LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards: Top 17 Cards You Need to Know in 2022

by Bryan Roberts

Are you on the hunt for information about LaMelo Ball rookie cards?

Perhaps you have previous experience investing in rookie cards, or maybe you have never invested in a rookie card before. 

You are not alone! LaMelo Ball has shot to fame, already becoming one of the most popular rookies in the NBA of all time. He had an incredible breakout season and has a great personality on and off the court.

Going into the 2020-21 season, there was no doubt that almost all LaMelo Rookie Cards would be highly sought after by collectors worldwide.

Despite being picked third in the NBA draft, behind James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards, when it comes to card collection, Ball carries much more intrigue.

Collectors were not disappointed, as he took the first half of his rookie campaign by storm, making great plays from point guard and appearing on all the highlight reels.

In total, he averaged 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 15.7 points per game, over 51 games. These stats were why LaMelo won the Rookie of the Year award in 2020-21.

With so many LaMelo Ball rookie cards out there to choose from, and with so many other people looking to invest in these cards, where do you even start?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! 

With so many cards to choose from, making the right choice can be extremely daunting and may lead to you avoiding cards altogether.

With that in mind, we’ve made it much simpler for you! We have identified the top 17 cards you need to know about for 2022. We’ve done all the hard yards for you, now all you need to do is pick the right card for you.

Short on time? Here are our favorites from each of the six categories included in this list (links to eBay):

Most Popular LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards

The “Most Popular” rookie card category includes cards most commonly searched for on Google and transacted on eBay. These cards are likely to be collectible long-term because they are popular with investors and collectors.

LaMelo Ball Prizm #278

1. LaMelo Ball Prizm #278 (Shop on eBay)

One of the most popular rookie cards, the 2020 LaMelo Ball Panini Prizm #278, is the first card on this list.

In many respects, this card is the marquee card for LaMelo.

Do not expect this card to become the rarest on this list, and it certainly won’t be the most valuable either, even after the final sets of the season have been printed.

However, given the sheer popularity of Prizm cards, this card is a reliable choice if you are searching for a card that will remain collectible over time.

Panini produced more than 40 parallels of the base LaMelo Ball rookie card including: 

Prices vary significantly based on card grade and rarity. On the high-end, a collector recently purchased a rare PSA 10 parallel……for $11,999.99.

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie #153

2. Donruss Optic Rated Rookie #153 (Shop on eBay)

One of the most popular LaMelo Ball Rookie cards is the 2020-21 Donruss Optic NBA card. This card is extremely popular and one of the most commonly bought and sold on eBay.

Collectors are keen to get their hands on this card due to the classic ‘Rated Rookie’ logo and glossy, optichrome finish. The Optichrome parallels also provide a nice chase.

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic NBA set brings back the Optichrome series, stacked with new stars and rookies.

The 2020-21 Donruss Hobby Box features 80 cards of which one will be an autograph and 20 will be inserts or parallels.

As with any Donruss product, these cards are top quality, with a pristine glossy finish.

This card shows LaMelo dribbling in his white Charlotte Hornets jersey.

The base version of this card is on a white backdrop, but there are also other variants, such as:

LaMelo Ball Mosaic #202

3. LaMelo Ball Mosaic #202 (Shop on eBay)

What a beautiful card the LaMelo Ball Mosaic #202 is!

This card offers collectors another chromium option and can be purchased in retail, hobby, and international packs.

Because of this large net, there are plenty of parallel options out there, but in limited numbers. Almost all of them boast the namesake background effect.

The 2020-21 Panini Mosaic LaMelo Ball card should be easy to find in its base version, but parallels will be harder to find.

Exclusive Rookie Variation versions can be found in Fast Break boxes. There are also exclusive parallels for hobby boxes, such as Mosaic Gold (#/10), Mosaic Black (1/1), and Mosaic White (#/25)

This card collection largely follows the format and style of the 2019/2020 edition, with each hobby box consisting of one autograph, 20 inserts, and 20 parallels.

The LaMelo card shows LaMelo mid-step ball in hand, ready to jump for the basket. The base card comes in Silver or Mosaic editions, among many others.

LaMelo Ball Select Concourse Rookie Card

4. LaMelo Ball Select Rookie Card (Shop on eBay)

Select rookie cards are unusual when compared to other chrome sets. They differ from other cards in many ways, but the main one is that it has a three-tiered base set. 

The most common base set is the concourse base set, which stocks Ball’s Rookie Card. However, LaMelo also features in the Premier Level and Courtside base subsets.

As well as providing collectors with a rare choice for their collection, every card also comes with a unique range of parallels.

For example, a silver parallel base version is available only in hobby packs. In retail packs, the most common parallel is blue retail.

Looking close at the 20-21 NBA rookie class, the 2020-21 Panini Select Basketball product remains under the Panini umbrella.

Interesting fact: Select includes three levels which are progressively lower print count: 

Budget LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards

The “Budget” rookie card category includes both popular and usually less expensive cards included in the “Most Popular” category. “Budget” category cards provide good entry-level rookie card investment options.

LaMelo Ball NBA Hoops #223

5. LaMelo Ball NBA Hoops #223 (Shop on eBay)

It is not a secret that very few NBA rookie cards provide the possibility for appreciation in the way that LaMelo Ball’s cards do.

Physical card trading and collections are having a resurgence, and the 2020 NBA Hoops LaMelo Ball #223 card is a solid addition to your collection.

The card has an exceptionally stylish trademark shot of LaMelo, poised and ready to make a pass. This photo is straight from a photoshoot rather than an in-game shot. This picture further highlights the rookie aspect of this card, as in-game imagery of LaMelo is limited.

This NBA Hoops card is less flashy than others on this list, with a white and teal border and LaMelo positioned front and center.

However, as the first LaMelo rookie card showing him in his Hornets uniform, this card is an excellent addition to your collection.

LaMelo Ball Donruss Rated Rookie #202

6. Donruss Rated Rookie #202 (Shop on eBay)

The 2020-21 LaMelo Ball Donruss Rated Rookie #202 is one of the early NBA release cards from 2020-21 Donruss Basketball. This is viewed as one of the leading budget cards for some passionate basketball card collectors out there and a card you may be interested in adding to your collection.

Packed with the league’s best veterans and most exciting rookies, the 2020-21 Donruss Basketball base set is a popular choice for many collectors keen to get their hands on a pristine LaMelo Rookie Card that falls within their budget.

On top of that, the hobby pack contains exclusive laser parallels, and the choice pack contains exclusive choice parallels. Check out some of our favorite parallels following the links below: 

The base card depicts LaMelo, poised with Ball in hand, ready to pass or shoot for the Charlotte Hornets.

7. Panini Revolution #140 (Shop on eBay)

LaMelo Ball Panini Revolution #140

The 2020-21 Panini Revolution LaMelo Ball Rookie Card is certainly a card that divides opinion. For collectors that are searching for a card that has a bold and striking design, rather than a rare or autographed card, this is an excellent choice. 

For some, the style is not to their taste, but the patterned backgrounds are renowned for the Panini Revolution brand.

Various effects and shapes are incorporated for the parallels of the LaMelo Ball rookie card, rather than the usual range of colors.

The set includes over 10 parallels of the base card such as: 

8. Other LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards Under $20

On top of the three cards mentioned above in this category, LaMelo Ball also boasts plenty of rookie cards that go for less than $20. You can find them on eBay here: LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards under $20.

LaMelo Ball Autograph Rookie Cards

The “Autograph” rookie card category includes signed cards from popular and unique basketball card releases. This category excludes rookie patch auto (RPA) cards because those cards are featured in a subsequent section.

9. LaMelo Ball Prizm Autograph (Shop on eBay)

First, up for LaMelo Ball Autograph Rookie cards is the 2020-21 Prizm Basketball card. 

The 2020-21 Panini Prizm Basketball powerhouse returns in the 2020-21 NBA season with this beautiful collector card.

Any hobby box will be filled with two autographs, ten inserts, and 22 prizms. Expect to find exclusive shimmer parallels if you manage to get your hands on a 1st off the line box.

As usual, rookies like LaMelo are the main focus of the 2020-21 Panini Prizm Basketball collection.

The cards look very similar to the popular 2019-20 Prizm base set and offer Hobby-only Black (1/1), and Gold (#/10) parallels for the LaMelo rookie card.

As with other redemptions, any potential collectors need to be patient and wait for the live autograph card and its parallels.

10. Contenders Optic Rookie Ticket Autograph (Shop on eBay)

Next up, we have the 2020-21 Panini Contenders Optic Basketball LaMelo Rookie Card Auto. This card merges the design of the main Contenders card with chromium to mark the third NBA season.

Each hobby box contains six cards, and one is an autograph. However, rookie autograph cards are tough to come by, especially for top players such as LaMelo, so the chances of finding one are meager.

This LaMelo card is so great because it feels like a traditional autograph chase but is paired with additional colors, thanks to the chromium makeover.

As LaMelo Ball had such a good season, this card is highly coveted by collectors.

11. LaMelo Ball Chronicles Rookie Auto (Shop on eBay)

One of the best LaMelo Ball autographed rookie cards has to be the 2020-21 Panini Chronicles LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Chronicles Basketball features four different LaMelo Ball autograph cards. For example, Ball is the 37th card in the Rookie Cornerstones run, and 99 were printed. 

The card shows LaMelo in full flow and is one of the more striking pictures collectors can find on a rookie card.

Alongside the picture of LaMelo playing for the Charlotte Hornets, the card also shows his name, the Chronicles logo, and most importantly, LaMelo Balls’ autograph.

The autograph is what makes this such a prized possession for many collectors, and it is highly coveted due to the small print run.

LaMelo Ball Relic Rookie Cards

The “Relic” rookie card category includes relic/jersey/patch cards from popular and unique basketball card releases. This category excludes rookie patch auto (RPA) cards because those cards are featured in a subsequent section.

LaMelo Ball National Treasures Patch

12. LaMelo Ball National Treasures Patch (Shop on eBay)

If you are a fan of relic rookie cards, you might want to think about purchasing the 2020-21 National Treasures Basketball Patch LaMelo Ball Rookie Card.

Offering some of the sharpest and striking rookie cards, 2020-21 Panini National Treasure Basketball has always been one of the most popular choices when it comes to NBA card brands.

Any rookie card that flaunts the national treasures brand garners a lot of interest, and the LaMelo Relic Rookie Card is no different.

LaMelo Ball RPA Cards

The “RPA” rookie card category includes rookie patch autograph cards from popular and unique basketball card releases. This category includes some of the most highly sought-after and expensive rookie cards.

LaMelo Ball National Treasures RPA

13. LaMelo Ball National Treasures RPA (Shop on eBay)

If you have a large pot of money for your rookie card collection, you will want to consider the 2020-21 National Treasures Basketball Rookie Patch Auto LaMelo Ball Rookie Card.

Providing the latest rookie cards, 2020-21 Panini National Treasure Basketball continues one of the highly sought-after choices when it comes to NBA card brands.

Every hobby box contains ten cards in total, with eight hits. Four of these will be relics, and four will be autographs.

Any card that flaunts the national treasures brand almost guarantees a hefty price tag and makes this rookie card a high-end choice. The LaMelo rookie patch autograph is one of the pricier RPA’s out right now but is a strong choice for any avid collector where money is not an issue.

LaMelo Ball Flawless Collegiate RPA

14. LaMelo Ball Flawless Collegiate RPA (Shop on eBay)

Everyone expected big things from LaMelo in his first season in the NBA, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! At the tender age of 19, he took the league by storm, going into beast mode and taking over in many games.

His impressive stat line led to headlines on ESPN and other sports channels, likening him to other superstars such as LeBron James.

One of the best rookie cards to capture his dominance is the Flawless Collegiate RPA. Panini Flawless is highly regarded as one of the most desirable sets available to collectors of high-end, expensive cards.

The LaMelo Ball Flawless Collegiate RPA card is no different. The card can be found in a stylish briefcase, which only has a couple of cards in it. This is not a purchase for budget collectors!

But if you are a collector of higher-quality, higher-value cards, and you are willing to pay the big bucks for a great LaMelo card, this might be the card for you.

It boasts the jersey patch and LaMelo’s autograph above the infamous Panini Flawless branding.

Overall, this is a stunning card that many collectors will deem as the holy grail of LaMelo Ball rookie cards.

With this top-quality card, each base card is numbered between one and 15.

There is also a platinum and gold parallel, also numbers between one and 15.

LaMelo Ball Rare Insert Cards

The “Rare Inserts” rookie card category includes rare and highly sought-after rookie cards. The cards on this list will be among the most expensive rookie cards available, particularly when the card includes a high grade from a reputable grading company.

Panini One and One Downtown LaMelo Ball

15. Panini One and One Downtown LaMelo Ball (Shop on eBay)

Downtown is back for another year, featuring as a rare insert card in the Panini One and One Basketball collection.

Far and away, one of the most popular inserts that Panini offers collectors, the downtown series boasts signature illustrated backgrounds that give the cards a beautiful and unique look.

This artistic design is often one of the main reasons that a Downtown insert is always such a popular choice for collectors, and this is no different with this season’s LaMelo ball variant.

Depicted mid-leap, about to dunk the Ball, LaMelo is dressed in his home jersey for the Charlotte Hornets. That might not seem so unusual and unique, but it is the rest of the card that really helps this one stand out.

Rather than being depicted on the court as with most cards, he is instead drawn jumping off a lone rock, with a sea of hornets flying behind him, Charlotte’s animal mascot.

The trademark One and One logo features in the top left, and LaMelo’s full name and the team sit below the illustration.

Crown Royale Kaboom LaMelo Ball

16. Crown Royale Kaboom LaMelo Ball (Shop on eBay)

There are a few reasons why this LaMelo Ball card is one of the most exciting ones to make this list. For starters, Kaboom! Insert brings with it a high level of interest and popularity. Combine that with LaMelo’s electric personality and exciting play style, and you have an excellent choice for collectors.

Not only are the Kaboom inserts highly popular, but the LaMelo variant is extremely rare and very hard to pull.

The Kaboom inserts have seen a major rise in popularity recently. Collectors find their designs fun and quirky, and card admirers love them.

Can you blame them? One look at the design of the LaMelo Kaboom rookie card, and you can see why they’re so popular.

This is a card that most collectors will be searching for.

LaMelo Ball Panini Spectra Color Blast #21

17. Panini Spectra Color Blast #21 (Shop on eBay)

With standout designs and vibrant color schemes, the 2020-21 Panini Spectra Basketball is a unique NBA set.

A lot of the color featured in the 2020-21 Panini Spectra Basketball looks unique and different, and this is no different with the LaMelo Ball insert.

Sure, it is based on chrome, similar to Optic, Select, and Prizm, but the color is very different. This difference is due to Spectra utilizing premium thicker stock that has a bigger focus on a high-end look and feel.

Hobby boxes contain four packs of 16 cards, and your chances of pulling a Color Blast LaMelo are extremely rare.

LaMelo Ball Rookie Card Risk and Upside Analysis

Note: please keep in mind that all sports card investments carry risk, and you should always complete your own analysis prior to investing in sports cards.

As of the 2021-22 NBA season, we classify LaMelo Ball rookie cards as Moderate Risk with Low to Moderate Upside potential. LaMelo Ball card prices are currently trading at the higher-end of players similar to him. This indicates he will need to do something extraordinary to justify an additional price increase.

>> Read How to Get Started with Sports Card Investing

Why do we believe LaMelo Ball rookie cards have moderate risk?

LaMelo Ball is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. He is only 20 years old but contributes significantly to his team’s progress and weekly NBA highlight reels. His potential is undoubtedly high, but he is still unproven over a more extended period. In addition, he plays for the Charlotte Hornets, a team that has never won an NBA championship and will always be limited by budget.

As a result of the analysis above, we consider LaMelo Ball rookie cards to have moderate risk.

Why do we believe LaMelo Ball rookie cards have low to moderate upside potential?

One of our favorite upside potential analyses involves comparing the card price of one card across multiple players. We often use the Base PSA 10 rookie card.

As of December 2021, the base PSA 10 LaMelo Ball rookie card is trading for ~$400. In comparison, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant base PSA 10 rookie cards are trading for ~$200. That’s half the price.

In addition, both Williamson and Morant have higher WS / 48 (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes) than Ball and Morant is playing the same position.

We hear you, Ball may have more upside than Morant, but double the price? That seems steep to us.

We believe LaMelo Ball rookie cards have low to moderate upside based on this rapid analysis. He will likely need to do something extraordinary in upcoming seasons for collectors/investors to see an increase in prices.

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