Top 5 Michael Jordan Rookie Cards and Rookie Card Checklist

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Best Michael Jordan Rookie Cards

Whenever discussions about the greatest NBA player of all time arise, one name frequently comes up: Michael Jordan. His Airness’ feats on the basketball court remain unprecedented to this day. 

michael jordan rookie card

Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in New York City. He spent his formative years in Wilmington, NC. Jordan tried out for the Laney High School Buccaneers varsity basketball team during his sophomore year. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut due to his height back then (5’11”).

Jordan became the star of the junior varsity team and averaged over 25 points per game in his last two years of high school ball. He committed to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels in 1981. 

Jordan made an impact as a freshman, averaging 13.4 points for Dean Smith’s crew. The highlight of the young Jordan’s college career was his jumper from left quarter-court to lift the Tar Heels to a 63-62 win over the Georgetown Hoyas in the 1982 NCAA Tournament Championship Game.

After spending three years at Chapel Hill, Jordan’s draft stock skyrocketed. The Chicago Bulls eventually made him the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. 

MJ took the league by storm. He averaged 28.2 points per game during his rookie year. He went on to average at least 30.1 points in his legendary NBA career. Jordan cemented his legacy by propelling the Bulls to six championships in the 1990s. He is also a five-time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

MJ’s rookie card investments bode well for your portfolio. For one, it’s Michael Jordan we’re talking about. In the sports card industry, an MJ rookie card is almost a sure bet. His status, prestige, and accolades speak massive volumes. 

Let’s take a look at His Airness’ Top 5 Rookie Cards:

 

1986-87 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card #57

michael jordan fleer rookie card

This is the most popular Michael Jordan rookie card on the market. You can see MJ about to throw down one of his patented breakaway dunks against the then-New Jersey Nets. Jordan’s tongue sticking out gives this card a unique Air Jordan trademark.

When you flip the card over, you can see Jordan’s stats through his first two NBA seasons. Expect to shell out an amount in the four-digit range for this one. In fact, it has gained serious traction in the past decade (a remarkable 200 percent in the past five years alone). 

If you’re seriously considering investing in a Michael Jordan rookie card, put this one at the top of your list. 

 

1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo Rookie RC #2

jordan nike promo card

The photo on the front of this card inspired the famous “Jumpman” Nike logo. That alone gives you a good reason to invest in it. Think about it: a card that inspired one of the most famous logos in sports merchandising history in your possession. In fact, the photo helped promote Air Jordans in the 1980s. 

All of the quintessential Jordan elements are in this card: MJ, the Nike logo, and the famous Chicago skyline in the background. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

The back of the card rattles off Jordan’s stats, including his scoring average (28.2 ppg) during his rookie year, a berth in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, his selection for the 1984 men’s basketball team at the 1984 Summer Olympics, and his selection as a consensus All-American for two consecutive years, among other things. 

Long story short, this is one Michael Jordan rookie card that covers all the bases. It’s as timeless as it gets. 

 

1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker Rookie #8

Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker

There’s just something about the old school New Jersey Nets and the Meadowlands which makes Michael Jordan’s rookie cards shine. We’re noticing a trend here. 

In this rookie card, MJ makes a move toward the basket against the Nets’ Otis Birdsong. And yes, the former is wagging his famous tongue again. It served as a warning to the opposition – another Air Jordan highlight reel was about to take place. We’re guessing MJ posterized a poor Nets player moments after leaving Birdsong in his dust. 

The back of the card reads:

“He’s ‘Air Jordan’ in Chicago where he was selected as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1985. A broken left foot cost him 64 games in 1985-86, but he came back to lead his team into the playoffs. In the greatest scoring binge in NBA playoff history, he scored 63 points against the Celtics, making 22 of 41 field-goal tries. Jordan is the NBA’s best scoring guard and a great team player who refused to sit out the last few games of the season when his foot had healed. Though he played only 20 percent of his team’s games in 1985-86, he still was in the upper half among NBA free throw statistics. Jordan led his North Carolina team to the NCAA title in 1982, defeating Georgetown and Patrick Ewing.”

This is one of the most expensive – if not most expensive – Michael Jordan rookie cards on the market. It will set you back somewhere in the five-digit range. However, it should give you a nice return after a few years. 

 

1984-85 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #101

Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card

Michael Jordan continues to torment the hapless New Jersey Nets in his top rookie cards. Here, MJ gets ready to post up an unidentified Nets player while his teammate Quintin Dailey looks on. You can see some Nets fans in the stands oohing and aahing even before His Airness makes his move. That’s the kind of charisma MJ had even as a rookie. 

On a side note, we like the red border and the Bulls logo – they give the card an unmistakable 80’s MJ feel. 

The back of the card breaks down Jordan’s collegiate stats at North Carolina. You can see “officially licensed product” and the NBA logo on the upper right hand panel at the back. 

Expect to shell out an amount in the four-digit range for this one. We’re confident it’ll give you a nice return on your investment. 

1985 Michael Jordan Star Lite All-Stars Rookie Card #4 

If you consider yourself a more casual collector (willing to invest in cards in the three-digit range), this Michael Jordan rookie card is a good option.

For one, it preserves the memory of MJ’s first NBA All-Star Game appearance in 1985 – the first rookie since the 1982 NBA season to accomplish such a feat. It was a sign of things to come. 

On a different note, Michael Jordan was one of the most intense competitors in the history of the game. Nowhere is this more evident on this card’s photo – MJ was all business even during an All-Star Game. 

Perhaps the most prominent feature of this card is the text in all caps at the back which reads, “FIRST ALL-STAR APPEARANCE.” Not only will this card help you cherish this noteworthy achievement, but it’ll also give you a good ROI in the future. 

 

Michael Jordan Rookie Card Checklist

 

  • 1986-87 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card #57
  • 1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo Rookie RC #2
  • 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker Rookie #8
  • 1984-85 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #101
  • 1985 Michael Jordan Star Lite All-Stars Rookie Card #4 
  • 1984-85 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #195
  • 1985-86 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #117
  • 1985 Michael Jordan Star Gatorade Slam Dunk Rookie Card #7
  • 1984-85 Michael Star Jordan Rookie Card #195 

 

Investment Rating and Advice

With the release of “The Last Dance” on Netflix, Michael Jordan has taken center stage once again. Even if you never grew up idolizing MJ, you can’t help but tip your hat off to one of basketball’s greatest icons. It won’t surprise us one bit if His Airness’ rookie cards started selling like hotcakes again. The price tags of his cards have gone up with a resurgence in his popularity. 

It bears repeating: investing in sports cards are a hedge against volatile stock market losses. In uncertain times, investing in Michael Jordan’s rookie cards will help put some money in your pocket, especially over the long term. 

Why do we say that? Simply put, MJ’s legacy won’t fade away any time soon. It’s been years since he hung up his sneakers and yet he still sends shivers up fans’ spines. Look for this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. 

Investment Rating: 10 out of 10

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