Zion Williamson has missed the majority of the 2021-22 season after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in offseason workouts.
He has long been seen as one of the biggest talents in the NBA, destined for stardom ever since he was a prodigy making his name at Duke.
This has also been reflected in the price of his rookie cards, although they’ve taken a hit in value due to his inactivity.
Here’s what we think about the market for Zion RCs midway through 2022.
Zion Williamson Rookie Cards: Current State of the Market
The current state of the market for Zion RCs as of April 2022 isn’t great if you bought midway through 2020. Take the Hyper Prizm parallel from 2019-20 Panini Prizm Basketball as an example.
In 2020, it was difficult to find a PSA 9 graded copy for less than $500.
At the current time of writing, the price has now dipped to roughly $250.
It’s a trend seen with many Zion rookie cards, although there are some exceptions.
The 2019-20 Crown Royale KABOOM! insert seen below has held its value well, perhaps due to being exceptionally rare. The same is true for the rarest numbered parallels, as the bottom has yet to fall out just yet.
Put it this way; prices have dipped to an extent, but the average graded Zion RC is still valuable. Many collectors and investors still think he will fulfil his potential, even if he has missed out on most of a season.
What Caused Zion Cards to Dip in Value?
- Injuries and setbacks throughout the year have caused his return to be constantly delayed, which means he has been out of the spotlight for a while
- Will he be able to match the previous level of intensity, and how will his foot heal?
- Images of Zion allegedly tipping the scales at over 300 pounds have also done the rounds
- Williamson is still only 21, and he has missed out on a key stage of his development as we await his return to the court
The Best Zion Williamson Rookie Cards
With many Zion RCs selling for rock bottom prices, we’ve listed a trio of the very best options below.
3. 2019-20 Contenders Rookie Ticket Zion Williamson #108 (eBay)
Zion rookie cards are still some of the most popular within the hobby, and are still relatively expensive. (It’s only fair considering the weight of expectation placed on his shoulders, even when taking into account his injury setback.)
The 2019-20 Contenders Rookie Ticket is one such example of a valuable Zion RC, especially when looking at numbered parallels which also feature an on-card auto filled in blue ink.
There are also a trio of photo variations, although they all share the same card number (#108).
- Ticket Parallels: Playoff #/75, The Finals #/35, Cracked Ice #/25, Championship 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
- Premium Edition Tickets: Base, Green Shimmer, Blue Shimmer FOTL #/20, Gold #/10, Gold Vinyl 1/1
2. 2019-20 Crown Royale KABOOM! Zion Williamson RC #18 (eBay)
The KABOOM! insert is one of the more memorable to be released in recent years, with a large comic motif placed behind an image of Williamson. It’s a rare short print, and the set is always popular with collectors.
Zion has two KABOOM! cards, but we’d stick with the RC found in 2019-20 Crown Royale, rather than the 2020-21 version in which he’s wearing a white jersey. It has also held its value decently when compared to other Williamson rookie cards.
1. 2019-20 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson RC #248 (eBay)
2019-20 Panini Prizm Basketball is where we’re heading next, with a Zion RC that is the key to the collection along with Ja Morant and RJ Barrett.
As always, the various serial numbered Prizm parallels are the ones that are likely to break sale records, and they range from a high of 299 down to a 1/1. Don’t let the lack of an auto put you off, as it has great potential if he manages to return to form.
- Base Parallels: Silver, Green, Hyper, Red/White/Blue, White Sparkle, Red #/299, Blue #/199, Purple #/75, Orange #/49, Mojo #/25, Gold #/10, Black Gold #/5, Black 1/1
- Choice Parallels: Blue/Yellow/Green, Tiger Stripe, Red #/88, Green #/8, Nebula 1/1
- Fast Break Parallels: Base, Blue #/175, Red #/125, Purple #/75, Pink #/50, Bronze #/20, Neon Green #/5. Base Parallels: Green, Orange, Pink, Red, Purple #/149, Blue #/99
- Pulsar Parallels: Pink #/42, Purple #/35, Green #/25
- Wave Parallels: Purple, Ruby
- Premium FOTL Shimmer Parallels: Blue, Green #/25, Gold #/10, Black 1/1
Zion Williamson Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
Zion rookie cards are cheaper than they were, as there is an element of risk given his injury.
In late-September 2021, team officials were hopeful that he would be ready to return by the start of the season. By mid-October, the timeline for his expected return was extended until December. It’s now April 2022.
It’s a long time to be out of action, while a torn meniscus in his summer league debut limited Williamson to just 24 games as a rookie.
Then there are the persistent rumours that he doesn’t want to play for the New Orleans Pelicans anymore. Will he turn up rejuvenated for another team?
Zion Williamson Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Williamson hasn’t progressed enough to justify some of the high prices for his rookie cards seen in recent years, although it’s no fault of his own. That’s why they’ve dipped ever so slightly, but there is hope for the future.
It’s not like Zion isn’t supremely talented, and he may have been unlucky with injuries and rehab times, rather than being prone to long periods spent on the sidelines.
After all, Zion was the 4th youngest NBA player to be selected to an All-Star game in 2021, even if his career has hit the brakes due to injuries which left him out for the majority of a season.
In the grand scheme of things, it could all mean little if he makes a return to the form which led him to be selected as an All-Star, especially if he puts any physical issues behind him without losing his pure athleticism.