Karl Malone ranks among the basketball elite of NBA history in many statistical categories and is widely considered to be one of the best power forwards of all-time. While his lack of titles hurts his overall legacy, Karl Malone's hobby interest remains strong.
The face of the Utah Jazz for nearly two decades, Karl Malone collectors have a good mix of card options. It is important to note that Malone's autograph options were limited during his career and into his retirement, but have picked up in recent years. The following guide includes ten of the top Karl Malone cards of all-time.
Top Karl Malone Basketball Cards of All-Time
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For collectors, there is nowhere else to start for Karl Malone than with his rookie card in 1986-87 Fleer. One of the few stars who actually made their cardboard debut in the popular release, Malone was not included in 1985-86 Star despite joining the league in the 1985 NBA Draft. Ungraded copies can easily be found for $30 or less.
Like getting kicked in the face by a box of Crayolas, Finest burst onto the basketball scene in 1993-94 with crazy designs and a lot of color. Refractor parallels are the most popular options and Karl Malone collectors have two choices. This includes the main base card and the Midwest's Finest subset that features a brick background.
1993-94 Fleer Ultra Career Highlights Autograph Karl Malone #1-10 (10 different cards)
Part of ten-card set found in 1993-94 Fleer Ultra Series 1, the Career Highlights Autographs were the signed version of a base insert set that looked back at Malone's NBA career. The card is significant to collectors because it is the first Karl Malone autograph.
Honoring the first of his two MVP selections, 1997-98 Bowman's Best included this special autograph as well as a base autograph for Karl Malone. The Refractor and Atomic Refractor versions of the MVP card are shown below.
A staple of top collecting lists for basketball, 1997-98 Metal Universe PMGs are still some of the top parallels of all-time. The rare cards for Karl Malone are numbered to 1oo, with the first ten cards issued with green foil, and the final 90 available in red.
1997-98 Stadium Club Co-Signers Karl Malone #CO1,CO8,CO12,CO15,CO17,CO23 (6 different cards)
Another top card from 1997-98, Karl Malone was featured alongside other players in six Stadium Club Co-Signers insert cards. This includes Keith Van Horn, Kerry Kittles, Joe Smith, John Starks, Chris Webber and Kobe Bryant. The cards that feature Webber and Bryant alongside Karl Malone are the most valuable, but the other cards enjoy decent interest as well.
Sign of the Times is one of the most consistent insert lines from Upper Deck and Karl Malone was featured on two different releases during his active playing career. While both incorporate the purple of the Utah Jazz and feature on-card signatures, the designs are very different. The 1997-98 is particularly intriguing due to the die-cut design.
Another popular line that got its start in the 1990s, Autographics was one of the first autograph inserts to take off in basketball. Karl Malone was only available in the 1998-99 release and is one of the most valuable cards in the checklist. There is also a blue ink parallels that is hand-numbered to 50.
Although his first jersey card came in 1997 Press Pass, the 1998-99 Upper Deck Game Jersey cards for Karl Malone are the preferred early option. There are actually two versions in the set and are easily distinguished by the font color.
Dubbed the "Mailman" because he always delivers, collectors can join in on the fun with his Notable Nicknames autograph in 2013-14 National Treasures. The card is limited to only 49 copies, but collectors can find more plentiful and cheaper inscription options from Leaf.
It is really hard to go wrong with any autographed card for Karl Malone. However, given the hobby's appetite for premium brands, on-card autographs and nice patches, several high-end products deliver some of the best modern options. This includes brands like Exquisite, Flawless, National Treasures and Immaculate, and all available options can be seen using the links provided.