LeBron James Basketball Cards, Rookie Cards Checklist and Memorabilia Guide

LeBron James

Date of Birth: 12/30/1984
Rookie Card Year: 2003-04
Investment Rating: 9.0


Overview
With Michael Jordan's retirement, LeBron James cards and memorabilia breathed new life into market. He's the headliner in 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite, the hobby's first $500 per pack product. Accompanied by fellow rookies Carmelo Anthony and current teammate Dwayne Wade, Exquisite redefined the standards for a high-end trading card product. It's by far James' most coveted rookie card. However, the extensive checklist of LeBron James rookie cards has dozens of options to meet the budget of any collector.

For several years, Lebron James has had an exclusive autograph and memorabilia agreement with Upper Deck. Although he is featured in Panini sets today, Upper Deck still holds the sole rights to market and sell his autographs.

Top 3 Lebron James Rookie Cards

Lebron James' debut came at a time when there were three companies making licensed NBA cards: Upper Deck, Topps and Fleer. As a result, James has nearly 50 rookie cards, including many with autographs. Price points vary considerably. Below are the Top Three Lebron James rookie cards, one at each price range -- entry level, mid-range and high-end.

2003-04 Upper Deck Triple Dimensions Lebron James RC #132 #/999

2003 04 Upper Deck Triple Dimensions Lebron James 132 260x189 Image

Numbered to 999 copies, this Lebron James rookie card is a comparably affordable option to some of his other first cards. Featuring an intricately designed card front, it pictures Lebron making a layup and a reflective hologram image in the "R" as part of the Rookie Reflections subset.

2003-04 Upper Deck Finite #242 #/200

2003 04 Upper Deck Finite Lebron James 242 212x300 Image

With just 200 total cards, this is one of Lebron James' rarest rookie cards without an autograph or memorabilia. The card depicts James in a full-length, posed action shot against a blue and red background. An iconic stance of the young baller, ready to drive to the hoop.

2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection # 78 Autographed Patch #/99

2003 04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James 99 Image

The 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James rookie card helped to usher in a whole new era of trading cards. The first $500 per pack product, it's limited to only 99 serial numbered copies. This makes the card extremely costly, particularly when graded. Commanding four figures on the secondary market, this is Lebron's most iconic and expensive card.

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LEBRON JAMES DIARY ROOKIE LJ6 ERROR CARD (1 1)?
$149.99
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2012-13 Totally Certified Basketball (RED) LEBRON JAMES JERSEY CARD SP !!!
$14.99
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Lebron James 2013 Panini Prizm Brilliance Gold Refractor 10 BGS 9.5
$750.00
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1999 Lebron James Rookie Card ($1,000+) High School Very Rare W COA SP #1 1000
$200.00
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2003 Upper Deck Lebron James Factory Sealed Box
$40.00
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2003-04 Topps Lebron James Rookie Cleveland Cavaliers Card No. 221
$34.99
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2003-04 Topps Lebron James Rookie Card Cleveland Cavaliers Card No. 221
$34.99
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THE BIG 3! 1 OF1 GAME USED TRIPLE JERSEY LEBRON JAMES ROOKIE D.WADE
$29.99
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2003 04 Topps Chrome Lebron James RC Refractor BGS 9.5 Gem Mint (9 9.5 10 10)
$800.00
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lebron james
$13.00
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2008-09 Upper Deck Star Quest Lebron James Kevin Durant
$14.99
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2013-14 Panini National Treasures DUAL GAME GEAR 4CLR PATCH 17 25 LEBRON JAMES
$42.00
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2003-04 TOPPS ROOKIE MATRIX LEBRON JAMES, KAMAN, CARMELO ROOKIE CARD RC, 040214
$17.95
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Registry Lot of 4 LeBron James BGS 9.5 Panini Cards with 7 sub-grades of 10
$124.95
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2004 Fleer Skybox USA LEBRON JAMES #USAB rc GAI 9.5 GEM MINT Rookie CAVALIERS
$14.99
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2006 - 2007 Upper Deck Hardcourt Game Floor LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers...
$15.00
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Rookie Cards

LeBron James Rookie Card Checklist

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LEBRON JAMES DIARY ROOKIE LJ6 ERROR CARD (1 1)?
$149.99
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LeBron James GRADED ROOKIE!! Gem Mint 10! 2003 04 UD Diary #LJ14 Miami Heat MVP!
$9.99
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1999 Lebron James Rookie Card ($1,000+) High School Very Rare W COA SP #1 1000
$200.00
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2003-04 Topps Lebron James Rookie Cleveland Cavaliers Card No. 221
$34.99
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2003-04 Topps Lebron James Rookie Card Cleveland Cavaliers Card No. 221
$34.99
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THE BIG 3! 1 OF1 GAME USED TRIPLE JERSEY LEBRON JAMES ROOKIE D.WADE BOSH NSA
$29.99
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Lebron James 2003-04 Upper Deck Victory RC #206 g46410
$9.99
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2003 04 Topps Chrome Lebron James RC Refractor BGS 9.5 Gem Mint (9 9.5 10 10)
$800.00
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03 04 LeBron James Rookie Fleer Ultra W Hummer Die Cast 1:64 scale
$9.99
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2003-04 TOPPS ROOKIE MATRIX LEBRON JAMES, KAMAN, CARMELO ROOKIE CARD RC, 040214
$17.95
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2003-04 LeBron James NBA ROOKIE Basketball Card 7 NM Vintage old Cleveland CAVS
$5.77
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2004 Fleer Skybox USA LEBRON JAMES #USAB rc GAI 9.5 GEM MINT Rookie CAVALIERS
$14.99
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Lebron James Bowman Rookie Card
$29.08
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Lebron James Rookie Reflections Upper Deck 2003-04 # 132 BGS 8.5 NM-MT+
$1,259.99
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2003 Upper Deck Phenomenal Beginning #12 Lebron James RC Gold BECKETT 10 MINT
$13.99
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2003 Upper Deck Diary #LJ8 Lebron James Rookie BECKETT 10 MINT
$9.99
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Autograph Guide

Lebron James Autograph Memorabilia Buying Guide

In this section, you will find examples of what an authentic Lebron James autograph 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. Lebron James autographs are an exclusive part of the Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA) collection.  Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.

Cut Signature Signature Exemplar

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The above is a signature from Lebron's days with the Cleveland Cavaliers

 Lebron James Cut 2 Image

The above signature reflects the change he made when joining the Miami Heat

Lebron James Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Lebron James signature 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:

  1. First name consists of the letter "L" and "B" only
  2. The letters "L" and "B" combine two form the number 23, his jersey number with the Cavaliers
  3. The letter "J" is pronounced with a large flourishing upper loop and much smaller bottom loop
  4. The remaining letters of his last name merely a scribble with no discernible legibility
  5. When Lebron James left Cleveland for Miami, he also changed jersey numbers. As a result, gone is his signature 23 combination from the letters "L" and "B".
  6. The new signature loses the last name entirely
  7. The initial "L" and "B" are exaggerated with big loops
  8. His new jersey number, "#6" is almost always present

 Signed Basketball Pricing

Active Listings for Lebron James Signed Basketballs

Lebron James Signed Basketball 260x194 Image  Lebron James Signed Basketball Close up 260x133 Image  Lebron James Signed Basketball UDA LOA 260x207 Image

Signed Jersey Pricing

Active Listings for Lebron James Signed Jerseys

Lebron James Signed Jersey 236x300 Image  Lebron James Signed Jersey Close up 260x195 Image    Lebron James Signed Jersey COA 225x300 Image

Signed Shoe Pricing

Active Listings for Lebron James Signed Shoes

Lebron James Signed Shoes 260x194 Image  Lebron James Signed Shoe Close up 260x194 Image  Lebron James Signed Shoe Close up with LOA 260x194 Image

Signed Photograph Pricing

Active Listings for Lebron James Signed Photographs

Lebron James Signed photo 260x216 Image  Lebron James Signed Photo 2 260x174 Image  Lebron James Signed photo 3 232x300 Image

Fan Shop

Lebron James Fan Shop Apparel and Souvenir Guide

Lebron James'  jersey's and shoes are highly coveted by fans the world over. From his high school playing for St. Vincent - St. Mary's to his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his Championship run with the Miami Heat, James has a full line of jersey's available for every fan or collector. In addition, James' collectibles include a wide range of fan shop items and other memorabilia - figures, artwork, posters photographs and more.

Jerseys and Shoes

Manufacturer: Nike, Addidas, Champion

Adidas is currently the licensed provider of NBA jerseys. However, the league has also had licenses with Nike and Champion. Lebron James' St. Vincent - St. Mary's jersey is typically made by Nike.

Adidas's full line of officially licensed NBA jerseys are available in three different styles. The Replica jersey is a lightweight polyester mesh fabric with screen printed lettering and numbers and is perfect for casual everyday wear. The Swingman jersey is a step up in quality and features a similar style fabric but features twill lettering and numbers. The Authentic jersey is made of a heavier weight polyester and is designed with patented ClimaCool technology for outstanding performance. It also features an embroidered NBA patch and twill letters and numbers and is as close as you will get to the real deal.

Much like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant before him, Lebron James also has a full line of shoes made by Nike.

Lebron James Jersey 260x260 Image  nike air max lebron vii 2 260x173 Image

Figures and Toys

When you are as highly touted, talented and personable as Lebron James is, you can be assured that there will be numerous companies wanting to honor him with their own version of 3D likenesses. Such is the case for James who has numerous figures and toys on the market to meet the needs of fans of any age.

Manufacturers: McFarlane, Upper Deck, EnterBay

Lebron James mcFarlane1 260x292 Image  Lebron James Enterbay 252x300 Image

 Photographs, Prints and Posters

When you play above the rim with the dominating size and speed of Lebron James, sports photographers tend to notice. As a result, he has a wide variety of photographs, prints, lithographs, posters and even original artwork available to decorate any man-cave, office or bedroom. Notable rights holders listed below.

Rights-Holders: Upper Deck, PhotoFile, Panini, Fathead

Lebron James Poster 260x203 Image  Lebron James Photos 238x300 Image

More Info

Want to learn more about LeBron James cards and memorabilia? Check out these additional articles and guides:

For general information and player statistics visit:


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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

User Comments

  1. Lebron James sports card investor magazine. Ruby rookie 1/100. Any idea what this is worth? eBay says it is rarest rookie and first.

  2. i have a 2003/2004 indi rookie card of L. JAMES from the indi card co.i believe its a picture of him in his high school .tryin to find its worth #d i of 75 thanx

  3. correction its not his high school jersey

  4. I Have an 2003-2004Upper Deck Freshman Season Gem Mint 10 Lebron James card.Has his stats on back. Signature on side front. Pic is o fhim holding the Plaque. How much is it worth ?

  5. Nick and Terry and Dobbs, you can spend 50 cents per card to look up its Beckett. Or you can spend $9 for a one-month subscription to Beckett. Or, for free, you can do an advanced ebay search of completed listings for the cards whose value you’d like to know.

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