10 Most Valuable 1992 Topps Basketball Cards
Marking the company’s re-entry to the hobby, the 1992 Topps basketball card set was a sight for sore eyes for basketball card collectors.
Not since 1981 had Topps been in the basketball card business, often believing there wasn’t enough demand.
Thanks to Michael Jordan’s extreme popularity and the hype surrounding a couple of key rookies, that all changed in 1992…
Not to mention, the “Dream Team” had just finished off a historically dominant performance during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Basketball was as hot as ever and Topps was ready to capitalize.
And in this guide, we look at the ten most valuable from their 1992 set.
Let’s get started!
Before we get started, I want to be 100% clear that most of the cards in this set sadly have no value these days.
Like the 1992 Fleer, Skybox, and Upper Deck sets, massive print runs of these cards flooded the market and prices have fallen as a result.
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:
1992 Topps #362 Shaq Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $400
After the Orlando Magic drafted Shaq with the first pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, the big man immediately took the league by storm, becoming the first rookie in NBA history to be named the Player of the Week during his first week in the league.
He was also the first rookie to be named to the All-Star team since Michael Jordan did so in 1985.
At 7'1" and 325 pounds, Shaq became a nightmare for opposing teams to try and stop, as demonstrated on his Topps rookie card.
As Minnesota small forward Bob McCann somehow gets mixed up with him down in the post, Shaq eagerly calls for the ball as he has a golden opportunity to score on the 6'6" McCann.
The Diesel would claim rookie of the Year honors for the 1992-93 season after posting per-game averages of 23.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks.
His free throw shooting percentage of 59%, while terrible, was also the third-highest of his Hall of Fame career.
1992 Topps #141 Michael Jordan
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $85
Michael Jordan was incredible during the 1992-93 season, leading the league in scoring for the seventh year in a row with a remarkable 32.6 points per game.
And although he would lose out on his third consecutive MVP award to Charles Barkley, Jordan led the Bulls over Barkley and the Suns in the NBA Finals that year to seal his first of two career NBA Championship "three-peats."
I love the visuals on this card as Jordan busts through the lane, as he did so often, while opposing defenders Cliff Robinson, Terry Porter, and Danny Ainge can only watch.
Ainge wasn't with the Blazers during the 1992-93 season, so this photo was likely taken during the 1991-92 season.
It may even be a snapshot from one of the Bulls' home games at the United Center during the NBA Finals that season, in which Chicago defeated Portland 4-2.
1992 Topps #204 Michael Jordan 50 Point Club
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75
Cards #199 - 215 are part of a subset dedicated to highlighting several players who had scored 50 or more points in an NBA game during their careers.
Some guys in the subset, like Michael Adams, Reggie Miller, and Clyde Drexler, did so once while other guys like Bernard King, Dominque Wilkins, and Karl Malone did so multiple times.
And, then there was Michael Jordan, who had already scored 50 or more points twenty-two times at that point, putting him at a distant second place behind Wilt Chamberlain and his stunning 118 different 50-point games.
Jordan finished his career having scored 50 or more points in 31 different games, solidifying his legacy as a scoring machine.
He also had five career games where he scored 60 or more points with four of them shown on the reverse of the card.
The fifth came later during the 1992-93 season during a game against the Orlando Magic in which he roasted them for 64 points even though the Bulls fell short 124-128 in the loss.
1992 Topps #393 Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60
The Charlotte Hornets drafted Alonzo Mourning with the number two pick of the 1992 NBA Draft and, like Shaq, he quickly made a name for himself as a dominant big man.
Even though his per-game averages of 21 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks weren't much different than Shaq's, Mourning only received 2 points in Rookie of the Year voting compared to Shaq's 96.
Shaq won the first four Rookie of the Month honors that season while Mourning claimed the last two, signaling that Mourning turned things up a notch as the season progressed.
Regardless, Mourning went on to a Hall of Fame career of his own, appearing in seven All-Star games and becoming one of the game's fiercest defenders.
After overcoming severe kidney problems, Mourning would join forces with Shaq and Dwyane Wade to deliver an NBA Championship for the Miami Heat during the 2005-06 season.
1992 Topps #115 Michael Jordan All-Star
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $55
The 1992 NBA All-Star game, played in Orlando, wasn't much fun for Michael Jordan and crew as the West roasted the East 153-113.
The East out-rebounded the West 48 to 43 and had nearly the same amount of steals, blocks, and turnovers.
So, why was it a blowout?
Shooting made all the difference that day as the East shot an abysmal 44% from the field while the West was on fire, shooting 65% as a team.
Starters Magic Johnson, David Robinson, and Chris Mullin each shot better than 75%, and there was nothing the East could do to stop them.
Still, I love the action and excitement on this card, as Jordan goes up for an easy slam while David Robinson looks up helplessly in the lower-right corner.
1992 Topps #3 Michael Jordan Highlights
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50
During Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a convincing 122-89 victory, scoring 39 points in the process.
Remarkably, most of Jordan's scoring spree occurred in the first half when he scored 35 points and nailed six 3-pointers.
After one of those threes, Jordan famously turned and shrugged as he went back to play defense as if even he were shocked at how well he was performing.
Cards #2 - 4 in this set are a tiny subset that commemorate three memorable "Highlights" from the 1991-92 season:
- Magic Johnson's dominant MVP performance in the All-Star Game
- Jordan's remarkable first half in Game 1 of the Finals
- David Robinson finishing among the top-ten leaders in five different statistical categories
1992 Topps #389 Scottie Pippen
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45
A crucial part of all six of the Bulls championships during the 1990s, Scottie Pippen was a 7-time All-Star and 7-time All-NBA selection over his 17-year Hall of Fame career.
Widely considered the greatest supporting player in NBA history, Pippen and Michael Jordan created a devastating one-two punch that was just too much for opposing teams to handle.
While Pippen could certainly hold his own on offense, he was ruthless on the defensive side of the ball, as evidenced by his ten career All-Defensive Team selections.
History will always look back on those dominant Bulls teams and wonder if Jordan could have won all those championships without Pippen.
1992 Topps #1 Larry Bird
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35
Although Larry Bird retired at the end of the 1991-92 season, Topps paid tribute to the Celtics legend by including him as card #1 in the set.
During his final season in the NBA, Bird averaged 20.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game at 35 years old.
He demonstrated he could still play at a high level since most players would love to put up those kinds of numbers at any point in their careers.
Unfortunately, the nagging back injuries were just too much for Bird, and he decided to hang up his shoes for good.
Known for his fantastic shooting ability, Topps captured Larry Legend perfectly during a jumper.
1992 Topps #54 Magic Johnson
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35
On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson shocked the world when he announced he was retiring from the NBA after learning that he had tested positive for HIV.
While he missed the entire 1991-92 NBA regular season, he participated in the All-Star game that year, famously winning the MVP with a dominant performance in that 153-113 victory over the West.
Johnson also participated on the "Dream Team" that annihilated every other team during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Things were looking a bit more bright for a potential return to the NBA.
Though he initially did want to play during the 1992-93 season and participated in multiple Lakers practices, Johnson decided to stay retired after several other NBA players voiced their concern over his return to the league.
Although Topps stated "The Magic Is Back" on his card, it just wasn't meant to be.
1992 Topps #392 Latrell Sprewell Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15
During Latrell Sprewell's 13-year career, he spent time with the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Minnesota Timberwolves, making four All-Star game appearances along the way.
An effective scorer, Sprewell was used mostly as a shooting guard during his first six seasons with Golden State and later shifting to small forward with the Knicks and Timberwolves.
Unfortunately, most of Sprewell's legacy centers around his volatility and violent outbursts, most notably in 1997 when he choked his then-Golden State coach, P.J. Carlesimo.
Despite his complicated reputation, his rookie card can still have value in top condition.
1992 Topps Basketball Cards In Review
Even though the design wasn't any different than the Topps baseball and football card set designs that year, it was nice to see Topps back in the basketball card business.
With 396 cards in total released in two series, collectors enjoyed some great rookie cards of Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning and cards of many other stars and Hall of Famers.
The Shaq rookie card may be the key overall, but Michael Jordan dominates the list with four cards in total.
Overall, it was a pretty decent set that packs plenty of nostalgia within its checklist.