Kobe Bryant has close to seven thousand unique NBA-licensed trading cards, according to Beckett’s massive online database. As the Los Angeles Trading Card Examiner, I feel an obligation to let people know about these cards, whether they collect the Black Mamba or not. Come back tomorrow for another Kobe Bryant card to look and admire and wish you had and if you like the Clippers superstar Blake Griffin, check out the Blake Griffin Card of the Day.
Card: 1996-97 Topps NBA Draft Redemption Card
- Card is number #13 (Kobe’s draft position in 1996)
- Features prism foil technolgy not unlike what you see in X-Fractors today
- Most recent eBay sale: $222.50 in Gem Mint condition (graded by Beckett Grading Services)
- Kobe was orginally drafted by Charlotte Hornets, but was traded to the Lakers a few weeks later for center Vlade Divac
- Contrary to popular belief, Kobe didn’t force his way to Los Angeles
- Description of the redemption process according to Beckett: “These trade cards were randomly inserted in first series [1996-97 Topps Series 1 Basketball] packs at a rate of one in 18. Each trade card has a number printed on front that corresponds to each draft position of the first round of the 1996 NBA draft. Collectors that exchanged their trade card would then receive an exchange card picturing the player selected at that spot in the draft. The Draft Redemption trade deadline was April 1, 1997. Cards number 14 and 23 were not issued as they did not sign NBA contracts during this promotion. Both [former Sacramento Kings forward Peja] Stojakovic and [Greek player and Philadelphia 76er backup center Efthimios] Retzias were foreign players who continued playing overseas.”
- Back of the card reads: “Bryant’s gig as a high school-to-NBA “project was, at times, astounding. He often seemed more like a finished product than prject, scoring in explosive bunches with his array of moves off the dribble and surprisingly true three-point shot. He debuted in November as the younger-ever NBA player.”
- That youngest-ever distinction has seen been broken by Jermaine O’Neal and Bryant’s teammate Andrew Bynum
- Suprisingly true three-point shot? If there was one thing Bryant didn’t have in the early days, it was a “true” three-point shot
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