Top 10 Michael Jordan Base Cards of All-Time

Top 10 Michael Jordan Base Cards of All-Time

There are very few things in the hobby that command as much attention as Michael Jordan base cards. Base cards tend to take a backseat in the hobby today. Fancy inserts, memorabilia cards and autographs dominate the collecting landscape. Michael Jordan is that unique superstar who forms a bridge between old- and new-school. His popularity has been a huge boost for the hobby that saw it's rise through the insert years of the late 1990s and into the current age of sets focused largely on autographs and memorabilia cards. While base cards are commonly overlooked by collectors, and, unfortunately, card companies, Michael Jordan base cards still attract attention, no matter the format.

For many, base cards represent that one last affordable aspect of the hobby. While they are no longer the driving force behind  many products, a well designed base card can make a great addition to any collection. It also provides a reasonable starting point for young collectors and collectors with limited budgets. Because of this, many Michael Jordan base cards are the right balance of star power, relative value, and availability to build a collection around.

This following list aims to identify ten of the top Michael Jordan base cards available today outside of his rookies. While his 1986-87 Fleer Basketball rookie card is technically a base card, it was not included in this list.

Top Michael Jordan Base Cards

1987-88 Fleer Michael Jordan #59

Michael Jordan's sophomore offering from Fleer is not nearly as popular or famous as his rookie card from 1986-87 Fleer Basketball but still remains a great option for collectors. The print run for this set was much less than the previous year, which helps keep prices up for unopened boxes and cards. Like many of the cards from this period, condition plays a huge role in value. Gem mint copies of the Michael Jordan base card can reach as high as four figures while ungraded sets can still be found for around $100.

1987 88 Fleer Michael Jordan Image

1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan #17

Despite featuring another stacked rookie card lineup, 1988-89 Fleer did not produce the same magic as 1986-87 Fleer. The card design is awkward, at best, and features too many different fonts. Also, the image choice for the Michael Jordan base card is bizarre. It looks like he is performing a karate move on Kevin Willis, while sneezing.

1988 89 Fleer Michael Jordan 211x300 Image

1992-93 Upper Deck Michael Jordan #23

This card is classic "Air Jordan." The Michael Jordan craze was sweeping the world as the Chicago Bulls pushed for their first NBA Championship three-peat, and Jordan was the king of the NBA. In my opinion, this is one of the best action images of Michael Jordan on any card.

1992 93 Upper Deck Michael Jordan 214x300 Image

1994-95 Finest Michael Jordan #331

Finest had already established itself as the gold standard product for bright colors and shiny coating the year before, and 1994-95 Topps Finest did not disappoint. Boasting a rainbow sun beam background, this Michael Jordan base card remains a popular card for collectors. Also worth noting, Jordan is not wearing his usual number 23 jersey. This is because he retired from basketball in 1993 to pursue his baseball career and his number was retired by the Bulls.  When he returned to the Chicago during the second half of the 1994-95 season, Jordan took the number 45 jersey for the rest of the season. The number 45 jersey was important to him because it was the number worn by his brother, Larry. Michael Jordan also wore number 45 while playing professional baseball.

1994 95 Finest Michael Jordan 214x300 Image

1994-95 Flair Michael Jordan #326

Flair helped usher in a new era of  cards with their elegant design and high quality stock. The dual images of Jordan are highlighted by gold foil font. I still remember my excitement after pulling one of the beauties, back in the day. This card also features Jordan wearing his number 45 jersey.

1994 95 Flair Michael Jordan 212x300 Image

1996-97 E-X2000 Michael Jordan #9

E-X2000 was a game-changer. The innovative design was futuristic and unique. It turned an insert design into a base set and showed how card companies could make products that were outside the box, without losing the basic card feel. However, it was also very condition sensitive and many cards have not fared well over time. The Michael Jordan base card showcases a vivid blue sky background, complete with clouds. This blue works well with the gold foil frame and makes for a great card.

1996 97 E X2000 Michael Jordan 212x300 Image

1997 SPx Michael Jordan #5

Another solid use of technology, 1997 SPx features an interesting "X" die-cut design and a large hologram image.

1997 SPx Michael Jordan 260x183 Image

1998-99 SPx Finite Michael Jordan #1 #/10000

One of the first numbered base cards, SPx Finite has a grand look and features dark colors and foil. Despite a whopping print run of 10,000, this card still maintains solid interest from collectors.

1998 99 SPx Finite Michael Jordan  213x300 Image

2000-01 Ultimate Collection Michael Jordan #8 #/750

Perhaps one of the most intense images of Jordan, 2000-01 Ultimate Collection is limited to 750 copies. A simple layout with a gold ribbon down the middle helps draw attention to the image of Michael Jordan, preparing to unload a ferocious dunk.

2000 01 Ultimate Collection Michael Jordan 210x300 Image

2003-04 Exquisite Michael Jordan #3 #/225

In terms of highest value, almost any Michael Jordan base card from the Exquisite product line would be at the top. 2003-04 Exquisite is the first edition of the historic product and the Michael Jordan base card is a collector favorite. Numbered to only 225, mint versions of this base card can sell for close to $1000.

2003 04 Upper Deck Exquisite Michael Jordan 210x300 Image

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2008 09 Upper Deck Michael Jordan #52 Legacy Hall of Fame BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
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1998-99 SPx Finite Radiance #181 Michael Jordan TF 1130
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1998-99 SPx Finite Radiance #1 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 (BKB) Stadium Club Never Compromise #NC1 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M20 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 Upper Deck Forces Bronze #F1 Michael Jordan 1000
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M9 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M22 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 (BKB) Upper Deck MJ23 #M16 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M26 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 (BKB) Upper Deck Intensity #I1 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M28 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 (BKB) Upper Deck MJ23 #M26 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 (BKB) UD Ionix Area 23 #A3 Michael Jordan
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M12 Michael Jordan 2300
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1998-99 Upper Deck MJ23 Bronze #M6 Michael Jordan 2300
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Trey Treutel

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Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim, and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

User Comments

  1. I would have to take the 1994-95 Skybox E-motion base as my favorite #45 card.

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