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An Analysis Of The Top 10 Shai Gilgeous Alexander Rookie Cards

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has gone from a trade piece in his rookie season to one of the best players in the league.

He’s the spearhead of the young, dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder and has found himself in multiple MVP conversations. As collectors seek to invest in the promising career of SGA, here’s a curated list of the top 10 rookie cards that should be on every collector’s radar.

Please note: To ensure an inclusive and attainable list, I’ve excluded short-printed cards. While a 1-of-1 National Treasures rookie card would undoubtedly hold immense value, this list focuses on accessible options that offer significant investment potential.

If you’re looking to shell out big bucks, National Treasures, Flawless, or even SSP inserts like Downtown or Kaboom are always a nice pickup.

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4 reasons to invest in Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s emergence as a key player for the Oklahoma City Thunder has sparked considerable interest among basketball card collectors.

If you’re contemplating adding his rookie cards to your collection or investment portfolio, here are five compelling reasons to consider:

He’s arrived

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s finally getting the media attention he deserves, and with the spotlight comes a climb in value.

Investing in his rookie cards allows you to capture a piece of his early career, especially as he continues to develop and make waves in the basketball world with a young core of talent around him. Oklahoma City, for the first time in a while, could be a legitimate threat.

Potential for future achievements

While he’s already finished Top-5 in MVP voting, there’s still so much higher he can climb. Realistically, SGA could win an MVP before his draft classmate, Luka Doncic.

Investing in rookie cards is not just about the present; it’s also a bet on the player’s future achievements. Gilgeous-Alexander’s early success may be a precursor to a promising career filled with accolades, many All-Star selections, and potentially even championships.

NBA rookie card market trends

The NBA rookie card market has witnessed substantial growth in recent years, with collectors and investors alike recognizing the potential for significant returns. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s cards, especially from reputable sets, align with the trends of the market. Keeping an eye on market dynamics and the trajectory of NBA rookie card values can provide insights into the potential appreciation of Gilgeous-Alexander’s cards over time.

Bright future for Oklahoma City

Shai is in a nice situation for his cards: he’s a talented guard, but playing for a team that hasn’t been in the spotlight recently.

Nobody hates the small-market Thunder – they haven’t been good enough to have strong feelings against – so most hobbyists will support him and want his cards if he can help forward the franchise. 

Top 10 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rookie cards

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10. 2018 Panini Donruss Optic Rated Rookie (#162)

The timeless appeal of the Donruss Rated Rookie makes it a must-have for collectors. Opt for submitting raw cards to acquire PSA 10s as opposed to buying them outright, adding significant value to your collection.

Explore colored-border parallels for a touch of rarity, increasing the potential ceiling of your investment.

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2018 Panini Donruss Optic Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

9. 2018 Panini Prizm Mosaic Silver S. Gilgeous-Alexander (#89)

Mosaic is a subset in this year — part of the Prizm family — but the low-pop cards are more attractive investments than Mosaic is in it’s current form.

Still, be discerning with Mosaic cards, focusing on rookie autos or low-numbered versions for optimal value.

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2018 Panini Prizm S. Gilgeous-Alexander Mosaic

8. 2018 Donruss Optic Base Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (#162)

The Donruss Optic Base Rated Rookie seamlessly combines classic design with a modern opti-chrome finish. Its popularity among mid-tier collectors solidifies its position in this list.

Given Optic’s reputation as a reliable brand for investing, these cards remain popular even at the base/non-parallel level.

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2018 Donruss Optic Base Shai Alexander

7. 2018 Prizm Base Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (#184)

While the Prizm Base rookie card may be overgraded, its enduring collectability and association with Panini’s iconic brand status make it a staple in sports card investing.

A PSA 10 Prizm rookie card remains a stable currency for mid-level collectors within the hobby.

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2018 Panini Prizm S. Gilgeous-Alexander

6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander numbered autograph

Shai has a decent amount of mid-tier autograph cards. Any numbered Shai autograph, however, remains a strong buy because they’re finite.

Some will be worth more than others, but do research on brands and make a budget before making your purchase.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander numbered autograph

5. 2018 Prizm Rookie Autograph S. Gilgeous-Alexander (#RSSGA)

Featuring an on-card rookie autograph, the Optic Rookie Autograph is a testament to Gilgeous-Alexander’s early achievements.

Its accessibility compared to other high-end autograph cards adds to its allure, making it a valuable addition to any basketball card collection.

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2018 Panini Prizm S. Gilgeous-Alexander Rookie Signature - Silver Prizm

4. 2018-19 Select Panini Select Courtside Level Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (#201)

The Panini Select courtside is a hidden gem within the Select series. Boasting a particularly low population juxtaposed against particularly underwhelming hype, this card presents an attractive investment opportunity.

For collectors conscious of their budget, exploring different tiers within the Select series can provide flexibility while securing a unique Gilgeous-Alexander card.

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2018-19 Select Prizms Zebra Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

3. 2018 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Contenders (and Contenders Optic) rookie auto (#106)

As one of the rarest cards on this list, the Contenders Rookie Auto remains a prized inclusion for collectors and the top autograph to chase outside the high-end brands.

The incorporation of chromium technology in Contenders Optic adds a nice dimension to Gilgeous-Alexander’s autograph, along with short-print colors to align your investment with your budget.

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2018 Panini Contenders S. G. Alexander Ball High - Auto Premium

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Optic Holo and Parallels

The Optic Holo version of Gilgeous-Alexander’s rookie card offers a refractive twist on the classic design, making it a visually appealing option for collectors.

Exploring numbered parallels within the Optic Holo series not only enhances the card’s rarity but also ensures a solid foundation for future investment potential.

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1. 2018 Panini Prizm Silver and Parallels Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (#184)

Undoubtedly, the Prizm Silver stands as a cornerstone in the world of basketball card collecting. Its timeless appeal and association with Panini’s prestigious brand make it a top-tier investment choice.

Pursuing numbered or non-numbered Prizm Silver parallels adds an extra layer of exclusivity and potential value to your collection if you have the funds for it.

2018 Panini Prizm Silver and Parallels Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Final thoughts on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rookie cards

As SGA continues to make a mark in the NBA, these rookie cards offer a glimpse into his promising future. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the hobby, these cards provide exciting opportunities to celebrate and invest in one of the league’s emerging basketball talents.

What do you think of SGA? What will his cards be worth in the years to come?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @card_lines, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for investment advice and industry news delivered straight to your inbox twice a week.

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Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.

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