How long has it been since Kevin Durant was a rookie? Well, the team that drafted him hasn’t played in that city in more than a decade. Topps and Upper Deck still had licenses to produce NBA trading cards and some of today’s current young stars were in elementary school. Yes, it’s been a while, but that all kind of makes collecting Kevin Durant rookie cards almost feel like a vintage chase.
It’s been a long and winding road for Durant, who moved with the Sonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008, then on to Golden State where he successfully chased his first two NBA titles (and was named MVP both times) and now on the opposite coast where after a missed year due to injury, he’s back and seemingly as dangerous as ever with the Brooklyn Nets. Durant already owns four NBA scoring titles and double digit All-Star appearances. There’s no doubt he’s a global superstar who will one day be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
His return has been long anticipated by collectors, many of whom wagered that Durant would be a prime candidate to return to the forefront of the most sought after players in a sizzling basketball market, while playing for a championship contender in Brooklyn. Interest in his cards may not quite match that of LeBron James rookie cards but he’s still exceptionally popular.
Durant Rookie Card Overview
If you own some nice Durant rookie cards, they definitely have value. How much, of course, depends on exactly what you have and if they remain in pack-fresh condition. You might even consider grading what you’ve got as high-end examples of the most popular cards have increased greatly in value over the last couple of years. If you’re buying, we suggest buying KD rookie cards that have been authenticated and graded– both from a security standpoint and because they’ll be easier to sell down the road.
As stated above, the basketball card landscape was different during Durant’s first NBA season of 2007-08. Topps and Upper Deck were the league’s trading card licensees. That would change in a few years when Panini America snagged the exclusive.
Like most modern basketball cards, just about all of the cards below have slightly different parallel versions that are serial numbered and harder to locate but these serve as the most commonly traded Durant rookies.
Kevin Durant Topps Rookie Cards
As the second pick in the draft, Durant was the focus of a lot of attention in the market, even during that first season.
His most commonly traded Topps rookie cards include the flagship Topps Basketball card, #2 in the 2007-08 set, which is among the least expensive Durant rookie cards for sale and is readily available on eBay. These were found in packs and also inside Topps factory retail sets.
Durant’s Topps Chrome #131 is a higher end option (along with its parallel versions including the popular Orange Refractor numbered to 199). Chrome Durant rookies can be pricey in high grades but have generally been a pretty good investment thanks to the brand’s popularity and somewhat limited quantities.
Finest (#71) is another popular Topps brand that features a Durant rookie. They’re priced fairly reasonably although the Refractor parallels will be a significant upgrade. Triple Threads (#135) features the brand’s trademark look with die-cut memorabilia and is numbered to just 99. Bowman Chrome (#111) carries strong brand recognition and is numbered to 2,999 while Bowman Sterling is a nice option that’s very budget-friendly.
Kevin Durant Upper Deck Rookie Cards
Durant’s earliest cards picture him in either a Sonics uniform or his Texas Longhorns college duds and it was early on that Upper Deck snared an exclusive autograph deal with the former Texas Longhorns star who turned pro after a sensational freshman year. On his Upper Deck Heroes autographed card (# to 5), he looks every bit like a teenager (and they’re super cheap). It’s only Upper Deck that carries autographed Kevin Durant rookie cards but there are a lot of unsigned KD rookies in Upper Deck products, too.
His base rookie card from Upper Deck’s flagship 2007-08 set is #234 and shows him holding his Sonics jersey on draft day.
Short printed like all of the rookie cards in the set but plentiful and low cost, it’s one to definitely consider adding to your collection.
While it’s kind off an off the radar issue, one underrated Durant first year card is the one from the 2007-08 Upper Deck Rookies Boxed Set. You can buy singles or even full, sealed sets for an extremely reasonable price and it’s a really eye-catching photo and design.
However, if you’re buying Durant Upper Deck rookies, you’re likely focusing on the autographs and there are plenty to pick from. His 2007-08 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection #94 is among the most popular Durant rookie cards for investment but they’re not available very often.
Limited to 99 copies with an on-card autograph, it’s not only in short supply, but carries the pedigree of a legendary basketball card line. Exquisite has given us some of the most expensive and sought after basketball cards ever made, including the $1.8 million LeBron James rookie and some of the top Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant issues.
There are plenty of others, though, that aren’t quite so pricey and could still prove to be a worthy investment over the long haul or just a nice addition to Durant collection or just a collection of NBA greats.
Among those we really like are the Ultimate Collection #115. Numbered to 150, it features a great photo of Durant ready to throw down a two-handed jam. It’s not cheap, but at least for now, it offers a pretty good value compared to some other high-end Durant rookies.
SP Authentic is another notable Upper Deck brand. The Durant Rookie Patch Autograph (#152) has an on-card autograph and is numbered to 299. Upper Deck Black has Durant’s autograph in black ink on a black background that really stands out and it’s numbered to only 99 copies. Upper Deck Premier is limited to 199 copies and also carries an on-card autograph.
There were multiple Durant rookie cards inside 2007-08 Upper Deck Chronology but it’s #215, numbered to 99 that is the flag bearer. All of the Durant Chronology rookie cards are nice, with each carrying a different photo.
Kevin Durant Rookie Cards on eBay
The best Kevin Durant rookie cards are most often found in eBay auctions so they can garner the widest audience. It’s an extremely active marketplace with both Buy It Now and Auction options filled with most of the Durant rookie cards we’ve mentioned above along with numerous others.
StockX has been another active market for Durant in recent months.
One way to see which of his cards are the most popular with collectors and investors is to see which auctions are attracting the most bidders. Durant’s return has pushed him back onto the list of most watched basketball rookie card auctions from all years but the live list below is all KD all the time. It shows you the 100 most watched Kevin Durant rookie cards at auction any time you open this page.