Today is a big day for Basketball, and it doesnt even involve the all star game or a player on the court during the game. Today, Michael Jordan turns 50, and for a sport that is almost completely indebted to his legacy, its a reminder that the Titans of the game are not immortal. Regardless, Jordan’s name is still as relevant as ever, even to the point that he is the benchmark to whom all others are compared to.
In the hobby, Jordan is the end all and be all of every single high end card. There would be no high end in Football or Baseball with out MJ, and to say he is the highest valued living player, is like saying a McLaren F1 is just the most expensive car available. Anything with his name scrawled somewhere on it is valuable, even the sneakers released under his brand each year.
Believe it or not – his birthday has actually spiked some values a bit. Crazy!
Although NBA licensed Jordan cards and autographs have not been available for the last 5 years, it hasnt mattered to the legions of collectors that collect his stuff. In fact, I would say his cards have become even more valuable, even with LeBron James winning his first championship last year. That’s not saying his NCAA cards arent worth anything either – the big ones are expensive as ever!
You would think that the iconic 23 Bulls jersey would drive value above all else, but his likeness transcends licensing in a way that is unlike any other player. Not only is he the most recognizable athlete in the world, he also carries more worth than even the rarest signatures out there. He doesnt even need to be in on a basketball card to be expensive.
Baseball is unique because there are so few collectors that were alive and collecting when Babe Ruth was swinging the stick. Jordan, on the other hand, came into the league when basketball cards were just becoming mainstream. Therefore, many collectors grew up chasing his cards, and have been fighting daily to reclaim some of their favorite nostalgic pieces of their childhood. When these collectors have DEEP pockets, it becomes a battle to see who can outspend the others who are in the same category of high end Jordan chasers. Many of the most expensive Jordan cards dont even have swatches or autos on them.
It would be simple to say that his autograph’s value would be affected by the watering down of the available examples, but its actually become the complete opposite. As I have said with much frequency, modern players’ autograph values will not be hurt by availability, but more determined by prestige of the item the auto is signed on. Jordan embodies this to a T.
Eventually, there will be someone that has the kind of worldwide appeal that Jordan has, but I dont know when that will happen. Jordan is our generation’s Babe Ruth and then some, which is awesome to see in action.