Why Now Is The Time To Buy Classic 1980s and Early 1990s Basketball Cards

Prediction: 1980s and early 1990s basketball cards of superstars / Hall of Famers will rise in value over the next year and steadily over the next five years.

Why? Factors are at play on the fringe of the card market that will drive interest from a few key demographic groups. This interest will first focus on some particular players and teams, but will then have a "nostalgia effect" that will positively affect the value of other players from this era.

The factors are:

1. HBO's "Winning Time." A new series focused on the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty. Starting in the late 1970s with the acquisition of Earvin "Magic" Johnson as the #1 overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft.

The series follows not only owner Jerry Buss, but also Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, Michael Cooper and others. It is extremely well done, with a superstar actor cast including John C. Reilly, Jason Segal, Adrien Brody and more. It has everything that a top drama series needs to win multiple Emmy Awards.

I won't play spoiler alert with the show here, but I'll just say that this is bound to become a pop culture phenomenon on a different level than "Ted Lasso" and should positively affect interest in cards of NBA legends from this era.

2. They Call Me Magic - a four-part Docuseries on Apple TV, coming April 22. The next "The Last Dance?" I'll let you decide. Watch the Trailer Here.

3. The Icons Club - a new podcast on The Ringer Podcast Network. Host Jackie MacMullan will interview Michael Jordan, Dr. J, Steph Curry, and a host of other icons about how an exclusive group of NBA superstars made the league what it is today.

This podcast will introduce new generations of fans to the legendary players, give them greater access to their stories, and - to listeners my age (40 and over), it will remind them of their favorite players and likely drive interest in eBay searches for their classic cards.

4. Since 2018, the NBA All-Star Game Teams have taken on the names of the top two players in the league at that time. However, in the soon-to-be post-LeBron era, it's becoming increasingly clear that there are no clear 1 or 2 best players in the league. There are like 15-20 guys that are good enough to be in the "Top Five."

My hunch/gut feeling is that this will lead to the NBA re-branding the names of the two teams that play against each other in the NBA All-Star Game.

Prediction: because there will be no two clear top players in the league over the next several seasons, sometime in the next five years, the NBA will start naming the All-Star Teams after Legends and Hall of Famers. You'll see "Team Magic" vs. "Team Larry," and "Team Michael" vs. "Team Charles." I think you'll even see "Team Dirk" if there's an All-Star Game in Dallas or "Team Isiah" if there's an All-Star Game in Detroit someday. You can bet there will be a "Team Wade" and "Team Shaq" also.

"Team KG" vs. "Team Ray" in Boston wouldn't suck either.

This isn't that far-fetched, as the league already has promoted their 75th Anniversary Team recently, and has had guys like Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins and even Kenny Smith judge the Slam Dunk Contest.

Moving away from things like "Team Luka" vs. "Team LaMelo" would make sense for the league, as these guys star in the game anyway. Kevin Durant having a team but not playing in the game this year was kind of lame anyway.

1980s and early 1990s NBA Cards are super inexpensive right now, and with floods of cards coming back from PSA of graded Jordan stuff, the market will be ripe to pick exactly what you want for pretty cheap.

I'd personally scoop up older, higher graded cards of the greats from the 1980s right now, as I think you can expect a solid increase in value over the next five years if you pick the right cards.

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Paul Hickey is the founder of NoOffseason.com, home of the Sports Card Investment Report and The Sports Card Strategy Show. He is also a contributing writer for Sports Card Investor.


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