Card Stock Concepts - The Legends Series

Welcome to another edition of Card Stock Concepts. I hope that you will find these deep dives fun, informative, and most importantly helpful to your own investment process. Each month we are going to have articles in a series format. What this means for you as the reader is that you will receive content focused on one singular topic across each sport each week.

This month is the Legends Series! We are going to be identifying modern era players from each sport and comparing them to that of their predecessors. They could still be in the league, or already retired, but the impact of the modern era players and their cards are what we want to drill down on, and see quantifiable evidence of where they are now, and where they are headed in the future. This week I thought it would be fitting to give this guy an article of his own. He’s had a huge impact on the game on and off the court, and has touched lives across the globe. This article is dedicated to Kobe Bryant and everyone else in the tragic crash last year.

Our pricing research is done using Sports Card Investor’s Market Movers data. You can sign up for your own Market Movers Subscription to access the data on your own and by using the promo code GRINDERS you will get 20% off your first payment on any subscription. You will want to sign up for Market Movers specifically in order to access the great tools and data, and if you sign up for the annual Market Movers subscription, you will save 20% on the entire year instead of just the first month. If you want a sneak peek at what Market Movers has to offer please reference our show from 12/29/2020 “Card Stock After Lock – Identifying Your Investment Approach”. It will give you really good insight as to how easy the tool is to use and how useful it can be in your research.

I know this is a card article, but I did want to share something personal about the impact of Kobe Bryant within the game of basketball and also personally. So, last year around this time we all received the devastating news of the tragic helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, John and Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton; and Christina Mauser, an assistant coach. I’ll actually never forget where I was or what I was doing on that day. I was just getting home from picking up some food. I sat down at the table, opened the bag and was about to indulge in some KFC wings with potato wedges. Then my phone rang. One of my friends asked, “Did you hear about the news?” I said “What news?” He said “Kobe Bryant has been in a helicopter crash…” I said “What?!!!” So of course as we all do I grabbed my phone and googled the information. At the time it was only on TMZ. I thought to myself…ok…TMZ is reputable… but it’s only on TMZ. It wasn’t on ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, or any other major sports or news outlet. I felt a temporary sense of comfort, but there was still fear of the unknown. Twitter was blowing up, but there was still nothing “official”. I think we were all hoping that this was just some big mix up in information and that perhaps it was all a dream. Suddenly those chicken wings and wedges didn’t seem so important. Then, it happened… the worst case scenario. The major news outlets began picking up the story. Still piecing things together of course, but there was one fact that remained. The crash had happened. Kobe Bryant was on the plane, and he did not survive.

I just sat there for a minute. It hit me like a ton of bricks. This is a guy that I grew up watching as a kid out of high school, to the NBA, to championships, to MVPs, you name it… He wasn’t an idol of mine, but love him or hate him, he was the player I respected the most of my generation. I caught the tail end of Magic and Bird, The Bad Boys in their prime, and MJ fighting to get past those Bad Boys and having a dynasty in Chicago of his own. Kobe however, was someone that I had the pleasure of watching his whole career. This one hit in a different way. Then we received news that his daughter and others were on the plane. This is where it got really emotional because I have 3 girls of my own. I just couldn’t imagine what it was like in those final moments. I definitely wanted to hold my girls a little longer, tell them I love them a few more times, and cherish the moments even more that I had with them. I think it inspired all of us (even though we knew this all along) to take life in. Give it your best in everything you do because the next day isn’t promised, the next hours, minutes, or next breath isn’t promised. Kobe was the ultimate competitor. He left it all on the floor game, after game, after game. The most interesting thing that I remember about Kobe though is that this wasn’t just a basketball philosophy, this was his philosophical approach to life. That is something I admired about him. That is something I respected about him. That was Kobe Bryant. I didn’t grow up a Kobe Bryant fan, but I did grow up respecting the player and man that he was. The tragedy that occurred on that day is one of those “I’ll never forget what I was doing” moments. I’ll never forget how I felt, and the impact it had on my life. R.I.P Kobe, we miss you man.

Card Stock Concepts – The Legends Series

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Kobe Bryant has a superfluous amount of accomplishments. He’s a five-time NBA Champion, a two-time Finals MVP, an NBA MVP, an 18-time All-Star, a four-time All-Star game MVP, an 11-time All NBA First Team, a two-time All NBA Second Team, a two-time All NBA Third Team, a nine-time All NBA Defensive First Team, a three-time All NBA Defensive Second Team, a two-time NBA Scoring Champion, and the list goes on and on. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in May 2021 and it is well deserved for such a robust career. The legend of the Black Mamba will live forever, and you can grab a piece of that history through sports cards. He has a plethora of options, but just as all the greats do he has one iconic card that most want to get their hands on. It’s his Topps and Topps Chrome Rookie Cards.

Kobe’s cards have begun to increase significantly over the past few months. The NBA is in full swing and with that comes the attention on all of the storylines, the history, and the cards. We have already discussed Kobe’s accomplishments, and the fact that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in May. These are all positives for his card prices. The great thing about his iconic cards is that the pop counts really aren’t as high as one would think. If we take a look at his PSA 10 there is only a pop of 2,693, and the PSA 9 a pop of 8,000.For his Topps Chrome PSA 10 there is a pop of 830 and the PSA 9 has a pop of 3,982. Why are these pop counts so important you say? If you take a look at Luka Doncic and his most popular Base Prizm you will see that the PSA 10 has a pop of 15,693 and the PSA 9 10,191. His Prizm Silver PSA 10 has a pop of 1,968 and the PSA 9 has a pop of 1,816. These are huge gaps in population! The point is this. Luka is a fantastic talent and perhaps the possible upside is baked into the current pricing of his offerings, but he hasn’t had nearly the career of Kobe Bryant and may not hit most of these accomplishments outside of All-Star appearances. I am by no means trying to downplay Luka here. This is about Kobe, and at these prices and pop counts he is still one of the best values out there from a Legends perspective. Take a look at the market movers data here:

As I previously mentioned, Kobe’s card prices are really taking off and we can see that plainly on the charts here. There has been an increase in the PSA 10 by 106% over the past 4 months and the PSA 9 has increased by 113% in that same time span. What that looks like in real dollars is that you could’ve purchased the PSA 10 in October for $2,500, but that card is now trending in the $5,000-$6,000 range. In that same time frame the PSA 9 could be purchased in October for around $500, but is now trending a little over $1,000. Remember we are in an interesting span of time as his Hall of Fame induction is coming soon. I think this has given fuel to the fire for his card prices. In terms of a cyclical buying pattern I do think that it’s possible to wait until the season is over to invest in Kobe’s cards, but it may be too little too late if you want to get in at a reasonable price. I think the prices will increase all the way through the Hall of Fame Ceremony, and possibly take a dip after the newness wears off and the season comes to a close, but due to the tragedy, Kobe will forever be enshrined in our hearts and each year in January the cycle will repeat itself. I think now is the time to get in before it’s too late as the dip may not return to what we could’ve paid back in October. The Topps Chrome has followed a similar pattern and the PSA 10 is up 175% while the PSA 9 is up 110%. If I were investing now I think the Topps PSA 10 is way to go due to the slight lag in increased pricing. Both PSA 9s have followed a similar pattern, but there is a huge gap in the PSA 10s percentage increase between the Topps and Topps Chrome. You can take a look at current offerings in the list below.

Sports Card Description Target Price
Kobe Bryant Topps Rookie PSA 10 Target Under $5500
Kobe Bryant Topps Rookie PSA 9 Target Under $1100
Kobe Bryant Topps Chrome Rookie PSA 10 Target Under $25000
Kobe Bryant Topps Chrome Rookie PSA 9 Target Under $8000

As we wrap up this Legends Series article dedicated to Kobe we see that there is still immense upside left in his iconic cards and the time to buy is now. Don’t have a fear of missing out, or let the previous prices over the past few months keep you away from a little piece of history. His impact during his time in the NBA was great, and through this tragedy he may have touched even more people. Thanks to everyone for reading this article and as Kobe would say “Mamba Out”.

About the Author

  • Will Priester (chiefjustICE06)

  • Will Priester, aka chiefjustICE06, has emerged on the DFS scene in the past couple years and finds himself in the top 100 overall rankings for Overall Grinder and Tournament Player of the Year. A former financial advisor and now full-time DFS professional, Will is a new on air personality and contributor for RotoGrinders, He is a top 100 ranked NBA player who also ranks high in the other major sports (NFL and MLB) with several live final appearances under his belt. Expect big things from the Chief in the future!


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