San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson (08/06/65) was a first-round draft pick for the franchise in 1987, although Naval obligations prevented him from joining the team until the 1989-90 season.
It was worth the wait, as ‘The Admiral’ went on to become a 10-time NBA All-Star, the 1995 NBA MVP, and a two-time NBA champion (1999 and 2003).
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the best David Robinson rookie cards, including info about three top options, and sportscard investment advice for the future.
The Best 3 David Robinson Rookie Cards
We’ve listed a trio of the best Robinson RCs to keep an eye out for on the market in order of how much attention a high graded copy tends to receive.
1989 David Robinson Hoops RC #138 (buy on eBay)
Seen as the definitive Robinson RC card, the 1989 Hoops was a unique card for the time. It was one of the few first-year players to be featured in a product during his rookie season, while it was considered to be a short print. (It was the first basketball card to feature a player in his rookie season since the 1970-71 Topps oversized set that featured both Pete Maravich and Calvin Murphy.)
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It helped to carry the hobby in an otherwise lean period and had an excessively hyped release. The card has a clean design, with a plain white background featuring an oval window with a player image. Inside the red trim, you’ll find a picture of Robinson grinning, which is fair as he had just been picked number one overall in the 1987 draft by the Spurs.
1989 David Robinson Hoops RC #310 (buy on eBay)
Similar in many ways to the card seen above, the #310 was found in the Series 2 release of the 1989-90 Hoops set. Design-wise, it has the same white and red background, although it features an action shot of Robinson instead of the suited option seen above.
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Hoops were hoping to build on the attention shown to the original seen above, and the release of a second oversized card undoubtedly helped in the short-term. In recent years, there’s hardly any difference in terms of overall value, even when looking at higher PSA grades. However, Series 2 is a later release, which is why the #138 is often preferred by collectors.
1988 David Robinson Diamond Shamrock San Antonio Spurs (buy on eBay)
For something a bit different, here’s a release that gave fans an early taste of what to expect from 1987’s number one draft pick. It features an insert of the player holding a basketball in his Spurs jersey, while it has a black background with white stripes.
Two versions were issued, with one featuring a tear-off tab for a prize draw, while the other was released without the tab. Robinson was still busy with the navy, but this oversized promo card is great if you can find it in decent condition. However, the black edges show any and every flaw, while you’ll have to pay attention to see if you’re looking at a tabless version or a ripped card.
David Robinson Rookie Card Checklist
- 1989 NBA Hoops #310
- 1989 NBA Hoops #138
Crazy how many more rookie cards a player has nowadays huh?… Look at how many RCs Zion has 🙂
David Robinson Rookie Card Value
David Robinson rookie cards are valued about right at the time being with no huge increases or decreases in the future for coming.
Please email us at email@example.com if you would like to run an Admiral rookie card by us (or hit us up on the Gold Card Auctions FB Page).
The Admiral was one of the best in the business, and he has a couple of championship rings to prove it. He’s widely considered to be the second-greatest player to ever suit up for the Spurs behind fellow Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, so you’d be forgiven for expecting his rookie cards to be a bit more impressive in terms of value.
His RCs were ridiculously overpriced when they were first released, and even exceeded the cost of the average Michael Jordan rookie at the time. Of course, they’re worth a fraction of that price now, as they were released during the height of the junk wax era, and the market imploded soon after.
Robinson’s great rookie season and his multiple accomplishments are important, but his RCs were a casualty of the high print runs from the era. They’re now over 30 years old, so be on the lookout for high PSA grades if you still want to grab an investment piece or two. You’ll also be able to avoid any fakes, of which there are many due to the interest his 1989 Hoops saw at the time.
For more expensive options, it’s worth taking a look at later years, and the many signed Robinson cards that can be found from the ‘90s and 2000s. For example, his 1997-98 Upper Deck Game Jersey is one of the better cards you’ll find, with the set producing the first basketball cards to come with game-worn jersey swatches. His RCs just can’t match up, no matter how popular they were back when they first released.
He has a reputation as one of the most professional players in the sport, so his RCs could be a solid long-term investment, although you’re more likely to see a better ROI if you look elsewhere.
Investment Rating: Moderate Buy
Ownership Disclosure: None
Best David Robinson Rookie Card: 1989 Hoops RC #138