It’s taken awhile, but those who had faith that Brandon Ingram rookie cards would prove to be worth hanging onto are feeling pretty good these days. A little maturation and a fresh start have pushed the still youthful NBA standout to become a player to watch in the 2020s.
The Book on Brandon
A Kinston, North Carolina native, Ingram was the definition of Mr. Basketball in high school. The young phenom led his Kinston Vikings team to four straight North Carolina state championships. The versatile wingman earned nearly every accolade and honor imaginable in high school. He was rated the third overall recruit by ESPN and the fourth overall recruit in the country by Rivals in 2015.
Slenderman decided to stay in state, signing with Duke and legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. After an outstanding freshman season in Durham, Ingram decided to forego his final three years of college eligibility and enter the 2016 NBA draft.
Ingram was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers where he was named to the second team NBA All Rookie team, averaging just under 10 points and four rebounds per game for the purple and gold.
His second season saw his numbers jump up markedly. The “Humble Beast” averaged 16 points, five rebounds and three assists per game in a year that saw him grow in many aspects of his game. The young star’s game leveled up yet again in his third season in 2018-19 when he averaged over 18 points per game, becoming a legitimate scoring threat in the league.
In the summer of 2019, Ingram was a part of a blockbuster trade that sent him, Lonzo Ball and company from L.A. to New Orleans in exchange for Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. The change of scenery and increased opportunity is exactly what the doctor ordered for Ingram, as he had a breakout season averaging 24 points per game which led to him becoming an All-Star for the first time and winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He became an bona fide star in his first season in the Big Easy. The Pelicans then signed him to a five-year, $158 million contract to stay in New Orleans for the foreseeable future.
As the 2020-21 season began, Ingram was entering his fifth NBA season–and was still only 23 years of age. The Pelicans have built an interesting young team in New Orleans as Ingram teams up with young mega star Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and a talented young supporting cast. He’s primed to build on his early 20s breakout.
Here’s a rundown of some Brandon Ingram rookie cards for every budget and below that, a live list of the 75 most watched Ingram rookie cards now up for auction.
Most Improved Tier
2016-17 Panini National Treasures #122 Brandon Ingram JSY AU/99 RC
This one hails from one of the priciest products each season and the RPA of each player usually becomes one of the most elite rookie cards. Ingram’s card has gone well into four figures now. It offers a big jersey swatch with an on card autograph below as well as a small portrait of the former Duke standout.
2016-17 Immaculate Collection #130 Brandon Ingram JSY AU/99 RC
This high-end rookie card from Immaculate offers a multicolored swatch with an autograph to boot. The color scheme of this card is very nice, as the purples really tie the card together nicely. It’s a somewhat underrated option considering the quality of the card, the limited print run and the price.
2016-17 Panini Gold Standard #201 Brandon Ingram JSY AU/199 RC
There’s a lot to like about the design of this card, which not surprisingly includes a lot of gold in the design. It’s laid out nicely with a jersey piece, an autograph and an image of Ingram looking to finish at the hoop. Gold Standard isn’t always considered among the top auto relic cards for NBA rookies, but considering the relatively modest cost so far and serial number, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
NBA All Star Tier
2016-17 Panini Prizm #131 Brandon Ingram RC
What is their left to say about the Prizm line? Since it’s inception nearly a decade ago, it’s become an eagerly awaited, iconic release each and every season. The rookie cards, although not super high-end, become cornerstones of collections and are as in-demand as any in the industry. The Prizm design in 2016 offers its own take on the silver, blocky, robotic design that has served Panini well. As usual, Gem Mint versions will not be cheap but this card is readily available and demand is always strong.
2016-17 Limited #120 Brandon Ingram JSY AU RC #/99
As has become expected over the years, this nice mid-level Ingram rookie exhibits a jersey piece and an autograph. It’s horizontal design picturing Ingram in his Laker yellow is a nice change of pace and harkens back to the SPx JSY AUTO RC days. Its a bit of a break, vertically versus horizontally, from some of the other designs listed here. If you don’t mind the sticker autograph, it’s a pretty attractive option for the money.
2016-17 Panini Spectra #118 Brandon Ingram JSY AU RC
It’s hard to list such a nice Ingram jersey Auto RC this low on our list but with his rookie cards being top heavy some of the nicer mid-level stuff gets pushed even lower on the list this card can be had for a reasonable sum and it offers all the bells and whistles of cards seen higher on this list.
2016-17 Hoops #262 Brandon Ingram RC
The classic Hoops rookie card is a staple on the lowest tier of our list but that takes nothing away from the significance of the product. It is one of the most recognizable modern rookies in the basketball market. it’s basic. It’s bare bones but the clean design and recognizable brand translates well from year to year. There are valuable parallels but the base version is a card that can literally be had for a few dollars.
2016-17 Panini Complete #175 Brandon Ingram RC
The Panini Complete runs parallel down the court with the Hoops product as a very nice entry level card. The colors play nicely on this card as well with the classic Lakers purple and gold. It offers a nice Rookie Photo Shoot image of Ingram, ball and hand, looking to make a highlight reel play happen. Another one you can often snare for the price of a fast food lunch.
2017 Panini Player of the Day #39 Brandon Ingram RC
This is a relatively new program in the industry in which Panini offers collectors special limited edition packs of cards if they pull the chosen player of the day from current year Panini product. Back in 2016, you could pull this brand and Ingram’s rookie card from a free pack. It’s yet another nice entry level card that can be had for a very low cost. Five years from now, you might be pretty glad you scooped up a few.