Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less: '84 Star Company Ralph Sampson RC

Rookie cards are a huge part of the hobby that we love. Collectors chase down the first trading card of a player for a couple of reasons. There certainly are those who "collect" RC's as if they were stocks or commodities. Just look at the recent example of Stephen Strasburg's RC's. There also are those collectors who add a RC to their collection not because of the anticipated value, but rather for the thrill of owning a card of an athlete who they admired as a kid or even today. Maybe the RC of a player also reminds them of a particular time in their life or of a favorite team. If you are later of those types of collectors, than this Rookie Cards for $10 Bucks or Less series is for you.

This Rookie Cards for $10 Bucks or Less post features the 1984 Star Company RC of arguably one of the best collegiate basketball players of all-time, Ralph Sampson. Sampson was the #1 pick of the '83 NBA Draft out of the University of Virginia. As a collegiate player, there are few who can measure up to the career of the 7'-4'' Sampson. He was a three-time Naismith Collegiate Player of the Year award winner and two-time Wooden Award winner. He was also named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.

After receiving that kind of hardware, it's no wonder Sampson was highly touted coming into the NBA during the '84 season. Many felt Sampson was going to dominate the NBA as he did the ACC, and he did for about a three and a half season span. Sampson and the then Akeem Olajuwan formed the devastating "Twin Towers" for the Rockets during the '85 season after Houston won the rights to the first pick overall for a second year in a row. The talented tandem formed an intimidating two-headed monster and eventually led the Rockets to a birth in the '86 NBA Finals against the vaunted Boston Celtics. The Rockets did go on to lose that series, but cemented themselves as a formidable team to dethrone the Lakers'-Celtics' dominance of the 80's with a core of young and up incoming superstars in Sampson and Olajuwan. Unfortunately, three knee surgeries derailed the promise and talent Sampson showed during his first three and a half seasons in the Association.

Sampson played for a number of NBA teams during the remainder of his career and was eventually waived during the '91-'92 NBA season by the then Washington Bullets. He finished his NBA career as the '84 NBA Rookie of the Year, '85 All-Star MVP, '85 All-NBA Second Team, Four-time NBA All-Star ('84-'87) and a whole lot of unfulfilled promise.

His '84 Star Company RC is a steal today with a book value of only $8.00. Many collectors and hoops fans forget just how dominate of an athlete Sampson truly was. His RC often sells for right around $.99 -$5.00. Here's a recently completed eBay Buy Now auction (click here). I really like the Star Company cards of the mid-80's. There obviously are a ton of noteworthy players in those sets like Jordan, Worthy, Jabbar, Thomas, Drexler, Wilkins, Ewing, Magic and Bird, but it's the simply design, photography and use of vibrant color that make these cards standout. Just look at the bright orange an red colors used on the Sampson RC. So if you're looking to add a solid RC to your collection at a modest expense, checkout the '84 Star Co. Ralph Sampson Rookie Card for $10 Bucks or Less and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing futures posts... this series is going to be awesome!

  2. Thanks Mark, I'm going to do about one Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or less posts a week.