So much for the championship hangover.
An NBA title followed by an undefeated, record-shattering start to this season means no basketball goods are hotter than Golden State Warriors rookie cards and memorabilia. The Warriors now own the longest winning streak to open a season than any team in major American sports history.
It’s possible they could challenge the Michael Jordan-led 1996 Bulls for the best record in one season (72-10), further igniting an already sizzling collectible market. It seems impossible to believe now but just four seasons ago, Golden State went 23-43 in a year disrupted by labor issues and often used Kwame Brown, Mikki Moore and Andris Biedrins at center.
Warriors merchandise is now the NBA’s top seller. No matter if it’s a Steph Curry rookie card, a game night championship replica trophy giveaway or game-worn gear, aggressive buyers swoop in.
Someone who bought every Curry card you could find back when he was just thought of as Dell Curry’s son with injured ankles has made a huge profit. It wouldn’t have cost you $10,000 then, but now some of Curry’s individual high-end rookie cards are selling for that, or more. A recent sale on eBay of a numbered to 25 2009-10 Playoff National Treasures Century Gold #206 hit $15,000. There are many other first-year Curry autos to look for, with one of the of the better designs found in 2009-10 Panini Limited.
The current Warriors are actually more than Curry rookie cards, though. Klay Thompson’s high-scoring ways have put him squarely on the radar and Draymond Green is an emerging superstar whose rookie cards are heating up but still fairly affordable.
Some 2015 Warriors first appeared with other teams. Andre Iguodala was the powerful dunker playing with Allen Iverson with the 76ers and Shaun Livingston was supposed to be the new version of Magic Johnson as a tall point guard. Injuries hit Livingston and his card prices while Iguodala did become a star in Philadelphia but never a superstar. Winning the Finals MVP award has helped his profile and his card prices. Andrew Bogut was the first overall pick by Milwaukee before being traded to the west coast. Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa also have rookie cards from other teams.
This season’s card releases will be full of Warriors. The 2015-16 Panini NBA Hoops Road to the Finals cards chronicle the 2014-15 post-season, while last season’s Flawless cards came out late enough to feature cards dedicated to it. One of Iguodala’s 2014-15 Flawless card shows him holding two trophies, the NBA Championship and Finals MVP trophies.
Curry autographs have become the NBA’s best sellers and are promoted heavily online. The veteran guard recently signed an exclusive autograph deal with Fanatics.com, which sells autographed photos, jerseys, shoes, basketballs, magazine covers and other memorabilia.
On Thursday night, Meigray was selling special jerseys worn by the Warriors on opening night, when they raised the 2015 championship banner to the Oracle Arena rafters. Curry’s jersey had soared to over $12,000 with several hours remaining in the auction.
The Warriors don’t waste time releasing official merchandise and as soon as they had set the record for consecutive wins to start a season they had items for sale to mark the achievement.
Sports team promotion nights can bring in a collectible item that can offset the cost of attending or even pay for the game. The first 10,000 fans at a Warriors game in November received a replica championship ring, and many of those wound up on eBay. A month later, prices remain strong. They’ve also given away mini replica championship trophies that have been big sellers. Bobbleheads? There are plenty, most of which feature players holding up trophies.