He should have had many more years to sign basketball cards, photos, jerseys and shoes. Many more years to meet fans who admired him. Many more years to be a dad. Sadly, his life ended much too soon but fans and collectors do have ways to remember one of the world’s greatest athletes. Here are eight types of Kobe Bryant collectibles and memorabilia to commemorate his career.
Kobe Photo Collages
While the prices of some Kobe Bryant merchandise has soared out of sight since his death, these represent one way to relive his career that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Most are well under $100. There are collages recalling his final career game when he poured in 60 points; a “Mamba Out” collage recalling his famous final words that night and one commemorating his many trips to the NBA All-Star Game.
There’s a “Player Portrait” canvas in two different sizes that’s become the most popular Kobe collectible at NBAStore.com by putting an artistic touch on Kobe’s career.
Kobe Bryant “Hero/Villain” Boxed Panini Trading Card Set
To be honest, these weren’t all that popular when released in 2015-16. Kobe had some input into the creation of the set, but for whatever reason, collectors weren’t all that interested. Prices were low, but they’ve now become very popular in the wake of his sudden passing. Each box has two 21-card sets: one featuring Kobe’s most inspiring moments and his farewell plus another recapping those moments in his own words, capped by a five-card pack of parallels.
Some sets can be found online still in unopened form while others have been opened. The latter will be less expensive and if you want to enjoy the cards, rather than keep the item sealed, the savings might be worth it. The sealed sets will likely hold a higher long-term value. As of now, you can find them on eBay for $75 and up.
Some will tell you that the days immediately after an athlete’s passing are the worst time to buy a player’s cards because of the frenzy of online buying that takes place. That’s often true, but in Kobe’s case, it seems different. His rookie cards have always been popular but as this generation’s Michael Jordan, it’s not hard to imagine that they will come close to maintaining their new level.
eBay is filled with them and many are considered common with prices within most budgets, but demand for Kobe rookie cards is now very high, especially with the entry of new buyers who aren’t otherwise avid collectors. Many of them won’t likely be re-selling which means a smaller supply. The Topps Chrome rookie card is exceptionally popular but pricey.
Autographed Kobe Bryant Jerseys, Basketballs, Photos
While his death has, unfortunately, resulted in some non-genuine autographs being sold in the marketplace, it’s not impossible to buy authentic Kobe Bryant autographed memorabilia. Bryant worked with Upper Deck early in his career, then signed an agreement for autographs and trading cards with Panini America during the latter half his life. Look for autographed jerseys, basketballs, photos and other items with a “UDA” (Upper Deck Authenticated) or Panini America certificate of authenticity.
Kobe did sign a significant amount of items for both companies over the years and while they aren’t cheap, they offer a good way to obtain a real Kobe autograph. PSA/DNA, JSA and Beckett have also authenticated some Bryant memorabilia over the years that’s on the market.
Posters and Prints
Over the years, many attractive Kobe Bryant poster and art prints have been issued. Some commemorate his career while others capture certain milestones or Lakers championships during his tenure. Most are relatively inexpensive and can be found on Amazon.com and other websites.
2012-13 Kobe Anthology Basketball Cards
Panini paid tribute to Kobe with this unique product. One five-card pack of Kobe Anthology cards was included inside every hobby box of Panini America’s various 2012-13 NBA releases. The set includes 200 cards that chronicle his career. Autographs and game-worn memorabilia cards were randomly inserted.
Autographed Basketball Cards
Panini’s deal with Kobe also resulted in many autographed cards that were pulled from packs. Kobe signed thousands of cards, including some for high-end trading card products such as Flawless, Immaculate, Eminence and others.
Prices vary but expect to pay a minimum of several hundred dollars up to several thousand for low serial numbered examples. Be sure to buy from a seller with strong positive feedback. You can see the ‘most watched’ Bryant basketball cards on eBay here.
If you’re looking for something a little more lighthearted to remember Kobe, rest assured there are plenty of bobbleheads that have been issued over the years, many of which were giveaways at Lakers games or created by Upper Deck or other NBA licensees.
It’s somewhat unlikely many more will be made, at least in the near future, because of the nature of his death. Most bobbleheads were created in fairly good quantities and are not expensive.