Iconic rookie card for every NBA team continues with the Western Conference
The first half of the Western Conference begins with the rookie card of the best shooter in basketball history…
Golden State Warriors
Wilt Chamberlain’s rookie card from the 1961–1962 Fleer collection was the hardest one to leave off this list. The 2009–10 Topps Curry rookie card featuring the baby-faced point guard it is one of the must–have cards of this generation. It also comes in a 999-card limited edition Topps Chrome version.
Portand Trail Blazers
Clyde Drexler’s rookie card was another option from the renowned 1986–1987 Fleer collection, but Damian Lillard, a current superstar, and his Panini Prizm rookie is my choice. Grab one of the 11 distinct Arvydas Sabonis rookie cards in his collection if you have a few extra dollars to spare.
Since they shared 18 seasons throughout their Hall of Fame careers, the 1986–87 Fleer Karl Malone rookie card could be ranked No. 1A, since I’m going with the 1988–89 Fleer John Stockton rookie card as No. 1 on the Utah Jazz list.
The first two years of the Topps Finest product line included rookie cards of Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, and Jason Kidd. The best early rookie card from Finest, however, belongs to Kevin Garnett in the 1995–96 collection. It is also the most expensive and well-known of KG’s 15 distinct rookie cards.
Steve Nash was originally selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 15 overall choice in the 1996 NBA Draft. After playing for the Suns for two seasons and the Dallas Mavericks for six seasons, he returned to Phoenix and won back-to-back MVP honors. In the 1996–97 Topps Chrome set, his rookie comes in second to Kobe Bryant, but it still has plenty of value on its own.
Expect Ja Morant to make his way to the top of this list soon. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the Grizzlies’ first real star, takes the top spot today with his own ’96 Topps Chrome. In his five seasons with the organization, he averaged 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds. He was eventually moved to Atlanta on draft night in 2001 in exchange for Pau Gasol.
Nikola Jokic already has a compelling argument for being the greatest player in Nuggets history, having won back-to-back MVP titles. The greatest of his base-level rookie cards is the 2015-16 Panini Prizm is still reasonably priced with raw copies going for little over $100 on eBay.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers don’t exactly have a lengthy, glorious history of success and superstar skill, and Chris Paul, who is widely regarded as the best player in team history, actually started his career elsewhere. Instead, we’ll use Blake Griffin’s Topps rookie card, who was the first overall choice in the 2009 NBA and a genuine superstar at his height.
PART 4 of the NBA's most iconic rookie cards COMING SOON.
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