LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the most electric running backs the National Football League has ever seen, as he often would make defenders look silly on his way to the endzone.
No defenders wanted to attempt to make an open-field tackle on “LT” as it was next to impossible.
Tomlinson excelled in college at Texas Christian University and was selected with the 5th in the 2001 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, a team he would play for between 2001 and 2009 before moving to the New York Jets.
Tomlinson was not only a great runner but also one of the best pass-catchers out of the backfield, as he was way too quick and shifty for the more slow-footed linebackers that were often tasked with the assignment of guarding him.
One fun fact that many may not know about Tomlinson is how many passing touchdowns he had in his career.
Tomlinson was often used in trick plays and thus managed to throw seven passing touchdowns in his career, showing what a complete football player he was.
While on the Chargers, Tomlinson would be a part of one of the more explosive offenses the NFL has seen, but the Chargers never could translate their offensive firepower into postseason success.
He reached conference championship games twice in his career, once with the Jets and once with the Chargers, but he would never get the opportunity to show his skills in a Super Bowl.
When Tomlinson retired, he was second in career rushing touchdowns and third in total career touchdowns.
These accolades would lead to his number twenty-one being retired by the San Diego Chargers, and in 2017, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here are the top LT rookie cards for your investment portfolio.
#1. 2001 LaDainian Tomlinson Topps Rookie Card #350
This was the primary Topps rookie card for LaDainian Tomlinson that was produced in large numbers and featured the running back peering over his shoulder as he sprinted away.
This card is an excellent start for Tomlinson collectors as it is not too hard to find and can be an excellent backbone for a collection.
This card may not offer the same upside to severe investors that a rarer, more unique Tomlinson card will.
The maximum price will be capped due to the more common nature of the card, but it still serves as a more introductory card for novice collectors or those who don’t want to take the full leap on Tomlinson.
#2. 2001 LaDainian Tomlinson Topps Chrome Rookie Card Refractor /999 #221
This card is very similar to the one mentioned above, but it is a part of the popular Topps Chrome set.
The base refractor was limited to only 999 copies, and other refractors were produced in even more limited runs.
This card is an excellent option for investors who want to jump into the LaDainian Tomlinson market and want a higher potential upside but don’t want to pay the upfront costs that an extremely high-end card would cost.
2001 Topps Chrome Refractor Parallels: Only one… Black Refractor has 100 copies… good luck getting your oven mitts on that bad boy.
#3. 2001 LaDainian Tomlinson Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto #150
This may be the most luxurious and high-end LaDainian Tomlinson card produced.
The Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket subset is one of the most well-known subsets among football cards and is a strong, recognizable brand.
The card has an autograph that has been stickered to it and looks very visually appealing.
It resembles a game ticket, and the combination of the branding, autograph, and Tomlinson’s legacy makes this a desirable card worth a good amount in good condition.
The premier Tomlinson card has the highest upside for any investment opportunity and deserves a long look from collectors.
While it may take some money to get the cards into your hands, there’s a more significant possibility it will all pay off down the road.
#4. 2001 Upper Deck Ovation Auto #146
#5. 2001 UD Rookie FX #293
- 2001 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto #150
- 2001 Topps Rookie Card #350
- 2001 UD Graded RC Autograph #53
- 2001 Topps Chrome Rookie Card Refractor /999 #221
- 2001 UD Rookie FX #293
- 2001 Upper Deck Ovation Auto #146
- 2001 Upper Deck Rookie Watch Gold RC #230
- 2001 UD Game Gear Autograph #LT-GS
- 2001 Pacific RC #459 Autograph #/1500
- 2001 Topps Heritage Retrofractor Rookie Card #136
- 2001 Pacific Crown Royale RC Autograph #151
- 2001 Bowman’s Best Rookie Card #124
- 2001 Topps Finest RC #132
- 2001 Topps Stadium Club Autograph #LS-LT
- 2001 SP Authentic Future Watch Jersey Rookie Card #120
- 2001 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor #190
LaDainian Tomlinson Rookie Card Value
The Playoff Contender and Topps Chrome cards are the most valuable LT rookie cards.
The LT Topps Chrome Black Refractor rookie card will most likely fetch the most money at an eBay auction.
Best Low-Value LaDainian Tomlinson Rookie Card: 2001 Topps Chrome
Best High-Value LaDainian Tomlinson Rookie Card: 2001 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto #150
Tomlinson holds the record for most touchdowns in a season with 31, and it was no accident, as he was a fantastic player.
No Charger will ever wear his number again, and even when he finished his career with the Jets, he was an impactful player.
For those looking for an investment, Tomlinson may be at a point where some of his hype has faded, and his cards could be purchased reasonably.
He has already received the honorable acclaim of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he does not have many accolades left to garner.
Still, Tomlinson has a case as one of the best players in NFL history at one of the most glamourous positions, and therefore it will never be a bad thing to have a few of his cards in your collection.
For novices to expert collectors alike, there are Tomlinson cards available at every price range, and they are all viable options.
Investment Rating: Moderate BUY
Ownership Disclosure: One (1) Topps Chrome PSA 10