Love Him or Hate Him – Basketball Collectors Are All About Lebron James

Few people in sports are as polarizing a figure as Lebron James. Ever since he took his talents to South Beach by giving a middle finger to Cleveland, he has become a person that you either love or hate. In the hobby, the thin line between the two sentiments is even less clear, as many people would KILL to have a top flight auto of the King.

He already is the poster boy for one of the most valuable modern cards ever made:

2003-4 Exquisite LeBron James Rookie Auto Patch

I would even go as far as saying that there are only a handful of regularly available autos that are worth more to collectors than James’ NBA cards are worth. Guys like Tiger Woods and obviously Michael Jordan still command the top value in the hobby all around, but LeBron is a guy that is easiItly close to both. That is pretty impressive considering how controversial he is.

The finals are here, and there is some major potential for him to get further in his value accomplishments:

2008 Exquisite Lebron James / Tony Parker Dual Auto – Almost too perfect a card for this week, huh?

2006 Chronology LeBron James Number Auto Patch

2008 Ultimate Collection Lebron James Auto

2003 SPX Lebron James Auto Relic RC BGS 10

The secret is a combination of international appeal and career accomplishments, as he has two titles and a handful of records that always contribute to a larger value in any hobby perspective. Basketball, as I have said for years, is about as close to strictly high end as you can find in any of the four major sports. This phenomenon exists, in part, because of how many fans live in and beyond the borders of the USA.

Now, to date, there has been ZERO examples of an autographed card of LeBron James in a Miami Heat uniform. Upper Deck has produced signed photographs and prints, but their lack of licensing has prevented them from getting anything out of their exclusive deal that has an NBA uniform on it. Prior to losing their license, they produced tons of his cards in a Cavs jersey, as well as a huge amount of cards in his high school uniform as well. None will sell as well as a Miami autograph would sell today.

If Panini ever gets their ducks in a row and gets a deal to have his cards in their product, there would be a mad scramble for his stuff. Through some rumblings in the distance, that may not be the pipe dream it used to be, but we are still a ways off. In the meantime, collectors will have to settle.

Living in San Antonio, I want the Spurs to win, there is no question there. However, it should be abundantly clear to everyone that it is much better for the hobby if Lebron gets his third ring.

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