Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen, and still a very collectible name in the basketball card collecting hobby.
The five-time NBA champion, and Hall of Fame guard is known for his great successes with the LA Lakers, and their rivalry with Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics.
His rookie card from 1980 is one of the hobby’s all-time gems, and one of the most valuable sports cards of its era.
Although his earliest basketball cards came before, many of Magic’s cards came during the Junk Wax Era of sports cards, in the late-80s and early-90s.
Many of his autograph options came after his playing career had ended, and on the whole are affordable considering he’s one of the NBA’s elite.
The list below details the most valuable and top Magic Johnson basketball cards of all-time.
The Best Magic Johnson Cards
1980-81 Topps Larry Bird #34 / Julius Erving #174 / Magic Johnson Rookie Card #139
This one is not just the top Magic rookie card, and one of his most valuable and sought-after cards of all-time, it’s also one of the most valuable sports cards of all the 1980s.
The card isn’t only significant for being a Magic Johnson rookie card, it happens to also feature the rookie card of fellow NBA Hall of Famer, Larry Bird. It also features NBA legend Julius Erving to cap a very desirable card.
It’s the top option, and the most popular Magic Johnson card.
1981-82 Topps Magic Johnson #21
Johnson’s second base card came in the 1981-82 Topps set – It was during this season, that Magic himself said that the Lakers transformed into a great team.
Johnson went on to win the NBA Final MVP award, for the second time in his career, while the Lakers won the Finals. This Topps card celebrates the success of both Magic and the Lakers in the 1981-82 season.
It’s another desired card, and one of the most popular Magic Johnson basketball cards. It came in the last Topps Basketball card release until 1992, which perhaps adds to its value.
1983-84 Star Magic Johnson #13
Magic’s first appearance in several Star card sets came in the 1983-84 set, which was the first NBA option available following the 1981-82 Topps Basketball set – A well-needed release for the deprived basketball card collectors of that time.
Released as part of team sets, it’s believed that much less than 5,000 were produced of this Magic Johnson card. It’s one of the top MJ cards, because of how scarce NBA products were at the time.
1986-87 Fleer Magic Johnson #53
However, Magic Johnson is another star name on the Hall of Fame checklist, and with it being one of the most iconic and popular basketball card sets of all-time, this is another top Johnson card.
Between 1982-1986, there were very little in the way of basketball card releases from major manufacturers, which made this set even more well-received at the time.
1986-87 Fleer Sticker Magic Johnson #7
The 1986-87 Fleer Sticker inserts came at a ratio of one per pack, and they’ve proven to be quite popular and valuable.
A less colorful, but solid alternative to the base Fleer Magic Johnson card.
1992-93 Hoops Commemorative Magic Johnson Autograph
This one was released as a commemorative insert to honor Magic’s (first) retirement from basketball in the 1992-93 Hoops set.
The card features an image of MJ from his rookie season, with a banner saying ‘Rookie Year 1979’. The big appeal is the signature, which was the first offering of a pack-pulled Magic Johnson autographed card, and was limited to 1,000 copies.
1993-94 NBA Hoops Magic Johnson & Larry Bird Autograph #MB1
Another one of the most iconic basketball cards of all-time, which again features both long-term rivals Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
The card came as a redemption, but the hard-signed autographs made it a card that was ahead of its time, and one that is tough to find today.
If you do manage to find this rare option, it’ll cost a lot to buy. It’s safer to buy graded, because it’s a card that has been prone to counterfeiting.
1995-96 Finest Magic Johnson #252
Following his retirement in 1991, Magic Johnson returned to the NBA for the 1995-96 season, and with that came new options for his card collectors, including this Finest card.
Finest have consistently produced popular cards, with the Refractor parallels offering a bigger chase, and this is one of the most popular MJ cards.
Exquisite Collection Magic Johnson Autographs
When it came to premium and high-end basketball cards in the 2000s, Exquisite was the king – They were popular and well sought-after cards, which continue to sell well, with high values for superstars like Magic Johnson.
The brand played its part, but the features of hard-signed autographs, patches and low print runs gave the cards big prestige.
The Limited Logos line, in particular, resonated well with collectors, for example the 2003-04 Exquisite Collection Limited Logos Magic Johnson (#LL-MA) card, pictured above.
There are numerous other Exquisite options for Magic, which hold good value.
When Was Magic Johnson’s Rookie Season?
Magic Johnson’s rookie season was the 1979-80 NBA season – He was selected as the 1st overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1979 NBA Draft.
What Is Magic Johnson’s Rookie Card?
Magic Johnson’s first NBA card, and his official rookie, is the 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird #34 / Julius Erving #174 / Magic Johnson #139 card, which is one of the most valuable sports cards from all the 1980s.