Basketball Cards of the Awesome80s
Welcome to our look at the basketball cards of the Awesome80s! We've
got pages for all the major sets of the decade (and the Super70s
too) as well as a complete checklists. Use the links on the left (under
the green heading "Basketball Cards") to get started.
The first set of the decade would have
been very unpopular, featuring three perforated panels on each standard
sized card, were it not for the inclusion of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson
rookie cards. Basketball cards continued to be unpopular early in the
decade to the extent that Topps exited the industry altogether after its '81-82
set and no major producer created cards at all for the '82-83
The Star Company filled the void to some extent with their limited
distribution team sets in the mid-Awesome80s. Their '84-85
set featuring rookies of Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, and Hakeem
Olajuwon is one of the most valuable basketball card sets of all-time.
Some collectors didn't consider the Star Company cards as legitimate
successors to the Topps sets of previous years and were happy to see Fleer
enter the market in 1986. That set features
a Michael Jordan card that regularly fetches over $1K.
By the end of the Awesome80s, both Fleer
and NBA Hoops were producing sets. The market
for basketball cards was exploding along with the popularity of the sport
itself. This would have been hard to imagine in the dark days of 1982,
when Topps gave up and some NBA teams were near solvency!