The Best Magic Johnson Cards: RCs, Guide, & Advice

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Widely seen as the best point guard of all-time, Magic Johnson won a championship and an NBA Finals MVP Award in his rookie season. He won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.

In 905 NBA games, Johnson tallied 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists, translating to career averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game, which is the highest assists per game average in NBA history.

Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the best Magic Johnson cards, with investment advice for three of the best options on the market.

The Best Magic Johnson Cards

We’ve listed a trio of the greatest vintage Magic Johnson cards. Each was released during the height of his powers in the 1980’s. 

3. 1986 Fleer Basketball Magic Johnson #53 (eBay)

The 1986 Fleer set is immensely popular due to the iconic Michael Jordan RC. That has helped values for almost every card from the collection to explode over the past few years. 

(Then again, most of the interest is reserved for gem mint copies, such as the PSA 10 grade seen in the image above. Expect to pay over $5,000 for a flawless edition.) 

The set benefits from a red, white and blue border which makes it instantly distinguishable, along with a great action shot of Johnson as he leaps through the air.

2. 1981 Topps Basketball Magic Johnson #21 (eBay

Released a year after his RC, gem mint copies of Johnson’s 1981 Topps Basketball card are especially hard to come by. (For example, there are 901 PSA 9 copies at the current time of writing, while there are just 74 PSA 10s.)

In terms of design, the front features a player photo. There’s a starburst design in the lower left corner that contains his name, team and position. The Magic card is seen as one of the keys to the set, along with a Kevin McHale RC (#E75).

1. 1980 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson RC Julius Erving (eBay)

The clear standout card from 1980-81 Topps Basketball sees Larry Bird and Magic Johnson alongside all-time great Julius Erving. 

Normally, a trio of players leads to a cluttered design, but it’s worth it for the Bird/Magic rookies, which can’t be found elsewhere. They were the two most popular players of the 1980s, with an intense rivalry that was honed over the years. 

It’s one of the benefits of vintage cards and players, in that they weren’t split across so many sets. If you’re looking for the most prestigious Magic card, this has to be a contender. 

Magic Johnson Cards: Buyers Guide 

We’ve put together a buyers guide looking at the current market for Magic Johnson cards. 

The best thing about the cards mentioned above is that they’re accessible for almost every collector. As a rule of thumb, we’d opt for the best PSA graded card that fits within your specific budget

Without a shadow of a doubt, it has to be the 1980 Topps RC. It might be tempting to look at a more recent signed card with a low print run. However, the majority can’t match up to a gem mint graded version featuring one of the GOATs. 

Magic Johnson Cards: Buying/Selling Advice

Magic Johnson is one of the most popular players from his era. His RC also features the talented Julius Erving and his rival Larry Bird. It makes for a great combination, and one that has proven to be increasingly popular with collectors and investors over the past 40 years. 

Aside from the likes of Michael Jordan, it’s hard to think of many better HoF basketball investments. Johnson received the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award (shared with Bird) in 2019. 

As well as being a proven winner, he holds multiple NBA records, such as being the only player in NBA Finals history to have triple-doubles in multiple series-clinching games.

At the very least, we’d keep tabs on his RC if you’re looking for a viable long-term investment piece.

Published by James Milin-Ashmore

Journalism gradate, freelance writer. Sports, tech, online security, collectibles.

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