Sports card collecting has become increasingly popular in recent years, and some celebrities have joined the hobby. In the case of Logan Paul, one has even been central to the popularity of the hobby. Now an even bigger name has entered the fray. Canadian rap superstar Drake recently made a massive investment in basketball cards. We have the full story of Drake’s Panini Flawless purchase and its meaning for the hobby.
Drake is a Canadian rapper who first rose to attention through his starring role in the CTV teenage drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. He has since become one of the most successful rappers in the world. Drake has sold over 170 million albums worldwide, and he has been certified as the highest-selling digital singles artist of all time.
It is safe to say that Drake is one of the biggest music stars in the world today. Drake is a long-time Toronto Raptors fan and can often be found sitting courtside at the Scotiabank Arena, supporting the home team. However, he was not known as a hobby enthusiast until now. Therefore, his foray into the hobby is big news and a boost for the sports card business.
Drake made a large purchase of 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball suitcases. It appears from his Instagram post that Drake bought 14 suitcases of Flawless. However, I counted 16 that he purchased and there may have been more.
Prices for these boxes vary. You can get one for anywhere between $14,000 and $21,000. Let’s assume that Drake gets a celebrity and volume discount and got each for $14,000. According to that math, the rapper spent $224,000 on this haul.
The chase in this year’s Flawless release is the triple logoman cards. And Drake’s stated goal in ripping (or opening as is a more accurate word for those Flawless cases) was to hit one of those. But, to be more precise, he wanted the Lebron, with three versions of his auto from throughout his legendary career.
However, Drake did not hit one of those. That is not particularly surprising, as there are only five triple logoman’s in the set.
1 LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers/Los Angeles Lakers/Miami Heat
2 Anthony Edwards/LaMelo Ball/Tyrese Haliburton – Minnesota Timberwolves/Charlotte Hornets/Sacramento Kings
3 Giannis Antetokounmpo/Kevin Durant/Stephen Curry – Milwaukee Bucks/Brooklyn Nets/Golden State Warriors
4 Jayson Tatum/Luka Doncic/Zion Williamson – Boston Celtics/Dallas Mavericks/New Orleans Pelicans
5 Draymond Green/Klay Thompson/Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
The Canadian rapper seems interested in increasing his profile with the hobby. Therefore, he joined the streams of several breakers to share his pulls with a broader audience.
Ken Goldin hosted Drake on a live stream on Instagram. Goldin wanted to bet with Drake case versus case, based on who has the highest value card.
The highest card pulled in Drake’s first box was a Trae Young /25 patch auto, valued at around $4,500. Things heated up when Ken pulled a /15 Luka auto. Which is worth more? As we all know, Luka has a higher profile in the hobby, though Trae is no slouch. And a /15 is better than a /25. But the Young card is a patch, so it is pretty close.
Drake and Ken agreed to call it a tie and commented, “let’s run it again.” Next, Bolillo Lajan San, more popularly known as Shyne, had a box war with Drake. Shyne’s top pull was a /15 RPA LaMelo. He won handily against Drake’s top card, which was a James Wiseman /3.
Drake wanted another case war after that, and Shyne was game. This time Shyne won again, thanks to a /15 Kevin Durant patch auto. Drake still hadn’t had enough after losing two boxes straight. Shyne pulled an Anthony Edwards /15. But that was when Drake hit his best card, the 1/1 Ja Morant swatch patch.
Having won the fourth case, Drake asked to go best of five, and Drake went on to win thanks to a Tyrese Maxey and Kevin Garnett.
Shyne suggested that they have a case versus case war instead of a box out as a finale. Drake wrote, “I respect that.” Shyne had a /10 Luka auto in there. However, Drake had a Luka auto and a Lebron patch auto and won the high-stakes case-off.
The video is worth watching just to see Ken Goldin fall asleep around the 40-minute mark.
Not as well as he hoped, that’s for sure. The card Drake hoped to pull, the Lebron triple logoman, is worth around $500,000. Why is it worth so much? It has three game-worn NBA logos from different stages in the King’s legendary career. It will probably be one of his most valuable cards ever.
Flawless is an exclusive product that places quality above quantity. Each box contains only 10 cards. So, we estimate that Drake paid $1,400 per card.
We did not know how his hunt went for a few days, but now we have more information. Unfortunately, Drake did not land one of his coveted triple logoman cards. His top pull was a Ja Morant Star Swatches Signatures 1/1.
How much is that card worth? Well, it’s a 1/1, and obviously, Drake hasn’t sold it yet. But we can try to figure out its value from the closest equivalents.
|2020 Flawless LaMelo Ball Swatch Signatures 1/1||$10,100|
|Ja Morant 2020-21 Flawless Star Swatch /25||$6,100|
|Ja Morant 2020-21 Prime Materials Emerald /5||$30,000|
As we all know, Ja Morant is one of the best young players in the NBA. You could make a pretty good case that he is the best player under-25 in the league. So the value of his cards tends to be high. However, Ja is a second-year player, and therefore his cards should fetch less than his rookies. Nonetheless, Ja has some second-year cards selling for very high amounts, such as the Prime Materials card in the table above.
As I am sure you can imagine, with 14 suitcases of Flawless at his fingertips, the Ja Morant wasn’t the only banger Drake hit.
He didn’t open all of his boxes on the stream with Ken Goldin. He also had some of the boxes on stream for Pullwax. Everyone in the hobby watched that break, from Mamba Cards to Backyard Breaks, Ken Goldin and even Rob Kardashian. You can see the Pull Wax break here:
Here is a breakdown of the contents of Drake’s cases that I managed to catch:
I won’t go through every box to see how much it’s worth. However, let’s take a couple at random. I picked boxes 13 and 7 at random to estimate how much the cards are worth. Included is a link to the closest comps so you can judge for yourself if my calculations are reasonable. I sometimes changed the price a bit based on the year or /#. All comps are raw.
|Leandro Barbossa patch /15
|Alex English auto /5
|Mike Bibby auto /15
|Zeke Nnaji auto /15
|Lauri Markkanen auto /25
|Devin Vassell RPA 1/1
|Jae’Sean Tate auto /15
|Hakeem Olajuwon auto /25
|Malcolm Brogdon diamond /10
|Luka Doncic auto /25
The only really good hit in this box is the Devin Vassell RPA. And there are certainly more desirable RPA’s than that one. In theory, the Luka is a very good card, but it’s a relatively high-numbered third-year auto. As you can see, the return is a but over a third of the price of the box. Nothing to write home about.
|Shawn Kemp patch auto /25
|Naji Marshall auto /25
|David Thompson auto /25
|Desmond Bane gold /10
|P.J. Washington auto /25
|Isaac Okoro auto /15
|Karl Anthony-Towns patch auto /25||$305|
|Shaquille O’Neal auto /5
|Jalen Brown gold /10
|Kevin Garnett auto /15
If the first box was disappointing, this one is a train wreck. Without a single RPA, logoman, or 1/1 of any kind, the cards are worth about 1/6 of the entry price.
The price for Flawless cases went up to around $22,000 each after the Drake break (though you can still find better deals out there). The reasons for that are twofold. One, the rapper is a massive influencer, and his enormous buy has brought a lot of attention to the product. Every box opened without hitting the Lebron triple logoman increases the odds of finding the card in the following case.
However, we can learn something else from the Drake saga. Buying these expensive cases seldom pays off. Drake made a big purchase, far more extensive than most high-end collectors would make. And he came out way behind. Keep that in mind when you invest in products like Flawless. The odds are heavily stacked against you.