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Michael Jordan

Summary & Career Highlights

Rookie Year: 1984-1985

Iconic Rookie Card: 1986-87 Fleer OR 1984-1985 Star depending on who you ask

Highest Public Sale2003-04 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Logos Signature Logoman for $2.9M

Similar Career Players: Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Chris Paul, Jerry West, John Stockton, James Harden, Kobe Bryant

Players with Similar Cards to Check Out: Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady 


Career Highlights

  • 6x NBA Championships (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)

  • 6x NBA Finals MVP

  • 5x MVP (1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98) 

  • 14x All Star

  • 11x All NBA Teams (10x First All NBA, 1x Second All NBA)

  • All Time Career Points Per Game Leader (30.1)

  • 1984-85 Rookie of the Year

Iconic Cards

Michael Jordan's notable cards are broadly separated into three different archetypes: i) Early mass-printed cards, ii) Mid-90's inserts and parallels, and iii) Late playing days or post playing days autograph and memorabilia cards. His cards carry a significant premium compared to his contemporaries, so be forewarned as you pursue any cards mentioned here. 


To help you navigate through the notable cards, we've developed a simple yet informative Icon Key. This key is designed to quickly communicate both the estimated cost and rarity of each card in our collection at a glance.


Icon Key

Estimated Cost:

💰 - Under $250

💰💰 - Under $1,000

💰💰💰 -  Under $5,000

💰💰💰💰 -  Under $15,000

💰💰💰💰💰 - Over $15,000


Rarity

💎 - Common, High Serial Number

💎💎 - Serial Numbered or Less Than 200 in Population

💎💎💎 - Serial Numbered or Less Than 100 in Population

💎💎💎💎 - Serial Number or Less Than 50 in Population

💎💎💎💎💎 - Extremely Rare: Serial Numbered or Less Than 10 in Population

1984-85 Star

#101
1998 Metal Universe PMG Front
1998 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰 

Rarity: 💎


About the Card:  The 1984-85 Star card IS Jordan's first official NBA licensed card. But, collectors initially hesitated embracing it like they did the 1986-87 Fleer due to authenticity concerns. The Star rookie was not only a target for counterfeiters, but it was also revealed that Star restarted their presses at the end of the 1985-86 season to produce more cards, long after the original run ended. These issues led major grading companies to avoid grading these cards for much of the '90s and early '00s. However, the tide turned in 2008 when Beckett began grading the set, with PSA recently joining in July 2022.

1986-87 Fleer

#57
1999 Metal Universe PMG Front
1999 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰-💰💰💰💰💰 

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: The 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan card is one of the most iconic and sought-after basketball cards. The card captures Jordan mid-air as he goes for a dunk set back from a border built with a classic 1980s aesthetic - bold red, white, and blue - that mirrors the Fleer logo. The card's reached new heights during COVID when a PSA 10 copy sold at a PWCC Premier Auction for $840,000. The card has dropped considerably since then and is readily available at reasonable prices in lower grades for those interested.

1986-87 Fleer Sticker

#8
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Front
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: 1986-87 Fleer boxes were manufactured with 36 packs, each containing 12 cards from the base checklist and one sticker from a separate 11 card checklist. While the Fleer stickers are not as sought after as their base counterparts, they are stickers after all, collectors view this as a chance to acquire a Jordan rookie at a fraction of the price of base card. The fact that all 11 subjects in the checklist are Hall of Famers also helps out collectability, especially amongst set collectors.

1993-94 Finest

#1 Refractor
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Front
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: 1993-94 ushered in the dawn of Jordan's "Shiny" card era starting with the debut introduction of Finest. Hot off the heels of the immensely popular 1993 Finest baseball release, Topps brought the now iconic set to basketball and with it, Jordan's FIRST refractor. In the pantheon of Jordan "Firsts",  the '93 Finest is one of the more affordable you'll be able to find.  Watch out for greening though, cards printed on Chromium stock in the early to mid-90's fall victim to a green shading that's caused by a chemical reaction between the card stock and the ink that was used. 

1996-97 Topps Chrome

#139 Refractor
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Front
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎-💎💎💎


About the Card: The 1996-97 season was right in the heart of Jordan's second set of championship runs. It also coincides with the start of an unparalleled run of parallels and inserts produced from Topps, Skybox, and Upper Deck, starting with the premier issue of 1996-97 Topps Chrome. Just like the debut of Finest, the refractor was the only parallel in the release. On top of notable firsts coming from the debut issue, 1996-1997 Topps Chrome featured rookie cards of hall of famers: Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and Steve Nash that do much of the heavy lifting in popularizing the set amongst collectors.

1997-98 E-X2001

#6JB Jambalaya
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: The folks over at Arena Design and Skybox created a few noteworthy inserts in the 1996-97 products which were relatively rare for the time (Avg. of 1 in ~100 packs), but 1997-98 took insert rarity to another stratosphere. 1997-1998 EX-2001 featured the most rare parallel Skybox produced to date, Jambalaya which fell at an average of 1 in every 720 packs and has less than 200 copies graded. The card's design features an oval die-cut with a bold pop of red and green 3D holographic effects on the front with Jordan's profile set in front of a pop of purple.  

1997-98 Metal Universe

#23 Green Precious Metal Gems /10
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Front
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎💎


About the Card: 1997-98 Metal Universe introduced one of the most rare and sought-after parallels of the 90's in the Green Precious Metal Gems (PMG). Although the '97 PMG's were serial numbered to 100, the first 10 cards were printed on extremely sensitive green foil while the remaining 90 in the run were printed on red foil. The ultra rare green PMG is a true grail level chase. Its popularity amongst the collecting community is ubiquitous with the 90's, Jordan, and has spawned over a dozen tribute sets across sports.

1997-98 Upper Deck

#GJ13S Game Jerseys Autograph /23

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The origins of the jersey card and patch autos can be traced back to 1997-98 Upper Deck basketball which was the first to introduce both in their iconic release. The Jordan Game Jersey Auto hand numbered to 23 copies remains the highest selling Michael Jordan card of all time selling for just over $2M in May 2021 and $2.7M in October 2021. If you don't happen to have $2M-$3M available to purchase a copy of your own, the non-auto Game Jersey card still holds a significant place in the hobby as Michael Jordan's first game worn jersey card and can be found for a fraction of the price.

1998-99 Skybox Premium

#23 Star Rubies /50
Quantum_Leap_Front
Quantum_Leap_Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: Skybox Premium had been around since the 1993-94 season, but the Star Rubies parallel wasn't introduced until the 1996-97 release. Skybox's initial attempt at creating an differentiated parallel missed the mark. Not to be deterred, Skybox introduced a bolder design in the 1997-98 release and introduced serial numbering to the parallel set limiting the print run to just 50 copies. Learning from their previous releases, Skybox iterated on previous designs to establish an offering that many collectors regard as the most appealing Star Rubies parallels in the 1998-99 release.

1998-99 Fleer Tradition

#9PT Playmakers Theatre /100
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e8dKUpR3idi5GHCg1YYT-back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: The ornate curtain design of the 1998-99 Fleer Tradition Playmaker's Theatre insert may not be everyone's cup of tea, but its one of only a few Jordan inserts with serial numbers under 100 during this era. Playmaker's Theatre features Jordan driving to the basket in front of a fancy looking theatre curtain printed on gold refractor card stock and textured with detailed embossing. It may not look it from scans, but the finish of this card makes it one of the most intricate designs of the 90's. Layer on the rarity (Serial numbered to 100) and you have the recipe for a notable Jordan insert.

1998-99 Skybox Molten Metal

#41F Fusion Titanium /40
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N4oSEBlFQE1sV1DTvi0G-back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The 1998-99 Skybox Molten Metal Fusion Titanium /40 is considered to be in the upper echelon of Jordan's playing days offerings. Rare? Check. Innovative Design? Check. Gold? Check. The card was printed on gold card stock and used gold holofoil to emphasize the player's name, but the uniqueness of the insert was the die cut. The design relied on a technique called, "Pointillism"  - that uses a series of dots to create an image rather than traditional strokes. Dots were punched out of the card stock using laser etching to create Jordan's profile and the card's serial number.

1999-00 Upper Deck

#FF3A Final Floor Autograph /23
Nomar_StarQuest_Gold_Front.jpg
Nomar_StarQuest_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰-💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎 * (11 Memorabilia Autos in Set)


About the Card: MJ won his 6th and final championship with the Bulls on a last-second step back in game six of the '98-99 NBA Finals. Upper Deck capitalized on the moment and secured large swathes of the floor to include in a memorabilia insert set called "MJ's Final Floor" in 1999-00 Upper Deck basketball. The set featured 11 different mem designs featuring a piece of the floor. Accompanying the non-numbered mem cards were two autographed versions, one of which was a one-of-one and one that was hand numbered to 23. 

2003-04 Exquisite Collection

#LL-MJ Limited Logos /75
Nomar_Pinnacle_Certified_Mirror_Gold_Front.jpg
Nomar_Pinnacle_Certified_Mirror_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: 2003-04 Exquisite basketball was a perfect blend of innovation and timing. Upper Deck introduced their first luxury basketball card set around LeBron James and the loaded 2003 draft class. Many collectors view the inaugural Exquisite set as "LeBron's", but Jordan was also heavily featured across almost all of the insert sets, including the debut of Limited Logos. Numbered to just 75 copies in the first year of release, the Limited Logos insert is iconic for its massive patch window and bold on card autographs. 

2003-04 Exquisite Collection

#NN-MJ Noble Nameplate /25
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: Continuing our exploration of the Michael Jordan cards included in 2003-04 Exquisite, we find his Noble Nameplates /25. While the design of the Limited Logos cards look to capitalize on patch size, Noble Nameplates looks to capitalize on quality, featuring a smaller patch taken from the Player's name on the back of their jersey. For collectors looking for other Michael Jordan autographed cards in the Exquisite debut, he was also featured in the Base Patch Autograph set, Emblems of Endorsement, Exquisite Patch Auto, Exquisite Number Pieces Auto, and Scripted Swatches autos. 

2003-04 SP Authentic

#JJA SP Dual Signatures Jordan/LeBron
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: MJ and LeBron have less than 50 dual on-card autographs, with 15 of those cards coming through mythical 1/1's. Demand for on-card autos featuring both "GOATS" far exceeds the supply and had been capped with Upper Deck securing exclusive autograph deals with both players despite losing the license to Panini in 2010. One of the earliest dual on-card autos of the two icons was the 2003-04 SP Authentic Dual Signatures release. While not numbered, there have only been 14 public sales of this card between 2004 and 2023 that confirms the rarity of this early issuance.

A Few of My Favorites

It was very difficult to limit my favorites here to just five given the number of memorable cards featuring Jordan. But I decided to choose cards that represent quintessential and iconic 90's inserts. While his rarest inserts often come with price tags reflecting his legendary status, there's an abundant selection of affordable yet rare cards with intriguing designs. Here are some of my personal favorites that are definitely worth exploring.

1996-97 Skybox E-X2000

#5 A Cut Above
Nomar_1999_Skybox_Premium_Spring_Fling_Star_Rubies_Front.jpg
Nomar_1999_Skybox_Premium_Spring_Fling_Star_Rubies_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: As someone who collects cards across multiple sports, its very appealing to me when an insert or a card design is featured in licensed releases across basketball, football, and baseball sets. 1996-97 E-X2000 basketball and football and 1997 E-X2000 baseball all featured "A Cut Above" die-cut insert that features a table saw blade (Or ninja throwing star depending on who you ask) printed on foil card stock. While not numbered, the pack odds were 1:288 making it one of the more rare insert of the late 90's.

1997-98 Ultra

#1 Stars Gold
F15.jpg
Tf0tYChzDHGN8sIN2HbX-back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: The 1997-98 Ultra Stars Gold is one of the rarest inserts of Jordan's playing days. While the Stars insert had pack odds of 1:288, only 10% of those cards were printed on the gold holofoil making the Ultra Stars Gold a mythical chase of 1:2,880 packs. On top of the rarity, the color and dimensionality of this card really set it apart from other inserts during the era and makes this a special card.

1996-97 Skybox Z-Force

#4 Big Man on Court Die Cut
F15.jpg
Tf0tYChzDHGN8sIN2HbX-back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: What can I say? I'm a 90's kid loving the appeal of the 90's insert designs. The "Big Man on Court" insert set (Also referred to as "Big Men on Court") features bright red and blue colors outlined by a pop of yellow on the front and green on the back of the card. Like "A Cut Above" the insert was not serial numbered, but was considered rare with pack odds of 1:240. Though the rarity pales in comparison to its foil printed counterpart, the "Big Man on Court Z-Peat" which fell 1:1,120 packs for the aspiring grail chasers out there.

1998-99 Skybox E-X Century

#15-DG Dunk 'N Go-Nuts
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Front.jpg
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: Skybox and Arena Design has popped up more than a few times in Jordan's Player Profile, but out of all the cards covered, this is my favorite. The Dunk 'N Go-Nuts was a 20 card insert set included in 1998-99 Skybox E-X Century. Its not an overly rare insert (1:36 packs) compared to some of its contemporaries, but the combination of the homage to "Dunkin Donuts", acetate card stock, and Jordan mid-dunk makes this card a win-win-win in my book. For aspiring set collectors, the 20 card checklist is fairly attainable and includes 9 Hall of Famers (10 if you include Vince Carter who's a lock for induction).

1998-99 Skybox Thunder

#9 Noyz Boyz
Nomar_1998_Finest_Centurion_Refractor_Front.jpg
Nomar_1998_Finest_Centurion_Refractor_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: The Noyz Boyz die cut was an insert released in 1998-99 Skybox Thunder printed on lenticular card stock which was the technology 3-D cards prominently featured in the early 90's were printed on. The insert had pack odds of 1:300 making it one of the rarer inserts of MJ's playing days. 


Bonus: Check out Cajun Cardboard's deep dive on Noyz Boyz here if you're looking for a comprehensive look.

Honorable Mentions

  • 1992-93 Stadium Club #1 Beam Team 

  • 1993-94 Ultra #5 Scoring Kings

  • 1995-96 Skybox E-XL #1 Natural Born Thrillers

  • 1995-96 Finest #229 Refractor

  • 1996-97 Finest #291 Gold Refractor

  • 1996-97 Flair Showcase #23 Legacy Collection /150

  • 1996-97 Fleer #6 Thrill Seekers

  • 1996-97 Fleer Tradition #6 Electrifying

  • 1996-97 Metal #5 Net-Rageous

  • 1996-97 Skybox Premium #1GT Golden Touch

  • 1996-97 Ultra #P-16 & #P-280 Platinum Medallion

  • 1997-98 E-X2001 #9 Essential Credentials Now and Future /9 and /72

  • 1997-98 Finest #154 Die Cut Embossed Refractor /74

  • 1997-98 Hoops #4 Frequent Flyer Club Upgrade

  • 1997-98 Hoops #HV14 High Voltage 500 Volts /500

  • 1997-98 Metal Universe Championship #23 Precious Metal Gems /50

  • 1997-98 Metal Universe #1 Platinum Portraits

  • 1997-98 SPx #5 Grand Finale /50

  • 1997-98 Ultra #1 Star Power Supreme

  • 1998-99 Fleer Tradition #23 Classic '61 /61

  • 1998-99 Metal Universe #8 Linchpins

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