Kevin Garnett may be amongst the ranks of retired players now. But his 21-season career will go down in history as one of the most influential. His cards are still highly sought after. After all, he’s one of the games national treasures and remains one the most as popular players in recent memory.
He set a standard for what it meant to be an NBA player. And he proved that you don’t have to play college ball to make it as a great player.
So, just how much is a Kevin Garnett Rookie Card worth?
Over the course of Kevin Garnett’s career, his likeness was used to create more than 700 cards but only 15 came from his rookie season. Of those 15 cards, some are valued as high as $1,000, such as his 1995-96 Topps Finest Base card. Compared to players of a similar caliber, though, Kevin Garnett has fewer autographed items and his cards generally are not valued as highly.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the career of this American Former professional basketball player as well as three of his most expensive basketball trading cards.
We’ll take a look at the 3 most valuable Kevin Garnett rookie cards. We’ll also discuss why Kevin Garnett basketball cards usually don’t have the same average selling price as Kobe and AI first-year cards.
An Overview of Kevin Garnett’s Career and Cards
Kevin Garnett was drafted out of high school in the 1995 National Basketball Association draft as the 5th overall NBA draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. This makes him one of the few players in league history to make his pro transition into the NBA without playing college basketball.
He was immediately thrust into the starting lineup and had an immediate impact on the team. Quickly proving himself as one of their most valuable players..
In his rookie season, he averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. He was named to the All-Rookie Second Team and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. Garnett quickly became the face of the franchise and would go on to have a Hall of Fame career.
By the time he retired in 2016, Garnett was one of the most decorated players in NBA history and his impact on the game cannot be understated. He, along with his close friend Allen Iverson, were true pioneers and changed the way basketball was played. He was a true power forward who could shoot, dribble, and pass. And he is now considered the prototype for the modern NBA player. You can learn more about Garnett’s friend Allen Iverson and his cards in another of our posts.
So, that’s a bit of the background covered. Lets get into the detail and explore the 2 most valuable Kevin Garnett Rookie cards below.
The Most Expensive Kevin Garnett Basketball Cards
Compared to the Kobe Bryant rookie card worth. Kevin Garnett’s basketball cards usually don’t net as much profit on the open market. During much of his professional career, he had a standing contract with Upper Deck. This was at a time when they exclusively focused on junk wax cards.
Therefore, many of his cards haven’t held up over time and they lack the appeal that other brands.
Nevertheless, the following three rookie cards have stood the test of time and appreciated in value. The values we’ll mention are based on Grade 10 GEM-MT cards. So, if you own one, don’t expect to earn the exact same value for your piece.
1. 1995-96 Topps Finest #115 Kevin Garnett
Unlike most rookie season draft sports cards, Kevin Garnett’s 1995-96 Topps Finest card depicts him in a simple suit with a beaming smile just after being drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves. This card is deceptively simple, with a dark neon background and a golden frame surrounding Garnett’s profile.
According to PSA, there are roughly 800 Grade PSA 10s GEM-MT copies of this card. Meaning it’s not exactly rare but the unique styling and the fact that only 15 Kevin Garnett rookie cards were made have helped to increase its value.
Today, depending on its condition, this card can easily sell for $300. Some have even gone up to $1,000 at auction making it his most expensive sports card.
2. 1995-96 Topps Kevin Garnett Rookie #237
In the same year that they released their Finest collection, Topps also released a base card set featuring Kevin Garnett in his rookie season. Card #237 depicts Garnett mid-game, focused on guarding the ball.
The card is relatively simple compared to the more expensive Topps Finest version. With a standard white frame on Wood-Cel cardstock it is basic. But it’s a decent second choice for die-hard Kevin Garnett fans.
To date, PSA has graded 3,655 of these cards with the overwhelming majority receiving a Grade 9 rating. This relatively large supply has caused the value to remain fairly low but, with only 657 Grade 10 GEM-MT cards on record, a top-condition copy can sell for as much as $550.
3. 1995-96 Skybox E-XL Kevin Garnett Rookie #49 Blue
Last but not least, we’ve got the 1995-96 Skybox E-XL Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #49 Blue. Again, this rookie card breaks with tradition by framing Garnett in an iconic portrait photo, foreshadowing his upcoming career as an NBA legend. The rest of the card is fairly subdued with a dark blue frame, the E-XL logo, and Kevin Garnett’s name in gold lettering.
To date, PSA has only graded 556 of these cards, with the majority receiving a Grade 9 rating. With only 186 Grade 10 GEM-MT cards in circulation, this is definitely a card to watch. We imagine it will surely increase in value over the years. Currently, it retails for around $100 but some have sold for as much as $500.
The Bottom Line
Although Kevin Garnett’s finest rookie card won’t earn as much as other players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman or a Lebron James rookie card. They are still some of his most valuable cards on the market.
His first and finest true rookie card, the Topps set 1995-96 #115 is not only the most expensive Kevin Garnett rookie card but also an excellent trade card.
Garnett may not be considered one of the games’ greatest players ever. But his cards have become an increasingly good investment and are sure to continue to appreciate in value in the sports card hobby.
So, if you’re a fan of Kevin Garnett or just love collecting basketball cards, be sure to keep an eye out for the three gems we have highlighted and you could be onto a good thing.
If you are new to collecting then please read our other article to learn more about rookie cards.