Kevin Garnett Rookie Card Rankings and Guide
If you’re looking for a Kevin Garnett Rookie Card, there’s a fair amount of choice but not a lot of confusion. Releasing in 1995-96, several companies had NBA licenses at the time, however base cards still dominated checklists. Serial-numbered short prints and widespread autographs were close, but not quite there yet. Parallels existed, but if a set had any, they were usually limited to one or two versions.
In total, there are 15 different Kevin Garnett Rookie Cards that are part of base sets. A Hall of Famer and one of the game’s greats, all carry value but most are still affordable to virtually every budget unless you’re looking at top-grade copies.
Curious what the most valuable Kevin Garnett Rookie Cards are? They’re all ranked below.
Kevin Garnett Rookie Card Rankings
The following list only includes base Rookie Cards with the RC tag in the Beckett Database. Rankings are based primarily on values in the price guide. A full checklist of Kevin Garnett cards is available here.
1. 1995-96 Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #115
Before Panini Prizm and even before Topps Chrome, Finest was the king of chromium among basketball cards. This has been the most coveted Kevin Garnett Rookie Card since its release. And while prices remain strong, it’s also interesting to look at how much more simple Rookie Cards were at the time. You won’t find an autograph or even a serial number here. The 1995-96 Finest Kevin Garnett RC card doesn’t even have a Refractor let alone a rainbow.
2. 1995-96 Topps Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #237
For a long time, this was one of KG’s cheapest Rookie Cards. But base Topps has taken off in basketball as collectors look for tradition and a running through line among brands. So the rising Topps prices aren’t limited to just Garnett but pretty much all Hall of Famers. This card is found in Series 2 packs.
3. 1995-96 Metal Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #167
Although not the same level of strangeness that this line would morph into a few years later, the etched foil layout still hints at something futuristic and over-the-top.
4. 1995-96 Flair Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #206
A lot of Flair’s appeal is in its elegance. There’s the multiple photos. The gold foil is minimal but almost regal. One of Fleer’s premium lines at the time, this one also has lots of gloss.
5. 1995-96 SP Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #159
If you’re wondering how “premium” has evolved over the years, at the time SP was Upper Deck’s premier basketball line in 1995-96. Garnett is part of the Premier Prospects subset, which includes some additional foil highlights to go with the thicker card stock compared to most other brands. Within a couple of years SP would take another jump with the addition of serial numbers then autographs for a lot of its rookies. But here, it’s simply something nice and still relatively affordable.
6. 1995-96 E-XL Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #49
Spinning out of SkyBox’s under appreciated Emotion line, E-XL was a different take. Instead of highlighting different adjectives in an elegant, albeit ’90s style like Emotion, E-XL uses textures and layers. The photo layer is somewhat glossy. The frame is more of a flat feel. This line would continue to evolve, transforming into the popular E-X2000 in 1996-97.
7. 1995-96 Upper Deck Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #273
It’s hard to go wrong with a base Upper Deck Rookie Card. For a generation of collectors, it was one of the go-to lines that was both accessible but still a little bit premium. That’s apparent on this Ken Garnett RC, which has quite possibly the best action photo of all his rookies.
Parallels: Electric Court, Electric Court Gold
8. 1995-96 SP Championship Kevin Garnett RC #62
Although boasting the SP name, this is a totally different set. 1995-96 SP Championship released as a retail-exclusive. Standard for most Upper Deck sets, there’s a balance between the various design elements. It’s almost like a modern twist on 1984 Topps Baseball.
9. 1995-96 Collector’s Choice Kevin Garnett RC#275
Collector’s Choice, Upper Deck’s entry-level product at the time, holds up fairly well today. This is a clean card that conveys Garnett’s size more than any of his other RCs.
Parallels: Player’s Club, Player’s Club Platinum
10. 1995-96 Topps Gallery Kevin Garnett RC #41
As far as construction goes, this is one of the more elegantly premium Kevin Garnett RCs. In retrospect, the minimalist design elements might have lent itself better to Stadium Club. No matter what brand it comes from, this is one of the more attractive choices on the bottom half of the list.
Parallels: Player’s Private Issue
11. 1995-96 Ultra Kevin Garnett RC #274
Shadows aside, there’s a solid photo here but that “Rookie” proclamation in the background makes it look like the young Timberwolves standout was playing next to some weird fence.
12. 1995-96 Stadium Club Kevin Garnett RC #343
Typically, when you think of Stadium Club, stellar photography comes to mind. That’s not really the case here with Garnett looking like he’s taking a breather between plays or on the sidelines. This is another instance where the RC lands in Series 2 packs.
Parallels: Members Only, Retail Orange
13. 1995-96 SkyBox Premium Kevin Garnett RC #233
When does a card give off a sense of glowing without actually glowing? When it’s a card from the 1995-96 SkyBox Premium “Rookie” subset. There’s a level of elegance to the gold foil but it’s not the first thing you’re likely to notice. All the while, the action shot shows some great intensity.
14. 1995-96 Hoops Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #272
Part of the Series 2 checklist, this card makes a couple of things very clear: 1) Garnett’s rookie status and 2) it’s a product of the mid ’90s where things were faux edgy just because. That said, the psychedelic backdrop has come back around again and could fit in well with some modern products.
15. 1995-96 Fleer Kevin Garnett Rookie Card #293
Being an entry-level brand isn’t necessarily a knock against 1995-96 Fleer. But even in an era where “loud” and “extreme” were trends that reached beyond Mountain Dew ads, there’s way too much happening on this card.