Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards: Are You Ready to Be a Big Baller?
He might not have been taken first in the draft, but all eyes are on Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards for the 2017-18 season.
Sure, skill plays a big part, but there’s a lot more surrounding the young point guard that’s magnifying the hype around his early cards even more.
For starters, it’s the Lakers. Like any big-market team, players get a brighter spotlight and increased attention both locally and on the national stage. For the NBA, that reach goes even further to all corners of the globe. That’s a huge plus for Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards.
Perhaps even bigger, is the role of his family. If Ball’s dad, Lavar, has his way, Lonzo and his sons will become the Kardashians of the sports world. His comments may be outlandish and even laughable, but they get people talking. And when people are talking, there’s bound to be more interest in Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards.
That’s already showing with the first Lonzo Ball cards to hit the market. Panini has worked him into both their online-exclusive Panini Instant line and some promo sets available at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention. In both instances, he has been outpacing all 2017-18 NBA rookie on the secondary market. And it’s not even close.
Need further proof about leverage the Ball name has already? Leaf’s small run of Lavar Ball autographs that sold out instantly and quickly peaked at about $300 per card. They may be closer to $150 now, but that’s still a huge markup from what they initially sold for and about $149.50 more than what you’d expect from someone who couldn’t average three points per game in college.
The point is, awareness on Lonzo Ball is higher than anyone else in the 2017 NBA Draft class. That means there is going to be lots of pressure to produce. But Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards are going to have added wiggle room given that high-profile status.
Lonzo Ball Rookie Card Guide
The following list highlights Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards as marked with the RC tag in the Beckett Basketball Card Database and Price Guide. Inserts and parallels are not included. The Lonzo Ball Rookie Card list will grow in the months ahead and so will this guide. We’ll update throughout the season.
2017-18 Donruss Lonzo Ball RC #199
2017-18 Donruss Basketball is a product that basks in a retro glow. Part of that is the Rated Rookie subset, which is where Lonzo Ball and the rest of the 2017 draft class are found. There’s nothing premium about the base version of the card and it should be one of the more common (and affordable) Lonzo Ball Rookie Cards when all is said and done.
Parallels: Green Flood, Holo Laser Green and Yellow, Holo Laser Orange, Press Proof Silver (/299), Press Proof Purple (/199), Holo Laser Green (/99), Holo Laser Red (/99), Press Proof Red (/75), Holo Laser Blue (/49), Holo Laser Yellow (/25), Press Proof Blue (/25), Holo Laser Purple (/15), Holo Laser Red and Blue (/15), Press Proof Gold (/10), Press Proof Black (1/1)
2017-18 NBA Hoops Lonzo Ball RC #252
The 2017-18 NBA Hoops Lonzo Ball Rookie Card isn’t high-end. But it’s going to garner early-season interest as it’s Ball’s first pack-inserted card with him in a Lakers uniform. Contenders Draft Picks came out earlier but that has Ball in his college uniform and marks. The Hoops name also has a lot of history, which could help it resonate with those who collected during the brand’s original run of the early 1990s.
Ball also has several autograph inserts in 2017-18 NBA Hoops.
Parallels: Blue, Red Backs, Teal Explosion, Premium Box Set (/199), Silver (/199), Teal (/125), Green (/99), Blue Checkerboard (/75), Orange Explosion (/75), Red (/49), Artist Proof (/25), Orange (/25), Red Checkerboard (/15), Gold (/10), Artist Proof Black (1/1)
2017-18 Panini Ascension Lonzo Ball RC #140
2017-18 Panini Ascension Basketball is a new addition to the company’s portfolio. And it keeps things fairly simple with the base set. The cards are colorful yet classy. As for Rookie Cards like Ball, players have two of them. They maintain the same numbers so they’re like variations. However, both are printed in equal quantities and have the same parallels so both can be seen as Rookie Cards. They’re not numbered or elevated in a premium fashion so values are kept reasonable.
Parallels: Blue (/129), Red (/75), Purple (/50), Green (/25), Black (1/1)
2017-18 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Lonzo Ball #51 Autograph
The first traditional Lonzo Ball Rookie Card on the market is a big one. Autographed on-card (and with a nice, legible signature at that), it comes from a brand with a storied history.
Adding to the intrigue and chase for some is the fact that the card has not one, not two but three variations to chase. Variations are identifiable on the back of the card. They have either a B, C or D in the top corner. The base version does not. All four cards, the Rookie Card and the variations, have the same parallels. The only difference is in the Draft Ticket parallels. The base Draft versions are numbered to 99 while variations have just 25.
Parallels: Blue Foil, Red Foil, Draft Ticket (/99), Cracked Ice (/23), Playoff Ticket (/15), Championship Ticket (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2017-18 Panini Court Kings Lonzo Ball RC #102
The 2017-18 Court Kings Lonzo Ball brings a level of artistry to the Rookie Card mix. The design, which uses splatter paints and big color, is different from his other cards that are out there.
Like the other rookies in the set, Ball has three additional cards on the base checklist. Each uses a different design. They also get progressively tougher to pull. Because they’re short prints, they’re not considered traditional Rookie Cards like this one. However, they do add for a challenging chase, especially without any parallels to hunt for.
2017-18 Panini Prizm Lonzo Ball RC #289
As a brand, Prizm basketball has caught on as a place for Rookie Cards. Like flagship Topps for baseball and Upper Deck’s Young Guns in hockey, cards like the 2017-18 Panini Prizm Lonzo Ball Rookie Card don’t have a lot of the bells and whistles of a premium set. But they’re accessible. And they look great. This expands the audience and, thus, demand. So while these will never command the same prices as an autographed RC or something that’s exceptionally rare, values are strong for what they bring to the mix.
Parallels: Fast Break, Green, Hyper, Red/White/Blue, Ruby Wave, Silver, White Sparkle, Blue (/199), Fast Break Blue (/175), Fast Break Red (/125), Blue Ice (/99), Fast Break Purple (/75), Purple (/75), Fast Break Pink (/50), Orange (/49), Pink Pulsar (/42), Green Pulsar (/25), Mojo (/25), Red Pulsar (/25), Fast Break Bronze (/20), Gold (/10), Red Shimmer (/8), Fast Break Neon Green (/5), Black (1/1), Fast Break Black (1/1)
2017-18 Totally Certified Lonzo Ball RC #102 /299
The 2017-18 Totally Certified Lonzo Ball Rookie Card is big on bright colors and modern lines. While he does have autographed inserts in the product, this card is fairly straightforward. The fact that it’s numbered to 299 does elevate its value somewhat. But in the bigger picture, it shouldn’t cost too much.
Parallels also stick with the bold color choices. There aren’t too many to chase, though.
Parallels: Purple (/199), Blue (/99), Camo (/25), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Holo Blue (1/1)
Lonzo Ball Pre-Rookie Card Highlights
The first Lonzo Ball cards were made available within hours of the Lakers drafting him. He made appearances in a few releases and promo sets leading up to the start of the 2017-18 basketball card season. Here are some of the highlights of what’s out there already.
2017-18 Panini Instant NBA Draft Lonzo Ball #DP2
Within 24 hours of Adam Silver greeting him at the podium at the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball had his first official basketball card. Part of the print-on-demand 2017-18 Panini Instant, the production run for the base version was dictated by the original orders. This came out to 1,251 copies. By comparison, first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, sold 656 copies.
On top of the base version, three parallels were made that quickly sold out. These had confirmed print runs from the outset.
Parallels: Silver (/25), Green (/10), Black (1/1)
2017-18 Panini Instant Photo Shoot First Look Draft Lonzo Ball #5
This marks Ball’s first appearance on a card in a Lakers uniform. Like the previous Draft Night cards, this is another print-on-demand release sold initially through the Panini website. Its origins come from the 2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot. Its final production run has not yet been confirmed.
Parallels: Green (/10), Black (1/1)
2017 Panini Instant Instant Access Lonzo Ball Autograph #IA-LB /10
If you’re looking for the first official Lonzo Ball autograph card, this is it. That said, with just ten copies, you’re likely to be doing more looking than buying. It was one of a handful of cards sold direct by Panini through their website. On top of the regular green version, there’s a one-of-one Black parallel.
Parallels: Black (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention Promo Pack Lonzo Ball #9
As part of the VIP package for the 2017 Nationals Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, collectors received a coupon that, when taken to the Panini booth, could be redeemed for a special set of promo cards, which mixed basketball, football and baseball rookies.
2017 Panini National Convention Prospects Lonzo Ball #P1 /199
This card came in the silver packs that were part of Panini’s wrapper redemption program at the 2017 NSCC. Limited to 199 copies, it’s part of the Prospects inserts that were part of the much larger promo set. On top of the base version, there are several parallels.
Parallels: Rapture (/99), Rainbow Spokes (/49), Escher Squares (/25), Rainbow Spokes Thick Stock (/25), Escher Squares Thick Stock (/10), Pyramids (/10), Galactic Windows (/5), Hyperplaid (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention Prospects Autographs #P1
A parallel of sorts to the main Prospects card, this marks the first Lonzo Ball autograph card inserted into a pack. The card is not numbered and an exact print run has not been announced. That said, don’t expect to find a lot of them out there.
2017 Panini National Convention College Memorabilia Lonzo Ball #LB
Ball’s first memorabilia card was also randomly inserted in the 2017 Panini NSCC wrapper redemption silver packs. The swatch comes from a player-worn jersey. The five parallels come with a serial number.
Parallels: Rapture (/49), Rainbow Spokes (/25), Escher Squares (/10), Pyramids (/5), Hyperplaid (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention VIP Lonzo Ball #91
Those attending Panini’s VIP party towards the end of the 2017 National received exclusive gold packs. Part of these included a new base promo set done with chromium stock similar to Panini’s Prizm and Select brands. A handful of parallels are also available.
Parallels: Prizm, Prizm Cracked Ice (/25), Prizm Gold (/15), Prizm Green (/5), Prizm Black (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention VIP Autographs Lonzo Ball #91 /25
A small number of autographed versions of the 2017 Panini National Convention VIP Lonzo Ball was also available in the gold packs. The main version is numbered to just 25 while the lone parallel, Black, is a one-of-one.
Parallels: Black (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention VIP Memorabilia Lonzo Ball #91 /25
Like the autograph, the Lonzo Ball memorabilia card in the VIP gold packs boasts the same general design as the base card. In addition to the swatch and serial number, the background pattern is also different.
Parallels: Black (1/1)
2017 Panini National Convention VIP Gems Lonzo Ball #LB /5
Another card offered at Panini’s VIP party, this Lonzo Ball card was not in the gold packs. Rather, it was in special black boxes given to attendees. It has a diamond embedded in it, similar to how Panini Flawless base cards work. The base version has just five copies. Two parallels exist, Gold and Autograph. Both are one-of-ones.
Parallels: Autographs (1/1), Gold (1/1)
Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.