Michael Jordan has his name written all over the NBA record books. The Chicago Bulls guard turned himself into a worldwide icon during a series of title runs during the 1990s when he teamed up with two-way star Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson to dominate the league. Jordan would finish his career with six NBA championships in six NBA finals appearances, never losing once on the biggest stage of the sport.
Related: Best Michael Jordan Rookie Cards
But Jordan would surpass NBA fame as he became perhaps the NBA’s first truly global superstar. He led the 1992 USA Olympic “Dream Team” to an easy gold medal in Barcelona and it was there that many people from all around the world got to see Jordan for the first time, dribbling around defenders and stretching his arms out for show-stopping dunks.
Post-career, Jordan would purchase the Charlotte Hornets where he has tried to turn the team into something that resembles his Chicago Bulls. While the Hornets have continued to flounder at the bottom of the NBA standings, Jordan remains in for the long haul and continues to try to make moves that will turn the franchise around.
But it was at the University of North Carolina where Jordan’s basketball career first began to take off and fans got to see the first glimpses of what a player he could be. Jordan played three seasons at Chapel Hill before he declared for the 1984 NBA draft where he would be selected with the third overall pick.
During his first season at North Carolina, Jordan won the ACC Freshman of the Year award after averaging 13.4 points per game for legendary head coach Dean Smith. However, it was at the end of that season that what Jordan would describe as “one of the turning points of my career” would happen. Jordan’s Tar Heels were up against future NBA star Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas in the 1992 NCAA Championship game. Jordan would break a late-game tie with a baseline jump shot that would stand as the game-winner, giving coach Dean Smith his first national championship.
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After three seasons, Jordan would leave UNC and start his time in Chicago. The rest is history. But Jordan continues to keep strong connections to the school that helped turn him into the player he is today, and Jordan can sometimes be spotted at UNC games in the stands as he cheers his alma matter on.
There were no Michael Jordan North Carolina Rookie cards made during his time with the team, but over the years some companies have gone back in time and produced cards with Jordan sporting the baby blue uniforms. Jordan mega fans should look to purchase these for their personal collection, but all sports card investors can see the value in some of these cards and hold them to realize long-term and short-term gains.
7 Best Michael Jordan North Carolina Rookie Cards
We have managed to find seven different cards with Jordan wearing his college colors but most of them have been produced in more recent years. For Jordan fans, these cards are a nice addition to a collection and offer something different from what the masses are usually after.
2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck North Carolina UNC #170 (buy on eBay)
This card is very visually appealing and features a photo of Jordan shooting a free throw in the white North Carolina jerseys overlayed against a baby blue background. The bottom portion of the card features a hardwood type court and has the words “The Jordan Years” printed on it.
Since the card is so eye-catching, it would make a great addition to a Jordan collection and thus also a good investment for those who will be looking to sell to the Jordan fans.
2013 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Black UNC Logo Patch Signatures Autograph #LS-MJ (buy on eBay)
This is one of the higher-end Jordan North Carolina cards as it features a large patch as well as a signature. The patch is in the middle of the card and has the North Carolina logo on it, while the photo of Jordan takes up just a small part of the card at the top part of the card.
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Any card with both a signature as well as a jersey patch will hold its value well and thus investors should flock towards this card. It ticks all the boxes for what someone could want out of a card and if one could get their hands on it then they should consider themselves lucky.
2011 Michael Jordan SP Authentic North Carolina Tar Heels #1 (buy on eBay)
While many SP Authentic cards will typically demand high prices, this Jordan can be found for more reasonable prices even when it has been graded highly. The card has a photo of Jordan attacking the rim, dribbling the ball in his left hand as he scans the court.
With the relatively cheap price for an SP Authentic card, investors may want to look towards this card as a stronghold that could make up a part of their portfolio.
2010 Michael Jordan SP Authentic Holo F/X North Carolina #23 (buy on eBay)
This is another SP Authentic Michael Jordan card, but it is not quite as desirable as the one mentioned above. Made the year before the previous one, this card has an interesting holo background with a photo of Jordan in his North Carolina blues.
This card has nothing that helps it stand out but could still be an interesting piece of a personal collection.
1989 Michael Jordan North Carolina Collegiate Collection Coca-Cola #18 (buy on eBay)
The earliest Michael Jordan North Carolina rookie card we found, this card comes from the time period when Coca-Cola sponsored some cards and they capitalized on Jordan’s fame to create this card.
This card would be a strong buy for investors due to the time period as well as the unique Coca-Cola connection. This card would fit well in all collections and therefore would make a good investment for those interested in North Carolina Michael Jordan rookie cards.
2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck North Carolina NCAA All-American #111 (buy on eBay)
Michael Jordan was named a college All-American and this card commemorates that achievement. It has a visually appealing look to it and highlights the 1983-84 year on the left side of the card.
For collectors of Michael Jordan cards, this card could be a great pickup as it highlights one of his career achievements and some of the accolades that he won.
2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck UNC #4 (buy on eBay)
On the left side of this card, there is a photo of Jordan dribbling the ball while on the right side there is a hardwood design with a large North Carolina logo. Jordan is looking around the court as he decides what to do with the ball.
Investors may want to look in a different direction when looking at North Carolina cards as better options are out there. Saying that this card could be a good addition to a personal collection as it has a fun look to it.
Complete Michael Jordan North Carolina Checklist
- 1989 Michael Jordan North Carolina Collegiate Collection Coca-Cola #18
- 2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck North Carolina UNC #170
- 2010 Michael Jordan SP Authentic Holo F/X North Carolina #23
- 2010 Upper Deck North Carolina Michael Jordan NCAA All-American
- 2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck UNC #43
- 2011 Michael Jordan SP Authentic North Carolina Tar Heels #1
- 2013 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Black UNC Logo Patch Signatures Autograph #LS-MJ
Michael Jordan cards have always been one of the best investments in the entire hobby and will continue to be so as long as his magical, larger-than-life aura remains. His presence around not only basketball but the sport itself remains just as large today as it was the day he retired and even as we get further and further away from his playing days, athletes everywhere continue to look up to “Air Jordan”.
ESPN recently aired a documentary series titled “The Last Dance”, which followed Jordan and his Bulls during their 1997-98 championship season. The documentary captured the attention of people around the world and offered new unseen behind the scenes footage on Jordan and his team. Publicity like this will continue to help make Jordan one of the most popular sports figures in the world and will continue to help create a steady demand for his cards.
While rookie cards from his Chicago Bulls days are probably stronger investments, these North Carolina cards can make a great addition to any collection as well as are still solid investment choices. The demand may be slightly smaller, but no card with Jordan pictured will ever be a bad investment and the cards are sure to at least to continue to hold their values.
North Carolina was a unique and memorable time in Jordan’s career, a time before the fame and riches that accompanied his NBA career and when basketball could just be about basketball. Collectors may wish to own a card to remember this segment of time and thus they may go shopping for North Carolina Jordan Rookie Cards.