LeBron James Collectibles Receive Bump Due to Points Chase, But Is It Sustainable?
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LeBron James’ cards are already exorbitant in value, among the best sellers in the NBA on account of his career accomplishments and brand outside of basketball.
So is it possible, as James approaches Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time career points record this week, that his cards can get an even bigger bump in value?
Well, it’s complicated.
Over the last 60 days, the average James graded card is up 14%, according to Sports Card Investor’s Market Movers.
“If people already don’t have the LeBron card they want, this will make them want it,” said Jon The Basketball Card Guy, one of the largest basketball card collectors. “It’s like the Popeyes chicken sandwich, as more people talk about it, more people want it.”
The best data point to gauge with is LeBron’s 2003 Topps cards and their variants. The base card in a PSA 10 is now going for $2,500, up about 30% in the last two months.
That version of the card in chrome has now surpassed $8,000, up 40% over the last two months.
“It’s questionable whether this rise is sustainable,” said Sports Card Investor founder Geoff Wilson. “In December 2021, when Steph Curry set the all-time three-point record, his cards also spiked. They stayed high for about 30 days after achieving the record, but they then fell, rapidly losing about 25% of their value.”
Darren Herman is a big collector and investor in the space who runs Midlife Crisis Cards.
”The unknown question, but one that I think I know, is how much has the market already priced in this bump?” Herman said. “I believe it’s already priced in.”
Herman says he doesn’t think James being missing from the playoffs — the Lakers are currently two games out of the 10th spot — will be a primary factor in affecting his cards.
“This stat pop is iconic,” Herman said. “Not making the playoffs doesn’t matter as much. He has done enough.”
Jon The Basketball Card Guy says he believes that middle of the road LeBron cards will see the biggest percentage rise, which is understandable as LeBron’s ultra high end cards have crashed with the rest of the market.
Look no further than LeBron’s 2003 Topps Black Chrome Refractor in a PSA 10. Sold for $480,000 in February 2021 at the height of the market, the card can now be had for $48,000.
Anyone who has been holding a LeBron card for two years isn’t looking at this current rise as a “bump,” as the Covid pop achieved in the winter of 2021 might never be topped.
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