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The Tokyo Summer Games mark the 20th time that Men’s Basketball has been included as an Olympic Sport. Of the previous 19 tournaments, the United States has won gold 15 times and only missed the medal stand in the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow when the United States completely boycotted the global competition. Simply put, the United States has absolutely dominated Men’s Basketball at the Olympics as anything less than winning a Gold has been viewed as a failure.
For the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the United States featured professional basketball players for the first time ever. The 1992 Dream Team included all-time greats like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. The only team that is ever even mentioned in the same breath as the 1992 team is the 2012 team that took home gold and was made up of a core that included LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. It comes as no surprise that members of Team USA’s 1992 and 2012 make up a majority of our list of the most expensive basketball cards on StockX of players who represented Team USA at the Olympics.
LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Carmelo Anthony 2003 Fleer Rookie #300 BGS 9.5
The LeBron James/Dwayne Wade/Carmelo Anthony 2003 Fleer Rookie #300 is quite the card to be kicking off this list. Not only does it feature three of the top five picks from the 2003 NBA Draft, but all three players also went on to represent Team USA at multiple Olympics winning at least one gold medal each. While LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have both accomplished more in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony actually stands head and shoulders above them in Olympic competitions.
Heading into this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Carmelo is Team USA’s all-time Olympic scoring leader, rebounding leader, and has played the most games in the team’s history. Among the individual accolades, Carmelo is also the first player in Team USA Basketball history to have won three gold medals, and four medals total as he was part of the 2004 team that took home bronze. The LeBron James/Dwayne Wade/Carmelo Anthony 2003 Fleer Rookie BGS 9.5 has sold for as much as $4,000 on StockX.
Dwyane Wade 2003 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor #115 PSA 10
Two spots in, and Dwayne Wade is already making his second appearance on the list. During his career, Wade represented the USA twice at the Olympics. Wade’s first stint at the Olympics was in 2004, which is widely remembered as being the most disappointing USA Men’s Basketball Team in history when they took home bronze. Up to this point in history, the 2004 Men’s Basketball team is the only one that has not won gold since the USA began featuring professional basketball players on the team.
However, Dwayne Wade played a major role for the famous “Redeem Team” at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Wade led the 2008 team in scoring including a game-high 27 points in the gold medal game against Spain. Team USA went undefeated at the 2008 tournament on their way to a gold medal. While Wade had plenty of success in the NBA, his 2008 Olympic performance certainly is part of his legacy that helped the Dwayne Wade 2003 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor #115 PSA 10 sell for $5,000.
Devin Booker 2015 Panini Prizm Silver Rookie #308 PSA 10
Devin Booker is making his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games this summer, and so far his performance has been inconsistent. Of course, part of the inconsistency could come from the fact that Booker is one of three players representing the USA in basketball this year who joined the team less than a week after playing in the NBA Finals.
In his first game at the Olympics, Booker only managed 4 points on making only one field goal in six attempts during a jarring loss to France. His follow-up performance saw a great improvement as he dropped 16 points in a blowout win over Iran. While Booker’s Olympic career is just getting started, there is no question that the 24-year-old has the potential to play a huge role moving forward for the USA. For now, it is safe to say that the $5,000 sale of the Devin Booker 2015 Panini Prizm Silver #308 PSA 10 on StockX has everything to do with Booker’s performance in the NBA. If he manages to lead the 2021 edition of Team USA to a gold medal, this card could see a spike in the near future.
Allen Iverson 1996 Topps Chrome Rookie #171 PSA 10
Allen Iverson’s Olympic career was short-lived and heavily scrutinized. Iverson was one of the biggest names at the time to represent Team USA at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The 2004 team did include LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, but all three were coming off of their rookie seasons in the NBA and were not even starters in the Olympics. Allen Iverson led the US in scoring at the 2004 tournament, but unfortunately, the team’s three losses in the competition and only taking home bronze has always overshadowed Iverson’s individual performance at the games.
The 2004 Men’s Olympic Basketball team is the only team that has not won gold since professionals became eligible to participate in 1992. Despite never winning gold, Iverson’s individual accomplishments in the NBA have made his cards some of the most valuable from his era. The Allen Iverson 1996 Topps Chrome Rookie #171 PSA 10 has sold for as high as $6,500 on StockX.
James Harden 2009 Topps Rookie #319 PSA 10
Much like Iverson, James Harden has only played in one Olympics. Unlike Iverson, Harden really did not contribute much to a team that was stacked with talent, but he did manage to walk away with a gold medal to his name.
Competing for playing time with a backcourt that featured Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams, Harden only managed about nine minutes per game, averaging just over five points. This stat line becomes even more shocking when you realize James Harden has won three NBA scoring championships since the 2012 Olympics. While it really has very little to do with Harden’s Olympic career, the James Harden 2009 Topps Rookie #319 PSA 10 sold for $7,500 in February 2021 on StockX shortly after he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Shaquille O’Neal 1992 Topps Gold Rookie #362 PSA 10
Shaquille O’Neal was infamously left off of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, as Duke standout Christian Laettner was selected over O’Neal for the last spot. O’Neal would have to wait until the 1996 games in Atlanta to make his Olympic team debut. In the Olympic tournament, O’Neal would pitch in nine points per game as the USA took home gold at the 1996 tournament.
However, O’Neal’s time as a member of Team USA is probably best remembered for making headlines by signing with the Los Angeles Lakers during his first full day at the Olympics. O’Neal would go on to win four NBA Championships and an NBA league MVP to help the rare Shaquille O’Neal 1992 Topps Gold Rookie #362 PSA 10 sell for $9,000 on StockX.
Kevin Durant 2007 Topps Chrome Rookie #131 PSA 10
The Tokyo Olympics are off to a shaky start for Team USA, but if Kevin Durant can somehow turn Team USA around and take home a gold he will enter the conversation for being one of the greatest members of the US Olympic Men’s Basketball players ever. As it stands right now, Durant has won two gold medals, one in 2012 and one in 2016, and is only six points away from surpassing Carmelo Anthony to become the all-time leading scorer in USA Olympic Basketball history.
Durant and the USA certainly have a lot to prove in Tokyo, but Durant is one of the most decorated Basketball players in the NBA and in Global competitions helping the Kevin Durant 2007 Topps Chrome Rookie #131 PSA 10 sell for an astounding $11,075 on StockX in March of 2021.
Larry Bird/Julius Erving/Magic Johnson 1980 Topps Scoring Leader PSA 8
The Larry Bird/Julius Erving/Magic Johnson 1980 Topps Scoring Leader card may be the most special on this entire list. Not only does it feature three of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, but two of those players, Bird and Johnson, were members of the 1992 gold medal champion USA Men’s Basketball Dream Team. It is fairly safe to say that the only thing that prevented Julius Erving from representing the USA at the Olympics was a rule that prohibited professionals from participating in the global contest that was not overturned until after Julius Erving’s retirement.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were both solid contributors to the team each averaging 18 minutes and 8 points per game. For Magic Johnson, the feat was all the more impressive as he joined the team less than a year after testing positive for HIV and retiring from the NBA. The historic Larry Bird/Julius Erving/Magic Johnson 1980 Topps Scoring Leader card PSA 8 has currently peaked at $11,200 on StockX.
Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Rookie #138 PSA 10
There is pretty much nothing that Kobe Bryant didn’t accomplish during his career. Aside from all of his NBA accolades, Kobe also has two Olympic gold medals on his resume. Due to personal conflicts, Bryant was not able to join Team USA at the Olympic games in 2000 and 2004. In 2008 he made his debut and did not disappoint, averaging 12 points per game, including dropping 20 on Spain in the gold medal game. In 2012 he joined the team one more time and took home one more gold.
Bryant retired from Team USA after the 2012 Olympics finishing his international career with a perfect 26-0 record. With Kobe being one of the most loved and decorated figures in all of sports, it is easy to see why the Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Rookie #138 PSA 10 has sold for as much as $11,500 on StockX.
Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie #57 PSA 9
When it comes to the Olympics, Michael Jordan’s name is synonymous with the 1992 Dream Team, which is still considered to be the greatest team ever assembled in Olympic history. Jordan did not have a bad tournament by any measure, but it may be surprising to know that he did not lead Team USA in any statistical category, and actually ranked dead last amongst his teammates in field goal percentage. You do have to take into consideration that Jordan had just finished capping off his second straight NBA Championship heading into the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Michael Jordan was undeniably the leader of the team helping them cruise to an undefeated record and gold medal with their closest margin of victory being a 38 point blowout in the semifinals over Puerto Rico. Combining Jordan’s NBA career accomplishments with a perfect Olympic record and you have the recipe for a very valuable trading card. The Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie #57 PSA 9 has sold for $28,000 on StockX.
LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Rookie #111 PSA 10
Earning the top spot on the list is LeBron James who has played in three Olympic games, 2004, 2008, and 2012. James’s Olympic career got off to a disappointing start in 2004 as part of the Allen Iverson-led team that earned a bronze medal, but he saw limited playing time in the competition coming off the bench and averaging 5 points per game.
He made his impact felt on the 2008 Redeem Team that won gold as he led the team in total minutes played and finished second in scoring. He was also the face of the 2012 USA Olympic Basketball team that took home gold and is the only team considered to be even close to the 1992 Dream Team in terms of talent. The fact that two Olympic gold medals are a footnote in LeBron James’ career is part of the reason the LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Rookie #111 PSA 10 has sold for $33,348 on StockX.