15 Most Valuable 1991 NBA Hoops Cards

Unopened Box of 1991 NBA Hoops Basketball Cards

Often overlooked in the hobby these days, 1991 NBA Hoops cards still pack a heavy nostalgic punch.

To fully appreciate them, you have to remember that they hit store shelves at a pivotal time in NBA history.

Michael Jordan had just won his first NBA Championship and the U.S. Olympic Team was poised to dominate the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona…

Those two things helped propel basketball to a whole new level on the world stage and these cards helped spread the popularity even more.

And in this guide, we look at the 15 most valuable.

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Ross Uitts

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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 1991 Fleer and Skybox sets, 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:

1991 Hoops #30 Michael Jordan MVP

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $80

The 1990-91 season was the year that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls finally put everything together as they'd go on to defeat Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 in the NBA Finals.

At last, Jordan had a championship ring...

And after leading the league in scoring for the fifth straight season and earning his second MVP award, he had solidified his place as the face of the league.

Collectors everywhere were ripping through packs searching for his cards, especially this one, which I always thought had a great look and feel to it.

From the beautiful image of Jordan shooting over a defender to the "Most Valuable Player" callout in the upper-right corner, this card packs a visual punch.

1991 NBA Hoops #30 Michael Jordan MVP Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #317 Michael Jordan Milestones

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

The 1991 Hoops set featured several subsets with different themes and vibrant design elements perfect for the time.

Cards #314 - 318 in the set helped celebrate significant milestones that Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, and Alex English were able to achieve.

For Jordan's part, Hoops congratulated him for leading the league in scoring for five straight seasons, putting his streak in the middle of George Gervin's four consecutive scoring titles and Wilt Chamberlain's seven straight scoring titles.

Jordan would later tie Chamberlain's record as he led the league in scoring for two more consecutive seasons.

And had he not retired to play professional baseball, it's likely he would've continued that streak even longer.

1991 NBA Hoops #317 Michael Jordan Milestone Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #536 Michael Jordan All-Time Active Leader

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

The "All-Time Active Leader" subset featured eight different cards, highlighting eight different players who, at the time, were the all-time active leaders in various statistical categories.

The keyword is "active" because six of the eight players still had a bit farther to go to become the true all-time leader in their respective categories.

However, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were the exceptions as they had already reached the top, with Johnson becoming the all-time assists leader (9,921) and Jordan leading in scoring average (32.6).

In just 509 career games through seven seasons, Jordan had torched opposing defenses by amassing a jaw-dropping 16,596 points.

Hoops chose a fantastic photo to mark Jordan's achievement as he throws one down with authority as if to symbolize his place as the all-time leader in scoring average.

1991 NBA Hoops #536 Michael Jordan All Time Active Scoring Leader Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #455 Michael Jordan Supreme Court

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

A much larger subset than the others, the "1991 NBA Hoops Supreme Court" highlighted the achievements of two top players from every team in the league.

Representing the Chicago Bulls were, of course, Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.

The card's reverse mentions Jordan's regular season and postseason MVP awards, his first NBA championship, and his prolific scoring ability.

The front of the card boasts fantastic eye appeal as Jordan shoots over the New York Knicks' Gerald Wilkins as he desperately tries to get a hand in Jordan's face.

I will never forget those grueling, hard-fought postseason battles between the Bulls and Knicks during the 1990s as both teams brought so much passion to the game.

1991 NBA Hoops #455 Michael Jordan Supreme Court Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #579 Michael Jordan

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

To build hype for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, members of the "Dream Team" each received a card showcasing them in their red, white, and blue USA Basketball uniforms.

The reverse of Jordan's card mentions his success as a member of the 1984 Olympic Team and one game in particular in which he scored 24 points on 12-of-14 shooting against Spain.

The "Dream Team" that played in the 1992 Olympics was arguably the greatest basketball team ever assembled and undoubtedly helped propel basketball to new heights on the world stage.

Although no other team gave the U.S. any serious competition, those games were so fun to watch, given how many future Hall of Famers and legends were on the court at the same time.

1991 NBA Hoops #579 Michael Jordan Olympics Dream Steam Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #253 Michael Jordan All-Star

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $65

Featuring the best players the East and West had to offer, the 1991 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina came down to the wire with the East narrowly escaping with a 116-114 victory.

Jordan led the East in scoring with 26 points but he was a bit sloppy overall as he shot 10-of-25 from the floor and committed as many turnovers (10) as the rest of the East starters combined.

Charles Barkely stole the show with 17 points and a jaw-dropping 22 rebounds to earn MVP honors.

This card packs a tremendous visual punch as Jordan dunks one home as the ball sits superimposed over the blue border.

1991 NBA Hoops #253 Michael Jordan All-Star Basketball Card

1991 Hoops Team USA

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

The world received its first look at the "Dream Team" when the United States hosted the 1992 Tournament of the Americas in Portland, Oregon.

Ten teams from across the Americas battled to determine the four teams that would earn a trip to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Everyone knew the United States would easily come out on top.

It was just a question of how dominant they would be.

Ultimately, it wasn't even close as the United States defeated each of their opponents by an average of 51.5 points per game.

With the exception of Christian Laettner, everyone pictured on this card is a Hall of Famer.

1991 NBA Hoops Team USA Men's Basketball Team

1991 Hoops #543 Michael Jordan

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

We all knew how much Jordan's first NBA Championship meant to him and the rest of the Chicago Bulls.

After coming up empty-handed time and time again during the playoffs, Jordan and the Bulls decidedly swept their arch-rivals, the Detroit Pistons, to earn a trip to the NBA Finals to face off against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.

When the Bulls lost Game 1, things looked a bit troubling for Chicago.

However, Jordan led them on a charge that took the basketball world by storm as he and the Bulls won the next four games in a row to pick up the franchise's first championship.

The image of Jordan kissing the Larry O'Brien trophy captured Jordan in the exact moment where he took over as the league's top superstar.

1991 NBA Hoops #543 Bulls NBA Champions Michael Jordan Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #578 Magic Johnson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $55

After being diagnosed with HIV, it was initially uncertain if Magic Johnson would play in the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Thankfully, he suited up and helped the United States put on an unforgettable show as he led the team in total assists (54) to help the team bring home the gold medal.

Known for his exuberant personality, the reverse of the card quotes Johnson as saying, "There was no way I was going to miss this. I'm happy to be selected and to have the opportunity to play with other great, great basketball players."

I remember being so excited to see him join the rest of the superstars that made up that incredible team.

It would not have been the same without him.

1991 NBA Hoops #578 Magic Johnson Olympics Dream Team Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #306 Scoring Leaders

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Michael Jordan led the league in scoring with a phenomenal 31.5 points per game during the 1990-91 season.

But, Karl Malone wasn't too far behind with his 29 points per game average.

Both legends are shown together on this card with Jordan shooting a jumper and teammate, Scottie Pippen, looking on in the background while Malone lays one up over the 7'7" Manute Bol.

Jordan and Malone would later famously go head-to-head during both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals with Jordan and the Bulls coming out on top both times.

1991 NBA Hoops #306 Scoring Leaders Karl Malone and Michael Jordan Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #34 Scottie Pippen

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

Would Michael Jordan have six championship rings if Scottie Pippen weren't by his side all those years?

Who knows?

What is certain, though, is that Pippen was one of the most outstanding small forwards who ever played the game.

A fantastic scorer, Pippen was also a tenacious defender, as demonstrated by his eight NBA All-Defensive First Team selections.

This card serves as a symbol for the heated battles between the Bulls and Pistons back then as Pippen drives around Detroit small forward Mark Aguirre.

1991 NBA Hoops #34 Scottie Pippen Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #576 Larry Bird

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

At 35 years old, Larry Bird was the oldest member of "The Dream Team" and one of the first ten players chosen to represent the U.S.

And even though he was battling back problems the entire time, he still helped lead the team to a gold medal, turning in 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.

The reverse of the card mentions how excited Bird was to join the rest of the incredible players on that team to attempt to bring home the gold medal for his country.

1991 NBA Hoops #576 Larry Bird Olympics Dream Team Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #549 Dikembe Mutombo Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25

Selected by the Denver Nuggets with the fourth pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, Dikembe Mutombo immediately impacted the league by establishing himself as an incredible defender.

The Georgetown product averaged 16.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3 points per game while being named an All-Star and a 1st Team All-Rookie during his debut season.

A four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mutombo quickly became known for his incredible shot-blocking ability while famously waving his index finger at his opponents after blocking their shots.

When I was in high school, I remember watching him put up 25+ points and 25+ rebounds in a single game when he was with the Hawks and being in awe of how he could do that at the game's highest level.

As a Hall of Famer, Mutombo's rookie card can be worth around $25 or more in top condition.

1991 NBA Hoops #549 Dikembe Mutombo Rookie Card

1991 Hoops #101 Magic Johnson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25

One of the game's most exciting players ever, Magic Johnson possessed uncanny court awareness and an ability to manage the game.

A prolific passer, Johnson surpassed Oscar Robertson to become the all-time assists leader during the 1991 season, ultimately finishing the year with 9,921 dimes to his name.

Pictured blowing by Minnesota center Randy Breuer on his base card in the set, Johnson also had a fantastic scoring skillset, as noted by his career scoring average of 19.5 points per game.

The 1990-1991 would be Johnson's last full season before he tested positive for HIV but fortunately for the basketball world, he was able to suit up for the 1992 Summer Olympics.

A twelve-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and five-time NBA Champion, Magic Johnson's cards remain some of the most popular in the hobby.

1991 NBA Hoops #101 Magic Johnson Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #9 Larry Bird

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25

You can't talk about Magic Johnson without mentioning Larry Bird (and vice versa) as these two guys developed one of the game's most iconic personal rivalries of all-time.

It all started during their college days when Johnson led the Michigan State Spartans over Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores in the 1979 NCAA Championship Game.

From that point on, Bird and Johnson would repeatedly square off in heated competition.

Ultimately, Johnson got the best of Bird in the NBA, too, as he and the Lakers notched five NBA titles to Bird's three.

The twelve-time All-Star, three-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion Larry Bird would return for one more year during the 1991-1992 season before retiring because of chronic back problems.

Bird and Johnson were so fun to watch and their play, especially during the 1980s, helped elevate the NBA to a whole new level.

1991 NBA Hoops #9 Larry Bird Basketball Card

1991 Hoops #546 Larry Johnson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $20

Last but not least on our list is the 1991-92 Rookie of the Year winner, Larry Johnson, taken number one overall by the Charlotte Hornets during the 1991 NBA Draft.

This card was so hot when it was first released.

Fresh out of UNLV, Johnson got off to a hot start in the NBA as he averaged 19.2 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.6 points per game as a 6'6" power forward.

Fans will also remember those famous "Grandmama" commercials during the early 90s that featured Johnson after Converse signed him to a shoe deal.

After five seasons in Charlotte, Johnson developed a bit of friction between superstar teammate, Alonzo Mourning, that ultimately led to the team trading him to the New York Knicks.

Johnson never performed at his All-Star level in five seasons with the Knicks but was still effective in helping the team to multiple runs deep into the playoffs.

Like Bird, Johnson ended up retiring due to chronic back issues.

1991 NBA Hoops #546 Larry Johnson Rookie Card

1991 NBA Hoops Cards In Review

Clocking in with a 590-card checklist, the 1991 Hoops set offered plenty of superstar power, multiple subsets, and some of the most iconic cards of the era with its patriotic cards of "The Dream Team."

Dikembe Mutombo and Larry Johnson represent the two key rookie cards in the set with Kenny Anderson and Steve Smith making their cardboard debuts as well.

The boisterous colors and design elements used throughout the set scream "early 1990s."

Although they may look a bit funny today, they were undoubtedly in style back then.

And being able to look back on a given era and what was popular in terms of design is part of what makes collecting cards so fun.

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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