layup, which was undoubtedly one of his specialties. This card is one of Kobe's most iconic, and for a good reason, as this is undoubtedly a piece of beauty, and would be a focal point in any card collection. The back of the card declares, "No Statistics Available." However, if you fast-forward to the completion of Kobe's career, you will view the average stats of 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists throughout an exceptional 20-year career. Though, the card does apply Kobe's statistics from High School, where there is the recognition that he was one of the greatest high school players from Philadelphia. Throughout his high school career, where he won a state title, he tallied up more points than the great Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt holds the record for most points in an NBA game with 100. Kobe is next on the historical list with 81 points.
As Kobe Bryant's third most valuable rookie card, the total population of his 1996 Finest Gold Atomic Refractor card that PSA has received to date is 100, with only 18 of those cards receiving a PSA 10. From the 166 that was sent over and reviewed by BGS, only five were worthy of being graded a BGS 10. If you are so inclined to invest in a high-priced Kobe Bryant rookie card, this may be the card for you as there is plenty of room to see this card appreciate over time.
1996 Ultra Kobe Bryant Platinum Medallion #P52
Recent sale: $29,499
The 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion draws a considerable amount of attention from collectors, and if you are establishing a Kobe collection, this must be in your possession. The Ultra Platinum Medallion series is delicate, which indicates the condition of the card may decrease, on top of the likelihood that this card tends to scratch easily. The 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion cards were inserted into 1 in every 180 packs; as a result, this card becomes a particularly tricky acquisition.
The front of Kobe's 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion card represents him advancing towards the basket for a smooth right-handed reverse layup. The back of the card highlights two action shots of Kobe, one with him striving for the dunk in the foreground, and the other where he analyzes the play in the background. Kobe continuously put on a show for the fans, "Mr. Showtime," as the card further states. This card also reflects on his father's playing career, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, where he set the stage for Kobe to achieve greatness.
Kobe Bryant's 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion rookie card has a population of 49, but of those, only 9 of them have received a PSA 10. From the 37 graded by BGS, the highest grade attained was a BGS 9.5, with a population of 4. Because the 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion is a delicate card, it makes it rather challenging to find in pristine condition. This Kobe Bryant rookie card is, at the moment, his 2nd most valuable.
1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Refractor #138
Recent sale: $93,600
The appearance of the 1996-97 Topps Chrome basketball cards intrigued many hobbyists by the power of attraction. If you collect rookie or refractor cards, this set becomes everything you need. 1996-97 Topps Chrome revolutionized the card world because it set a precedent for unparalleled sports cards where Topps Chrome made its debut. While the collection is not necessarily the most valuable of the 90s, the results provide a lasting effect on the hobby today. When 1996-97 Topps Chrome was to be distributed to card dealers, many vendors didn't thoroughly grasp the style that Topps was heading towards, which prompted many dealers not to want a part of the set. As a result, the series became a retail-only exclusive. The rare cards from 1996 Topps Chrome are already challenging to locate, and with centering issues among this set, valuable cards aren't easy to come by.
This card highlights Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant wearing number 8 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kobe is pictured on one leg, driving through the paint, as the block attempt fails, he approaches the hoop and makes the layup. Throughout 76 career games versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, including the postseason, Kobe averaged 24.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists, which was parallel with his career averages. The Los Angeles Lakers were dominant versus Minnesota as they went 47-17 in the regular season, and 8-4 in the playoffs.
This 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor card featuring Kobe Bryant was submitted to PSA for grading 398 times. While the population implies 398, only 63 of those cards earned a PSA 10. The card was also offered to BGS for grading 283 times, although just two cards received the ultimate grade of a BGS Black Label. The 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor stands as Kobe Bryant's most valuable rookie card to date.
Kobe Bryant played in the NBA for 20 years, but he was more than just a player in the league, he was a pioneer for the sport. Kobe was able to push the boundaries to advance the game of basketball. The weight of his legacy empowers others to bring out the best in themselves, just as Kobe illustrated from both his on-and-off the court achievements. The influence Kobe Bryant had on sports collecting has affected the value of his rookie cards considerably. It is because of this that Kobe Bryant rookie card prices are going to steadily increase, recognizing they will continuously be in high demand.
1996 Hoops Kobe Bryant Grant Hill's All-Rookie-Team #3
Recent sale: $525
This 1996 Hoops Grant Hill's All-Rookie-Team features 11 different players in the series. It was pretty refreshing to see how the card's design showed all of the player's names of the series on each player's card. This Kobe Bryant rookie card is viewed as a beautiful rookie card that will take you back in the past. There were only a low number of cards printed for each player, which makes this one of the more rare Kobe Bryant cards on the market today.
Due to the curiosity people have for the uniqueness of the set, as well as the card, collectors often seek the entirety of the 1996 Hoops Grant Hill's All-Rookie-Team as part of their collection. Despite the other players who are featured in this series, it was Kobe Bryant's rookie card that stood out more than any of the other players. This card features Kobe driving through the paint as he viciously goes up for the dunk as nobody was able to stop him.
1996-97 UD3 Kobe Bryant RC #19
Recent sale: $749
Kobe Bryant's rookie card from the 1996-97 UD3 is part of the Hardwood Prospects collection, which consisted of card numbers 1 through 20 of the set. As Kobe leans against a brick wall, he clutches onto a basketball, with two more by his feet. The expression on his face, along with his demeanor, shows nothing but suaveness. You may even get a visual that this photograph of Kobe Bryant is nearly as smooth as his jump shot. Take a look at the margin of the card, which highlights the representation of a hardwood basketball court, which narrates Kobe's entire life and career concentrated around basketball.
The term prospect on the card is an underestimation for the career Kobe would piece together. Kobe entered the league at age 17, but his outlook was to be more profound than just another prospect. Kobe went in the first round of the draft as the 13th pick. Did you know that the Charlotte Hornets selected him, before being immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac? Can you envision a world where Kobe Bryant was never a Los Angeles Laker? Whatever the circumstances might have been, Kobe's face unveils that he wanted greatness to materialize, and greatness is what ensued.
1996-97 Metal Kobe Bryant RC #137
Recent sale: $760
This 1996-97 Metal Kobe Bryant rookie card features Kobe at his press conference as he is introduced to the Los Angeles Lakers after he was traded from the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the NBA draft at pick number 13. Kobe Bryant was a member of the Charlotte Hornets for a measly 16 days before the Hornets dismissed Kobe because they felt he was too young and would have a hard time playing at the NBA level. Do you think the Hornets regret their decision?
Kobe Bryant would then certainly set the groundwork for that Los Angeles Lakers team. In 1999, Phil Jackson became the Los Angeles Lakers head coach, which was the first year that Kobe won an NBA Championship. The trend continued, as the Lakers would win the following two years as well. This accomplishment marks the last time that an NBA team completed a three-peat, which was back in the 2001-2002 season when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were teammates.
1996-97 Z-Force Kobe Bryant RC #142
Recent sale: $882.99
The 1996-97 Z-Force series requires little introduction, as the front of each card depicts an impromptu photograph of each player. Kobe Bryant is shown boxing out the opponent, as he reaches up for the rebound. A thought-provoking element about this card is the evidence where it flashes Kobe Bryant while he is emulating the infamous tongue out display by Michael Jordan.
The card goes on to endorse that Kobe Bryant defies all laws of gravity, which here on the back of the card, you witness Kobe driving through the paint as he goes up for a one-handed dunk. As you may recall, Kobe won the slam dunk contest during his rookie campaign. He was the youngest All-Star Slam Dunk champion in history while he was 18 years, 169 days old. The background of Kobe's 1996-97 Z-Force draws attention to both professional collectors and hobbyists as it is bursting with electricity. The layout of the card is also sought-after because of its novel concept, with its spiraled design and unconventional color scheme. If you are seeking a recognizable Kobe Bryant rookie card, look no further than this 1996-97 Z-Force rookie card.