Lew Alcindor was so good that the NCAA prohibited the dunk before the 1967-1968 collegiate season. This was arguably due to his dominating displays. He responded by perfecting the skyhook shot, which was almost unstoppable.
A six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, he helped the Los Angeles Lakers to win numerous titles, and moved into social activism, fighting for racial and religious equality and diversity since his retirement.
Here’s what you need to know about the valuable Lew Alcindor rookie card, as we take an in-depth look at the rare collectible.
The Best Lew Alcindor Rookie Cards
If you’re looking for Lew Alcindor RCs, there’s a sole option found in 1969-70 Topps Basketball.
1. 1969-70 Topps RC #25 (eBay)
Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor as a young rookie back in 1970. (Born as Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr, he changed his name a year later after reverting to Islam.)
His rookie card is the key to the 1969-70 Topps Basketball set. It shows the player inside an oval-shaped frame, with his head appearing over the top of the line. It gives an indication of the sheer size of Alcindor, while you’ll find small basketball illustrations in the four corners. Abdul-Jabbar’s name and team are found in red text above and below the player image.
The card is the normal 2 ½ inches wide, but it’s 4 11/16 inches tall. (This is why it’s known as a tallboy.)
Lew Alcindor Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
One of the most popular basketball rookie cards of all-time, what do we think of the current state of the market for Lew Alcindor’s RC?
Lew Alcindor officially changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971. However, it was not seen on his Topps cards until the 1972-73 set was released.
Abdul-Jabbar has signed lots of cards over the years, and you should be able to find numbered parallels for under $200.
A cheaper vintage option would be the 1970-71 Topps Basketball #1 Lew Alcindor/Jerry West/Elvin Hayes Scoring Leaders card.
There’s no better option than the Lew Alcindor RC if you’re looking for the best Kareem Abdul-Jabbar investments. With a distinct lack of alternatives, collectors are forced to take it seriously.
In terms of the overall condition, the size makes it vulnerable to more general wear and tear. It’s also difficult to find with good centering. The white background is prone to visible print defects.
There are only two PSA 10 copies at the current time of writing, while even a VG 3 is selling for four figures.
Lew Alcindor Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
If you’re a vintage basketball card collector, there’s no chance that you haven’t heard of the Lew Alcindor rookie card.
It’s worth a significant amount of money no matter if it’s graded or not, and it’s a real piece of basketball history.
The 1969 Topps set contains the only recognized rookie card of the most prolific offensive player ever in the NBA.
It’s obviously one of the safer baseball card investments. Alcindor has proven to be on the right side of numerous issues, and used his time in the spotlight to help others.
That bodes well for the future, as there’s little chance that he’ll be involved in anything other than positive news in the future.