The Best Kevin McHale Rookie Cards: Guide

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One of the greatest power forwards of all-time, Kevin McHale spent his entire professional career with the Boston Celtics. 

A three-time NBA champion, Hall of Famer McHale formed one of the best front-court trios in NBA history, along with Robert Parish and Larry Bird

McHale’s rookie card will never match up to the latter in terms of values. They’re still worth checking out as a more affordable option from the era.

Here’s a roundup with a trio of the best vintage Kevin McHale cards, with lots of info about his earliest releases.

The Best Kevin McHale Rookie Cards

Having made his debut in 1980, you’ll have to wait until the 1981-82 season for Kevin McHale rookie card. We’ve listed three early options below, starting with 1983-84 Star Company Basketball. 

3. 1983-84 Star Kevin McHale #34 (eBay)

Clearly an older release in terms of design and layout, 1983-84 Star Company Basketball features the second-ever recognized McHale card.

It has a simple action shot of the player as he gets ready for a free throw, with a deep green border to match his Celtics jersey. 

Basketball collectors had to make do with Star until the famous 1986-87 Fleer release seen below. 

Regardless, it’s still a valuable option when looking at pristine copies, and it’s a short print within the set. 

2. 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Kevin McHale #73 (eBay)

1986-87 Fleer Basketball is one of the most popular sets within the hobby, thanks in no small part to a Michael Jordan RC which has helped to elevate every card contained within. 

It’s the first ever Fleer basketball set, which is why the logo appears at the top of the card with a small tab that reads “Premier.” 

The border is always susceptible to chipping, while it has been sent off for grading in droves. Only Gem Mint copies retain meaningful value in the present. 

1. 1981-82 Topps Kevin McHale RC #EAST-75 (eBay)

A set split into three segments for the East, Midwest and West regions in the US, 1981-82 Topps Basketball is where you’ll find McHale’s first NBA card and his official rookie. (The manufacturer stayed out of the game until 1992-93.)

Topps opted for a green background to match McHale’s Celtics jersey. The addition of a solid action shot is another bonus.

McHale was part of the 44-card East release, and over 4,400 copies have been sent to PSA for grading.

Kevin McHale Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide 

Here are our thoughts about the current state of the market for Kevin McHale rookie cards.

Due to large print runs and a lack of parallels, you’ll be able to find cheap ungraded copies. The same goes for PSA 9 versions, so you won’t have to look far for affordable options. 

1981-82 Topps Basketball is the card to collect if you just want the true McHale RC, although there are over 4,400 graded copies on the PSA registry. That’s without accounting for the likes of BGS and SGC. They are sure to have many of their own graded versions.)

(However, of the 4400+, only 67 have received a PSA 10 grade.)

If you’re on the lookout for the first ever signed McHale card, it’s found in 2004-05 Skybox Premium.

Check prices for 1981-82 Topps Kevin McHale RC on eBay

Final Thoughts 

Kevin McHale rookie cards might not be as exciting as the likes of Jordan, or even Larry Bird, but they’re still a viable long-term investment. He’s a Hall of Famer, with a clothesline that was enough to turn the tide of the 1984 NBA Finals

He was the head coach of the Houston Rockets from 2011–15 until he was let go after a poor start to the 2015–16 season. He now works as an on-air analyst. 

Of course, you’ll probably have to stick to pristine versions to see any meaningful movement when it comes to prices in the future.

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