Moses Malone was the ultimate journeyman basketball player, but not in the traditional sense.
Malone played for nine different teams in his 21-year career in the ABA and NBA. But Malone didn’t move around so much because no one wanted him, but instead because his powerful rebounding and deft low-post scoring were in high demand.
Malone, who finished his career averaging 20.2 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, is the only NBA player to win back-to-back MVP awards for two different teams. In 1981-82, he led the Houston Rockets to the NBA championship with 31.1 points and a league-high 14.7 rebounds per game. The following season, he worked the same magic in Philadelphia, leading the 76ers to the NBA title with 24.5 points and a league-high 15.3 rebounds. He also won the NBA Finals MVP award in 1982-83.
Malone, who was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, is finally getting the respect he deserves on the sports card market as well.
Malone’s 1975 Topps Basketball rookie card #254 just sold for a record $102,000 in the PWCC Weekly Auction that ended March 13, a record for Malone cards. The PSA 10 version of the card shows Malone in action with the ABA Utah Stars.
And just like Malone’s back-to-back MVP seasons, another PSA 10 version of the card sold in the same auction for $96,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Malone card.
According to public data, the previous record high for a Malone card was $19,200. The 1975 Malone rookie cards are difficult to find in top condition because of the print quality of the set with the PSA 10 population in double digits.
According to PWCC, a big reason for the record sales is PWCC’s Eye Appeal designations attached to the cards. Cards that receive these designations consistently sell higher than the market average — as is seen in the two Malone sales. A PWCC-A assessment (the $96,000 card) is assigned to cards in the top 30 percent of the quality spectrum, while a PWCC-E ($102,000) is in the top 15.
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