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Ultimate LaMelo Ball Rookie Card Guide! (Best Cards and Investment Outlook)

Posted on March 10, 2021 by Gold Card Auctions

The clear favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award this season, LaMelo Ball is a special player. Upon entering the All-Star break, he ranked first among rookies in total points (553), rebounds (211), assists (221) and steals (57) despite not starting a game for the Hornets until February 1. 

The only rookie in the last sixty years to lead on four fronts, even team owner Michael Jordan has been impressed with his progress, telling AP;

“I think Melo has adjusted to the NBA game better than any of us ever thought this early in his career, he has exceeded our expectations so far this season.”

Here’s a roundup containing the top six LaMelo Ball rookie cards, along with investment advice during his white-hot streak.

Top 6 LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards 

As the third pick in the 2020 draft, there’s an abundance of Ball RCs, especially if you factor in for the hundreds of parallel versions. To make things a bit easier, we’ve selected the top six Melo rookie cards below, with something to suit almost every budget.

2020 LaMelo Ball Hoops RC #223

The 2020-21 Hoops set contains many of the first RCs released this season, and it’s where we’ll begin. 

Melo’s base card is reasonably simple, with an image of the player located in the middle, holding a basketball in his right hand. The image is set against a black background, with an oval shaped border which will change colour depending on the parallel. 

There’s an RC logo located on the top right corner, and his name is found in chrome at the bottom.

2020-21 Hoops Parallels: Blue, Hyper Blue, Neon Green, Purple, Purple Explosion, Purple Winter, Red Backs, Teal Explosion, Winter, Yellow, Premium Box Base (/199), Silver (/199), Green (/99), Hyper Red (/99), Green Explosion (/89), Red (/75), Teal (/70), Blue Explosion (/59), Artist Proof (/25), Hyper Green (/25), Orange (/25), Orange Explosion (/25), Red Explosion (/15), Artist Proof Gold (/10), Hyper Gold (/10), Tribute Autograph (/10), Artist Proof Black (1/1) 

2020 LaMelo Ball Donruss Rated Rookie RC #202

Another popular Melo RC that is still reasonably affordable, the Rated Rookie subset contains the next card to make the list. It focuses on the player, with a simple image of the star holding a ball in both hands.  

Don’t let the lack of an autograph put you off, graded copies of the rarer parallels are definitely worth holding onto. 

2020-21 Donruss Rated Rookie Parallels: Green Flood, Green Laser, Green & Yellow Laser, Light Blue Laser, Orange Laser, Red & Gold Laser, Yellow Flood, Press Proof Silver (/349), Press Proof Purple (/199), Purple Laser (/99), Red Laser (/99), Blue Laser (/49), Yellow Laser (/25), Red & Blue Laser (/15), Gold Laser (/10), Black Laser (1/1)

Choice Parallels: Base, Red (/99), Blue (/49), Gold (/10), Black Gold (/8), Black (1/1)

2020 LaMelo Ball NBA Hoops Arriving Now RC #SS-15

The retail-exclusive Arriving Now insert is an underrated Melo card, even if it’s missing the RC logo found with the majority of his 2020-21 releases. It features a large full-length image of the player with a ball in one hand, superimposed against a plain background.

The Holo version is the one we’d look out for, exploding with colour when looked at in the light. 

2020-21 Hoops Arriving Now Parallels: Winter, Winter Holo, Holo

2020 LaMelo Ball Panini Prizm DP Downtown RC #D2

One of 20 players included in the Downtown set, these illustrated cards are some of the most expensive to make the list when looking at PSA 10 versions. However, Melo isn’t in his Hornets jersey, as the card focuses on his time spent with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian-based National Basketball League (NBL) in 2019.

Ball ended as the NBL Rookie of the Year in 2020, and the card shows him at one with nature in the outback. There’s a koala bear, a kangaroo, and one of the best young players in the world located in the middle. The chrome finish also makes it difficult to find gem mint graded copies, making for a viable investment piece.

2020 LaMelo Ball Certified Freshman Fabric RC #38

The Certified Freshman Fabric is a redemption card that has only been around since late February. As well as a signature, it features a rectangular player patch which spans left-to-center.

Given the recent release, prices have yet to settle. This could make it the optimal time to grab one of the rarer parallels, which are all labeled to 99 or fewer. We’d recommend keeping an eye on sales in the meantime.

2021 Freshman Fabric Parallels: Red (/99), Blue (/49), Camo (/25), Gold (/10), Black (1/1) Asia Parallels: (Light Blue), (Red & Gold)

2020 LaMelo Ball Panini Flawless RPA RC #84

Lastly, there’s a great RC that commands the highest price of any option on this list. The base edition of Ball’s Horizontal Patch card is numbered to 20 copies, and it has a typical Flawless design and layout. 

There’s a large on-card auto filled in blue ink at the bottom, coupled with a generous player patch surrounded by silver chrome. The Platinum one-of-one parallel sold for $9,600 late in January 2021, and resold for $13,400 just a few weeks after.

Horizontal Patch Parallels: Gold (/10), Platinum (1/1), Brand Logo (1/1), Conference Logo (1/1), Team Logo (1/1)

LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards: Investment Outlook

Melo’s RCs are some of the hottest items in the hobby as of right now, and they’re only likely to get pricier if he’s crowned as the Rookie of the Year. The prices of his rarest cards continue to increase with each passing week, with no sign that they’re about to let up. 

As for the player, he’s in the midst of a historic season, putting up numbers that haven’t been seen for six decades. Investing in an RC for a player in their first year is always going to be risky, evidenced by the way the prices are climbing so rapidly. (A serious injury or sudden loss of form could see values dropping in a similar fashion.)


We’d recommend looking at numbered parallels where applicable, especially if you’re hoping to see a large ROI over a short period of time. Consider the Flawless RPA, and how quickly the same card sold for $3,800 more. 

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