Rookie Card Year: 1988-89
Investment Rating: 6.5
John Stockton is one of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA and one of the best players without an NBA title. Celebrated for his assists and steals, Stockton paired with Karl Malone to form one of the most effective duos of the period. Based on his production and his long career, John Stockton cards and autographs remain some of the top choices among retired basketball players.
After four relatively low-key seasons at Gonzaga, John Stockton declared for the 1984 NBA Draft. The draft was stacked with talent and Stockton was taken 16th overall by the Utah Jazz. Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were also included in the same draft class.
John Stockton would end up playing 19 seasons in the NBA, all with the Jazz. Despite never winning the elusive NBA title during his tenure, the Jazz made the playoffs in every single season that Stockton was on the team. The ten-time NBA All-Star retired as the overall NBA leader in both total steals and assists. Stockton was named a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also a member of the 1992 and 1996 Olympic basketball teams.
Even with his considerable success, Stockton's hobby career was a little bumpy. Although his first NBA cards came from Star Company, John Stockton's official rookie card was not released until 1988-89 Fleer. From there, Stockton was treated to the full array of cardboard options. In 1992-93 Hoops, collectors were exposed to the first certified autograph for Stockton. However, fans would have to wait over a decade for the second autograph as his signed cards did not appear again until after he retired in 2003. Starting in 2003-04, John Stockton autographs have been consistently included in basketball products.
While signed John Stockton cards remain in decent supply, his signed memorabilia is much more rare. This low supply has resulted in a premium for signed John Stockton gear. However, in recent years, he has begun to sign more, especially while promoting his autobiography, Assisted.
The following list documents the key early cards for John Stockton, including his rookie card.
John Stockton Rookie Card & Other Key Early Cards
The first NBA card for John Stockton came from Star during his rookie season. Despite issues with quality, the cards remain popular and even ungraded cards maintain good value. Mint and Gem Mint copies are rare and in March of 2014, a BGS 9.5 sold for $1,101. Reprints were issued by Topps in 1996, but they are easy to distinguish because they are listed as reprints on the back and the yellow border is noticeably thicker on the front.
The second-year card for Stockton represents a slightly-cheaper option for collectors. Featuring a very similar look to the 1984-85 card, the only real change is the font color and image. Collectors looking to spend a bit less should check out his All-Rookie card from the same year.
Released during his fifth season, John Stockton's official rookie card came in 1988-89 Fleer. The quantity of cards is high so values remain very reasonable. However, centering problems have resulted in a premium for high grades. Stockton also has an additional card in the All-Star subset (#127).
John Stockton Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what John Stockton's authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Reputable authentication companies include JSA, PSA and Mounted Memories, to name a few.
John Stockton Cut Signature Exemplar
John Stockton Key Signature Attributes: An authentic John Stockton signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics, depending on when in his career the item was signed. Other characteristics that play into his signature style are the particular item and venue. Look for the following signature features:
- The signature starts with a cursive "J" and the rest is implied by a messy "h."
- The last name is a little more involved, but not entirely legible.
- A large "S" and "t" begin the last name and the remainder can usually be distinguished.
- The "t" is crossed both times and the "k" looks more like a lower case "L."
- Occasionally, Stockton includes 12 at the end of the signature.