Tim Duncan (04/25/76) is a retired power forward who is seen as one of the greatest of all-time. A five-time NBA Champion, he’s also a two-time NBA MVP, a three-time NBA Finals MVP, and a 15-time NBA All-Star.
Tim Duncan Rookie Year Stats: 82 games | 21.1 PPG | 2.7 AST | 11.9 TRB | 2.5 Blocks
He did it all with one team, staying with the San Antonio Spurs for his entire 19-year playing career. In more recent years, Duncan joined their coaching staff.
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Tim Duncan Nicknames: Timmy, The Big Fundamental, Old Man Riverwalk, The Stone Buddha, Groundhog Day
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about three top Tim Duncan rookie card options, along with investment advice for the next few years.
Best 3 Tim Duncan Rookie Cards
1997 Tim Duncan cards are what we’re looking at here, from his rookie season. Given the era, there aren’t many parallels or signed versions, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t expensive options if you know where to look.
We’ll start with one of the best cards in terms of value and rarity.
1997 Tim Duncan Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 0 /100 RC #5 (buy on eBay)
The first set is fairly unique for the time. The 1997 Flair Showcase had four Duncan cards, starting with Row 3 and working down to Row 0. The rarity increases as you go down the Rows, but we’re looking at something scarcer still.
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The limited Legacy Collection parallel is numbered to just 100 and fetches a fair price at auction when looking at copies that have achieved a high grade. The Legacy parallels mimic the original Rows, so it’s a landscape option with an image of the player stretching for a ball, just like the normal Row 0 card.
1997 Tim Duncan Topps Chrome Refractor RC #115 (buy on eBay)
Once more, we’re ignoring the base card, heading straight for the rare Refractor parallel! The 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor is arguably Duncan’s most popular RC overall, thanks to the power of the brand and the signature chromium finish. The legend is pictured in a great action shot as he attacks the net, evading two players in the process.
As with the others, it’s highly condition-sensitive, but that also means that it’s a great investment piece.
1997 Tim Duncan Skybox Premium Star Rubies RC /50 #112 (buy on eBay)
The 1997 Skybox Premium is a beautiful card, with a simple image of Duncan leaping up towards the net. The blurred background has a reddish tint, and it’s finished off in gold foil, which has an impact on the condition when it comes to grading.
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The Star Rubies parallel is numbered to 50 and changes the background design significantly. The gold foil is also switched for red, making it even better to look at. Either card is popular, but the latter is much more valuable.
Tim Duncan Rookie Card Checklist
- 1997 Topps RC #115
- 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor RC #115
- 1997 Topps Finest RC #101
- 1997 Topps Finest Refractor RC #101
- 1997 Topps Chrome Destiny Refractor RC #D8
- 1997 Collector’s Choice Tim Duncan ROOKIE RC #323
- 1997 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 0 /100 RC #5
- 1997 Finest Embossed Gold Die-Cut Tim Duncan ROOKIE RC #325
- 1997 Skybox Premium Star Rubies RC /50 #112
- 1997 Skybox Z-Force Tim Duncan Rookie Card #111
- 1997 Skybox E-X2001 RC #75
- 1997 Skybox Premium Tim Duncan RC #112
- 1997 Ultra Court Masters Tim Duncan Rookie Card #18CM
- 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems /50 RC
- 1997 Upper Deck SPx GOLD RC #37
- 1997 Bowman’s Best Tim Duncan Rookie RC
- 1997 Press Pass Autographs
- 1997 Hoops Basketball Tim Duncan RC #166
- 1997 SP Authentic Profiles 3 Die-Cut
- 1997 SP Authentic Profiles Tim Duncan ROOKIE RC #P37
- 1997 Hoops High Voltage /500 RC #HV15
- 1997 Metal Universe RC #66
- 1997 Tim Duncan Rookie Card Fleer Tiffany #201
- 1997 Fleer Crystal Tim Duncan ROOKIE RC #201
- 1997 SP Authentic RC #128
- 1997 Tim Duncan Upper Deck Rookie Card #114
Tim Duncan Rookie Card Value
The most expensive Tim Duncan rookie cards are his 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor and the 1997 Skybox Premium Star Rubies… both went for over $10k in the summer of 2020.
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Tim Duncan Rookie Card Gallery
Tim Duncan Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide & Investment Advice
Investment Rating: Buy/Strong Buy (4.4 out of 5)
Ownership Disclosure: One (1) 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor RC #115
Best Tim Duncan Rookie Card: 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor RC #115
When ranking the greatest power forwards ever, Duncan has a legitimate claim to be number one and needs to be included in the conversation at the very least. He’s also a San Antonio Spurs legend, and still can’t give up his association with the franchise to this day.
He’s currently their assistant coach, reuniting with Gregg Popovich, who also drafted the player back in the 1997-98 season.
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Duncan’s RCs saw a lift this year, as he was elected as a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020. It was the first year that he was eligible, and there was never a real chance that he’d miss out.
The late 1990s was a great era for the sport, and also the collectible hobby. We’re past the junk wax era, so there are a number of rare Duncan RCs, as well as more affordable options if you’re operating with a limited budget.
In the grand scheme of things, Duncan has only just retired, while his legacy with both his team and the sport itself is likely to live on unabated. As such, his rookie cards are likely to rise rapidly over the next decade, especially as younger fans grow up, and want to own their favorite player’s best RC.
We’d snap them up while you can, or keep tabs on prices for six months at the very least. You wouldn’t want to look back with regret in a few years’ time.