1980-81 Topps Basketball Cards

1980-81 Topps Basketball Cards

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On one hand, this was a set that featured something Topps had never tried before. Featuring three cards in a panel is something that had been done in insert sets, but never as part of a base set. On the other hand, it created one of the more iconic cards of its era by pairing up two legendary rookies and one of the game's biggest stars.

There are 264 numbered cards in the 1980-'81 Topps basketball set, which breaks down into 88 perforated panels of three cards each. However, Topps used two printing sheets and changed the players around. As a result, a complete panel set includes 176 different items, which actually holds two complete sets. That might seem confusing to a collector starting on the set, and it has certainly affected the set's collectability over the years.

Each individual card is 1 1/6 inches by 2 ½ inches. A player photo is surrounded by a solid-colored line that appears to spell out the name of his team in a cursive style at the bottom of the card (it's the same font that was used in the 1978 Topps baseball set). Below the team name are the player's name and position. The backs are fairly basic since there is so little space: a black line across the top includes the player's name and a card number, with vital stats below it. A very short write-up is found, and then the stats for the 1979/80 season and a line of career totals. Off to the right is a small blue box with a cartoon inside about a highlight from the player's career. Cards are printed on white stock, which makes them a lot easier to read.

Since the number of cards doubled from the previous year, subsets return to the basketball set, each with different back designs. Team Leaders in several different categories are scattered through the set. There are also Slam Dunk cards that run from card #253-264. All-Stars appear on cards #1-18, and they feature checklist backs.

The key card to the set features the rookie cards of both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, with Julius Erving's Team Leader card in the center. The Bird and Johnson rookie appear on other panels, but they're not valued anywhere near as highly as the two players together. Cards that have been detached are considered to be damaged and rate no higher than Poor condition.

With the larger set size, there are a lot more rookies than could fit in the past several years' worth of sets. Besides Bird and Johnson, notable rookies include Michael Ray Richardson, Purvis Short, Freeman Williams, Maurice Cheeks, Bill Cartwright, Tree Rollins, Michael Cooper and Sidney Moncrief.

Key 1980-81 Topps Basketball Cards:

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1815285786214040 1 Image
magic johnson 1980-81 topps card #21 rare hot inv2080
$7.49
1806003979564040 1 Image
1980-81 Topps PORTER DAVIS BIRDSONG RC BVG BGS 10
$400.00
2814211853694040 1 Image
1980-81 Topps Larry Bird Julius Erving Magic Johnson RC Rookie Card BVG 7.5
$249.99
3609720917454040 1 Image
1980-81 Topps Pete Maravich Lloyd Free Dennis Johnson #8 BVG 8 Nm-Mt
$19.95
3012903236424040 1 Image
Topps 1980-81 #18 88 237 Magic Johnson AS MINT Super Bright Basketball Card BF
$18.00
1514132952004040 1 Image
1980-81 Topps - Scott May(Bulls) - Larry Bird TL(Celtics) - Jack Sikma(Sonics)
$8.25
3013216080404040 1 Image
1980-81 Topps #176, Hayes, Erving And Brewer Beckett Vintage Graded 6.0 Ex-mint
$5.99
3607776372504040 1 Image
1980-81 topps #98 LARRY BIRD - SCOTT MAY - JACK SIKMA rookie BGS BVG 9
$55.00



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Set Checklist

1980-81 Topps Basketball Card Checklist

Card #Player Name
13 / Erving / 258 Brewer
27 Malone All-Star / 185 / Parish T
312 Gus Williams All-Star
424 / 32 / 248 Elvin Hayes
529 Dan Roundfield
634 Bird / Erving / Magic
736 Cowens / 186 / Wilkes
838 Maravich / 264 / 194 DJ
940 Rick Robey
1047 Scott May
1155 Don Ford
1258 Campy Russell
1360 Foots Walker
1461 / Jabbar All-Star / 200 Natt
1563 Jim Cleamons
1669 Tom LaGarde
1771 Jerome Whitehead
1874 John Roche Team Leaders
1975 English / 2 / 68
2082 Terry Tyler Team Leaders
2184 Kent Benson
2286 / Parish Team Leaders / 126
2388 / Erving All-Star / Sobers
2490 Eric Money
2595 Wayne Cooper
2697 Parish / 187 / 46
2798 Sonny Parker
28105 Barry / 122 / 48
29106 Allen Leavell
30108 / 176 Cheeks Team Leaders / 87
31110 Robert Reid
32111 Rudy Tomjanovich
33112 / 28 Tree Rollins / 15
34115 Mike Bantom
35116 Dudley Bradley
36118 James Edwards
37119 Mickey Johnson
38120 Billy Knight
39121 George McGinnis
40124 Phil Ford Team Leaders
41127 Phil Ford
42131 Scott Wedman
43132 Jabbar Team Leaders / Mitch / 81
44135 Jabbar / 79 / 216
45137 Coop / Malone Team Leaders / 148
46140 / Lanier All-Star / Walton
47141 Norm Nixon
48143 / 30 Bird Team Leaders / Sikma
49146 / 31 Bird Team Leaders / Brewer
50147 / 133 Jabbar Team Leaders / 207
51149 / 262 Erving SD / 62
52151 Moncrief / 260 / 220
53156 George Johnson
54158 Maurice Lucas
55159 Mike Newlin
56160 Roger Phegley
57161 Cliff Robinson
58162 Jan V.Breda Kolff
59165 / 214 / Gilmore
60166 Cartwright / 244 / 25
61168 / 14 / Dantley
62169 Joe Meriweather
63170 Monroe / 27 / 85
64172 Marvin Webster
65173 Ray Williams
66178 Cheeks / Magic All-Star / 237
67183 Bobby Jones
68189 / 163 / Issel
69190 Don Buse
70191 Davis / Gervin All-Star / 136
71192 / Malone Team Leaders / 64
72201 Tom Owens
73208 Gervin / Issel Team Leaders / 249
74217 / 263 / 107 Malone
75219 Swen Nater
76221 Brian Taylor
77228 Fred Brown
78230 / W.Davis All-Star / Archibald
79231 Lonnie Shelton
80233 Gus Williams
81236 Allan Bristow Team Leaders
82238 / 109 / Lanier
83241 Ben Poquette
84245 Greg Ballard
85246 Bob Dandridge
86250 Kevin Porter
87251 Unseld / 195 / 78
88257 Hayes SD / 144 / McAdoo
893 Dan Roundfield
907 Malone All-Star / 247 / 52
9112 Gus Williams
9224 Steve Hawes
9329 Dan Roundfield
9434 Bird / Cartwright / 23
9536 Cowens / 16 / 59
9638 Maravich / 187 / 46
9740 Rick Robey
9847 / 30 Bird Team Leaders / Sikma
9955 Don Ford
10058 Campy Russell
10160 Foots Walker
10261 Austin Carr
10363 Jim Cleamons
10469 / 109 / Bob Lanier
10571 Jerome Whitehead
10674 / 28 Tree Rollins / 15
10775 English / Malone Team Leaders / 64
10882 Terry Tyler Team Leaders
10984 Kent Benson
11086 Phil Hubbard
11188 / 18 Magic All-Star / 237
11290 Eric Money
11395 Wayne Cooper
11497 Parish / Malone Team Leaders / 148
11598 Sonny Parker
116105 Barry / 123 / 54
117106 Allen Leavell
118108 Calvin Murphy
119110 Robert Reid
120111 Rudy Tomjanovich
121112 / 264 / D.Johnson
122115 Mike Bantom
123116 Dudley Bradley
124118 / Archibald Team Leaders / Hayes
125119 Mickey Johnson
126120 Billy Knight
127121 / Lanier All-Star / Walton
128124 Phil Ford Team Leaders
129127 Phil Ford
130131 Scott Wedman
131132 Jabbar Team Leaders / Par.TL / 126
132135 Jabbar / 253 / 167
133137 M.Cooper / 212 / 229
134140 / 214 / Gilmore
135141 Norm Nixon
136143 Marq.Johnson Team Leaders
137146 / Erving All-Star / Sobers
138147 Quinn Buckner
139149 Marques Johnson
140151 Moncrief / Jabb.TL / 207
141156 George Johnson
142158 / 262 Erving SD / 62
143159 Mike Newlin
144160 Roger Phegley
145161 Cliff Robinson
146162 / Erving SD / 139 Magic
147165 / 185 / Parish Team Leaders
148166 Cartwright / 13 / 179
149168 Toby Knight
150169 Joe Meriweather
151170 Monroe / 206 / 91
152172 Marvin Webster
153173 Ray Williams
154178 Cheeks / Gervin All-Star / 136
155183 Bobby Jones
156189 / 14 / Dantley
157190 Don Buse
158191 Walter Davis
159192 / 263 / 107 Malone
160201 Tom Owens
161208 Gervin / 53 / 223
162217 / 8 Jabbar All-Star / Natt
163219 Swen Nater
164221 Brian Taylor
165228 / 31 Bird Team Leaders / Brewer
166230 / 163 / Issel
167231 Lonnie Shelton
168233 Gus Williams
169236 Allan Bristow Team Leaders
170238 Tom Boswell
171241 / Cheeks Team Leaders / 87
172245 / W.Davis All-Star / Archibald
173246 Bob Dandridge
174250 Kevin Porter
175251 Unseld / 67 / 5
176257 Hayes SD / Erving / 258

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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