Ever since Michael Jordan's retirement, people were asking who would take his place as king of the NBA. In all honesty, there will likely never be another Michael Jordan. He's more like a basketball god than a king. So if Jordan is a deity, LeBron James can be the king. And that's the place where LeBron James basketball cards sit today — among the hobby's royalty.
Now with several NBA titles to his credit, including one for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James can continue his ascension up the list of basketball's all-time greats. He may not be the game's most popular player, but he is one of the most respected.
His dominance on the court and in the hobby began with his rookie year. Part of a loaded crop of standouts in 2003-04, James can be credited with being one of the driving forces of a new level of super-premium products. Looking to take the hobby to a new level, 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite was done, in part, to showcase the card maker's exclusive deal with the super rookie.
Whether it's LeBron James rookie cards, autographs or high-end inserts, there is plenty to chase. His top cards regularly sell for thousands. No matter the autograph card, collectors should plan to start their budgets at a few hundred dollars. In part because of his deal with Upper Deck, this has helped stabilize prices of signed cards. Without any new NBA autograph cards coming for the foreseeable future, it ensures that demand for his early cards remains strong.
It's impressive to think that James' assault on the NBA will continue for years to come. By the time he decides to retire, there's a strong likelihood that many will be wondering who will be the next LeBron James.
Below is a real-time look at the 50 most-watch LeBron James basketball cards currently listed on eBay. It updates automatically, so if you're a LeBron James collector or someone who is looking to pick up a few cards, be sure to check back regularly.