20 Most Valuable 1989 Fleer Basketball Cards

Most Valuable 1989 Fleer Basketball Cards

Whenever I look through some of my old 1989 Fleer basketball cards, I'm immediately overwhelmed with nostalgia.

While there may not be any huge rookie cards in the set, one thing stands out clearly:

the checklist is loaded with big-name stars of an era marked by fierce competition and bitter rivalry.

Of the 168 cards in the set, 24 of them are Hall of Famers.

And many of these guys are considered among the very best at their respective positions in NBA history.

There is just so much to love about this set.

And in this guide, we look at the 20 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!


Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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I do want to be 100% clear that most of the cards in this set sadly have no value these days.

Like the 1989 Hoops set, there were just so many of these cards printed.

And to have any value at all, the cards on this list will need to be graded in PSA 10 gem mint condition...meaning they're nearly flawless.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at the list:

1989 Fleer #21 Michael Jordan

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $900

The 1989-1990 season saw Michael Jordan up to his usual electric play as he led the league in scoring four the fourth year in a row with 33.6 points per game, the third highest clip of his career.

Jordan showed off his defensive skills just as much, as he also led the league in steals with 2.8 swipes per game.

Clearly, Jordan was not messing around that season (as if he ever did) and by the time the playoffs rolled around, it looked like he was bound to finally break into the NBA Finals for the first time.

But, it wasn't meant to be.

Unfortunately for Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, they were knocked out of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Detroit Pistons for the second year in a row.

It was a crushing blow to Jordan's championship hopes but that loss in Game 6 only continued to forge his passion for winning.

I've always loved this card as the image of him soaring above the rim, surrounded by the red borders, Chicago Bulls team logo in the upper-right and scoring leader banner in the lower-left give this card tons of pop.

1989 Fleer #21 Michael Jordan Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #77 Magic Johnson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $300

Magic Johnson squeaked past Charles Barkley to win the 1989-1990 MVP award with 636 voting points to 614.

It was the second year in a row that he'd take home the honor and the third time in his career overall.

Scoring 22.3 points and dishing out 11.5 points per game, Johnson was getting it done on offense while he and the Lakers went into the playoffs looking for a three-peat.

Surprisingly, though, the Phoenix Suns slammed the door on those three-peat hopes during the Western Conference Semifinals as they knocked the Lakers out in Game 5.

During the 1988-1989 season, Johnson set a personal best in free throw shooting percentage at .911, which was enough to lead the league as noted in the lower-left of this card.

1989 Fleer #77 Magic Johnson Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #8 Larry Bird

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $300

After playing in only six games the year before because of a surgical procedure to remove bone spurs from his heels, Bird was back in action for the 1989-1990 season.

The surgery went well because Bird was back to his normal self as he scored 24.3 points per game while averaging 9.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

His free throw shooting skills were on point, as well, as his .930 shooting percentage from behind the line led the NBA, making it the fourth time in his career to lead in that category.

As good as he and the Celtics were that year, though, their season came to a halt when Patrick Ewing and the Knicks beat them 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

1989 Fleer #8 Larry Bird Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #103 Charles Oakley

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $250

Charles Oakley was one of the top rebounders of his era and a critical component of many solid Knicks teams of the late 80s and early 90s.

But you might be a bit surprised to see his card this high on the list ahead of multiple Hall of Famers.

And the reason for that is, along with those of Ken Norman and Lester Conner, it's the most challenging card in the set to find in a PSA 10 holder.

Only ten of each of these three cards have ever received a PSA 10 grade.

Since Oakley is more popular than Norman and Conner, you could expect a premium over those two cards.

In his second year with the Knicks, Oakley set a career-high in scoring average with 14.6 points per game while also averaging 11.9 rebounds.

1989 Fleer #103 Charles Oakley Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #25 Brad Daugherty

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

Drafted number one overall out of the University of North Carolina in the 1986 NBA Draft, Brad Daugherty played eight seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring after the 1993-1994 season.

One of the top big men of his era, Daugherty was named an All-Star five times due to his excellent scoring and rebounding abilities.

After two straight All-Star selections, Daugherty might have added a sixth All-Star Game to his resume, but he struggled with injuries during the 1989-1990 season and could only play in 41 games.

And alongside Mark Price, "Hot Rod" Williams, and Larry Nance, Daugherty helped Cleveland consistently compete as one of the top teams in the East, even making it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992.

Had back problems not forced him to end his career prematurely, there's a good chance Daugherty would've ended up in the Hall of Fame.

1989 Fleer #25 Brad Daugherty Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #72 Ken Norman

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $225

Regarded as one of the best basketball players to come out of the University of Illinois, Ken Norman spent ten seasons in the NBA as a small forward playing for the Clippers, Bucks, and Hawks.

Coming off the second season of his career in which he set career highs in points (18.1), rebounds (8.3), and assists (3.5) per game, Norman entered the 1989-1990 season looking like he might develop into a perennial All-Star.

However, his minutes and production declined slowly year after year, and he never did quite get over the hump into All-Star status.

Still, the former 19th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft was far from a bust, and he enjoyed a solid career until he retired after the 1996-1997 season.

1989 Fleer #72 Ken Norman Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #82 Grant Long

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

After being named MAC Player of the Year in 1988 for his performance at Eastern Michigan, Grant Long got his shot at the NBA when the Miami Heat took him in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft.

While he served as the Heat's starting power forward during his rookie season, Long shared the role during the 1989-1990 season with Tellis Frank, who had just come over from the Golden State Warriors.

However, Long would bounce back as the starting power forward for the rest of his time in Miami before he was sent to the Atlanta Hawks after only two games into the 1994-1995 season.

After two seasons as a starter in Atlanta, Long would finish out his career mostly coming off the bench for Detroit, Vancouver/Memphis and Boston, where he retired after the 2002-2003 season.

Over a fifteen-year career in the NBA, Long averaged 9.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.

1989 Fleer #82 Grant Long Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #90 Alvin Robertson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

Alvin Robertson spent ten years in the NBA, and he spent most of that time stealing the ball from opposing players.

His career 2.7 steals per game ranks the highest all-time among players who played in at least 400 games, ahead of other scrappy defenders like Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and Chris Paul, to name a few.

Robertson was particularly ruthless during the 1985-1986 season when he averaged an eye-popping 3.67 steals per game and finished the year with 301 total steals.

Both of those are NBA records, too.

He's also the only guard in NBA history who ever completed a quadruple-double when he scored 20 points with 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals during a game against the Suns on February 18, 1986.

Can you imagine stealing the ball ten times from NBA-caliber players?

Only thirteen examples of this card have been given a PSA 10 grade as of this writing.

1989 Fleer #90 Alvin Robertson Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #91 Jack Sikma

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

Jack Sikma is often considered a pioneer in the game for helping to usher in the idea that big men could also shoot.

To give you an idea of what Sikma was capable of, he led the NBA in free-throw shooting percentage (.922) during the 1987-1988 season and averaged roughly one three-pointer per game in his last three seasons.

Drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics with the eighth overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft, Sikma spent nine seasons in Seattle, where he would help lead the team to an NBA Championship in 1979.

However, he grew a bit disappointed with a lack of much playoff success in his later days in Seattle, so by the time 1986 rolled around, he requested a trade and soon ended up with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sikma would play the last five seasons of his career in Milwaukee before retiring after the 1990-1991 season.

Over his fourteen seasons in the NBA, "Goldilocks" was a seven-time All-Star and, in 2019, became a Hall of Famer.

1989 Fleer #91 Jack Sikma Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #96 Lester Conner

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

Coming off the best year of his career after averaging 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, Lester Conner entered the 1989-1990 season as the Nets' starting point guard for the second year in a row.

However, Conner's minutes and overall production decreased throughout the year.

After that season, Conner would never be a full-time starter again for the rest of his career.

In the middle of the 1990-1991 season, Conner left New Jersey to play for the Milwaukee Bucks, where he mostly came off the bench, playing less than 17.5 minutes per game both seasons.

Conner's last stint in the NBA came in the 1994-1995 season when he played in two games for the Los Angeles Lakers, the seventh team of his career.

This card is one of the rarest in the set to be found in a PSA 10 holder, which is the reason it can be quite expensive in that grade.

1989 Fleer #96 Lester Conner Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #23 Scottie Pippen

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $175

With Pippen making his rookie card debut in the 1988 Fleer set, this second year card offers a nice consolation to those who might not be able to afford the steep price tag on his rookie card.

During the 1989-1990 season, Pippen increased his scoring output to 16.5 points per game while averaging 6.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists while earning his first trip to the All-Star Game.

He continued to develop his defensive skills, too, as his 1.2 blocks per game were a career high while his 2.6 steals per game were the second-highest of his career.

Surprisingly, he wasn't selected to the All-Defensive team that year.

However, he would go on to be named to the All-Defensive First Team eight times and the All-Defensive Second Team two times over the rest of his career.

Though their season ended in another heartbreak Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Pistons, Pippen and Jordan were clearly developing into the most dangerous 1-2 punch in league history.

1989 Fleer #23 Scottie Pippen Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #59 Mitch Richmond Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

As it states right in the lower-left section of his card, Mitch Richmond was the 1988-1989 Rookie of the Year after being drafted fifth overall by the Golden State Warriors.

Over a fourteen-year career with four different teams, Richmond was also a six-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA, All-Star MVP (1995), and a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist.

Richmond also won an NBA title in the final year of his distinguished career with the Lakers in 2002, though he logged only one minute of playing time in the Finals.

Known for his excellent shooting ability, Richmond had tremendous range that helped him average 21 points per game over his career.

In 2014, Richmond was inducted into the Hall of Fame, making him the only player from the 1988 NBA Draft to earn that achievement.

1989 Fleer #59 Mitch Richmond Rookie Card

1989 Fleer #123 Kevin Johnson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

Though Kevin Johnson has enjoyed political success in more recent memory, he initially gained notoriety as one of the best point guards in the NBA from the late 80s to mid-90s.

Originally drafted seventh overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1987 NBA Draft, Johnson came off the bench to support Mark Price.

However, with Price seeming to have the point guard position seemingly locked down, a little over halfway through his rookie season, the Cavs traded Johnson to the Phoenix Suns, where he would finish out the rest of his career.

Johnson wasted no time showing the world what he could do during the 1988-1989 season when he averaged 20.4 points and 12.2 assists per game, ultimately earning him the Most Improved Player Award.

Over the rest of his career, Johnson continued to put up points and assists, earning three All-Star nominations and five All-NBA selections leaving many to consider him one of the greatest point guards of his era.

1989 Fleer #123 Kevin Johnson Rookie Card

1989 Fleer #61 Hakeem Olajuwon

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $85

While the Rockets had a mediocre 1989-1990 season, finishing at 41-41 and getting knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers, Hakeem Olajuwon turned in one of the best seasons of his career.

"The Dream" was dominant down low, as he led the league in rebounds with 14 per game and blocks with 4.6 per game, both personal bests.

Olajuwon also became the third player in history to record a quadruple-double when he scored 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 11 blocks on March 29, 1990, in a victory 120-94 over the Milwaukee Bucks.

It's funny how it worked out that he did it against the Bucks, too, since Alvin Robertson, one of the other players with a quadruple-double (as mentioned earlier), was in the starting lineup for Milwaukee that day.

1989 Fleer #61 Hakeem Olajuwon Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #113 Charles Barkley

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $85

Barkley's .632 field goal percentage led the league for the fourth straight year on the 1989-1990 season, allowing him to post 25.2 points per game.

He'd make his fourth-straight All-Star as well where his 17 points and 4 rebounds helped the East to a decisive 130-113 victory over the West.

Despite receiving more first place votes (38) than Magic Johnson (27), Charles Barkley finished just behind Johnson in the MVP vote on the 1989-1990 season.

Though it was a big disappointment for "Sir Charles", he would eventually have his day when he earned MVP honors for the 1992-1993 season, his first with the Phoenix Suns.

As noted in the bottom-left corner of the card, Barkley led the NBA in offensive rebounds (403) the year before making it the third-straight year he had sone so.

He'd come just shy of doing it again during the 1989-1990 season when his 361 offensive rebounds fell just behind Moses Malone's 364 for tops in the league.

1989 Fleer #113 Charles Barkley Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #49 Dennis Rodman

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

Though Dennis Rodman would later lead the NBA in rebound season after season with eye-popping totals, he had yet to break the double-digit mark on the 1989-1990 season as he averaged 9.7 boards per game.

It had nothing to do with Rodman's rebounding abilities and everything to do with the fact that he and Mark Aguirre split the season as the Pistons' starting small forward.

Playing in just 29 minutes per game, Rodman simply wasn't logging the time on the court he would later in his career.

Rodman was an absolute monster on defense, winning his second-straight Defensive Player of the Year Award.

1989 Fleer #49 Dennis Rodman Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #65 Reggie Miller

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $70

In Miller's third season in the NBA, he cemented his role as the Pacers' starting shooting guard and overtook Chuck "The Rifleman" Person as their leading scorer with 24.6 points per game.

That also turned out to be a personal best for Miller over his eighteen seasons with the Pacers.

One of the greatest shooters of his era, Miller's 2,560 three pointers were the most all-time when he retired but later surpassed by Ray Allen and Steph Curry.

I remember watching so many of those Miller-led Pacers teams from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s play some of the scrappiest, hard-nosed basketball in the league.

They were always a threat as a title contender but unfortunately never could get over the hump, making it to the NBA Finals once and the Eastern Conference Finals five times.

At times during the 2000 NBA Finals versus a Lakers team led by Shaq and Kobe Bryant, it looked like they might pull it off but in the end Miller and the Pacers were denied a ring in a heartbreaking 116-111 loss in Game 6.

1989 Fleer #65 Reggie Miller Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #155 Karl Malone

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

As the NBA's second-leading scorer of all time, Karl Malone never had any trouble putting points on the board.

And he was especially lethal on offense in the 1989-1990 season as he set a career high single season scoring mark with 31.0 points per game.

That was as close as he'd come to winning a single season scoring title over his career as Michael Jordan's 33.6 points per game were just a bit better that year.

Malone would finish fifth in the league in MVP voting while making his third-straight All-Star Game.

Speaking of All-Star Games, the year before Malone would earn MVP honors after a 28 point, 9 rebound performance to lead the West over the East 143-134.

For a nice visual touch, Fleer added a note in the lower-left of the card to honor Malone's achievement in that game.

1989 Fleer #155 Karl Malone Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #156 John Stockton

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

Malone wasn't the only one on the Utah Jazz lighting up the scoreboard during the 1989-1990 season as John Stockton also set a career mark with 17.2 points per game.

Maybe even more impressive were his career high 14.5 assists per game, good enough to lead the NBA for the third year in a row.

Stockton was doing it all on offense that year as his ability to break down the opposing defense with spectacular quickness and court vision proved to much for other teams to handle.

For his efforts that season, Stockton was named an All-Star for the second year in a row while picking up his third Second Team All-NBA nomination and finishing ninth in MVP voting.

1989 Fleer #156 John Stockton Basketball Card

1989 Fleer #100 Patrick Ewing

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

Last but certainly not least on the list is none other than legendary Knicks center Patrick Ewing.

Over his seventeen-year career in the NBA, Ewing averaged 21 points per game, but he erupted on offense during the 1989-1990 season and set a career-high with 28.6 points per game.

His four blocks per game were also a career-high, and his overall performance that season placed him fifth in the MVP vote, making it one of the greatest seasons of his career.

Ewing was the centerpiece of several tough Knicks teams from the late 80s into the mid-90s that consistently made a run in the playoffs, but, unfortunately, he never did get an NBA Championship ring.

He and the Knicks came so close in 1994, ultimately pushing Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets to Game 7 in the Finals, but they just couldn't seal the deal.

1989 Fleer #100 Patrick Ewing Basketball Card

1989 Fleer Basketball Cards In Review

Unopened Box of 1989 Fleer Basketball Cards

This set marked the last of the Fleer basketball card sets of the 1980s and offers a lot for collectors of that era to enjoy.

True, it's light on major rookie cards.

But, the star power and list of basketball icons within is undeniable.

Besides, not having any huge rookie cards also has the side benefit that putting it together can be a little easier on the wallet.

At 168 cards in total, it's not an overwhelming set to put together, either. 

If you're looking for a fun set to build that contains many legendary names, then this one is a great option.

Ross Uitts

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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