Part two of the NBA’s most iconic rookie cards continues with a legendary cast…
Below you will find the rookie cards of the remaining Eastern Conference Teams.
Shaquille O’Neal had an exclusive arrangement with “Classic” and was therefore initially ineligible to be included in 1992–93 items. Upper Deck discovered a gap in the form of a redemption card for the “No. 1 Draft Pick.” Shaq’s 1992-93 Upper Deck #1b card quickly became a sought-after item when he made his debut.
New York Knicks
Yes, another card from the 1986–1987 Fleer set: Patrick Ewing’s #32. As the force in the middle for 15 seasons, Patrick Ewing was the face of the Knicks. He was selected to 11 All-Star games and averaged 22.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks a game.
Brian Taylor and Derrick Coleman both won Rookie of the Year honors while wearing a Nets jersey, but neither one really met the criteria for a legendary player. I had to do a bit of research to select someone I never actually saw play, but Buck Williams and his #123 in the 1986-87 Fleer set deserves the recognition here.
In his eight years with the organization, the forward averaged 16.4 points and 11.9 rebounds, a solid stat line to support his rookie cards long-term.
With all due respect to Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh, DeMar DeRozan, and current talents Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, Vince Carter is the most recognizable player in Raptors history. The 1998–99 SP Authentic card for the eight-time All-Star is the most expensive of his rookie cards, but the classic white Raptors jersey seems to be a perfect match for that set.
Dwyane Wade is without a doubt the greatest homegrown player in Heat history. His 2003-04 Topps Chrome card is the finest of the bunch among his standard rookie options, and he was a member of the same rookie class as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James. Glen Rice’s 1990–1991 Hoops rookie card is worth a look if you’re searching for a fantastic card for less than $1.
This was a toss up between Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson. Iverson was the first overall pick in the 1996 draft and led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001. He also won four scoring titles and an MVP award, making his 1996-97 Topps Chrome #171 card “The Answer.”
It’s important to note that Julius “Dr. J” Erving was representing the Virginia Squires (ABA) on his rookie cards.
Wes Unseld, who played for the Baltimore Bullets before they changed their name to the Washington Bullets, was one of the best rebounders in NBA history. His 1969-70 Topps #56 card is included in a set that contains significant rookie cards of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Havlicek, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed, Elvin Hayes, and Earl Monroe.
PART 3 of the NBA's most iconic rookie cards COMING SOON.
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