The triple logoman Lebron James card is one of the most hyped cards in hobby history. It led to a mad scramble for boxes (well, suitcases, really) of 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball. On Saturday, June 25, the card finally sold. However, the price it fetched was significantly lower than estimated. It was sold for $2.4 million when many had estimated a value of over $6 million. We have the full story on why the triple Logoman Lebron James card sold low.
The logoman cards are some of the most sought after in the hobby. They are 1/1 cards featuring the NBA logo (the famous Jerry West shooting silhouette) from a jersey. In the more high-end products, these patches are from game-worn jerseys.
The cards have appeared in one form or another since Upper Deck Exquisite featured them back in 2003. Today they are closely associated with two high-end Panini releases: National Treasures and Flawless. However, they also appear in Noir and Immaculate basketball releases.
The Triple Logoman was hyped from day one, intended to become the biggest card of its kind. It includes one NBA logo patch from each of LeBron’s teams. Naturally, therefore, the card is of value to collectors of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.
The LeBron was one of five triple Logoman cards in 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball:
The LeBron was billed as the most significant card among the five and will probably remain so. However, it has rivals on this list. The Haliburton, Edwards, and Ball Triple could become more prominent if all three become superstars. Meanwhile, the Warriors card will benefit from the historic Golden State 2021-22 championship season.
The Goldin website describes the card as a “completely unique collectible showcases a trio of game-worn/used NBA Logoman logo patches, with each Logoman originating from a jersey worn by James with a different franchise, including one from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, one from his Miami Heat tenure, and one from his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.”
LeBron has a massive role in the hobby. As previously explained, his rookie cards are iconic and continue to be a strong investment. And that is not surprising. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players of all time. According to The Athletic, which released the most serious rankings I am aware of, James is the second-best player, right behind Michael Jordan and ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell.
Unlike most other immortal basketball legends, LeBron is an immediate presence for collectors of all ages. We have all seen King James dominate the court with brilliance and unparalleled physical gifts. Therefore, his cards are meaningful for collectors of all ages. Naturally, that lifts their market value. If so, there was a real gold rush to get this card.
The presence of the card in the already popular Panini Flawless Basketball line created a perfect storm. It seemed that every big name in the hobby was holding Flawless breaks.
Perhaps the highest-profile break involved world-famous Canadian rapper Drake. Drake hosted Ken Goldin, who ended up selling the triple Logoman when it was pulled, in Toronto. The two went through at least 16 suitcases of 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball. However, they were unable to find the elusive triple.
Drake pulled a few good cards, especially two Ja Morant ones and a LaMelo Ball rookie. Still, considering the massive investment he made (I calculated $224,000) in the suitcases.
On March 24, 2022, two well-known organizations launched the MINT Collective event in Los Vegas, Nevada. The two companies responsible were Layton Sports Cards and Blez Sports Cards.
In Los Vegas, Nevada, on March 24, 2022, the break was promoted as one of the most significant events in hobby history. It was, indeed, a massive break in volume and value. They broke no less than 5 cases of 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Hobby and 10 cases of First Off The Line.
The breakers aimed to pull the famed triple LeBron. Chad Bleznick of Blez sports, in particular, was vocal. He put a bounty on the Lebron triple Logoman: and exclaimed, “Yours truly, the backer, is paying $1 million in cash.”
Spoiler alert, the breakers did not pull the triple. Unfortunately, however, it ended up being quite problematic. The break featured two scantily clad models. Therefore, many collectors felt that the event had objectified women.
Backyard Breaks pulled the card on a Whatnot stream held on May 6. The Backyard Breaks guys have enjoyed a lot of exposure this year, some good and some of it negative. Earlier this year, they allegedly did not provide a paying customer with a Trevor Lawrence gold Kaboom! card they had won.
You should watch the clip of them drawing the card because it’s hilarious. However, make sure to turn your volume way down. They get understandably excited.
Of course, Ken Goldin quickly congratulated the Backyard Breaks boys on their good fortune.
The card was auctioned off through Goldin Memorabilia Auctions, one of the most prominent players in the hobby.
Bidding began on June 8, with a modest $550,000. However, the bids had cracked the three-figure mark in a little over an hour. But the expected late surge of bids was far less intense than expected. It stood at $1,900,000 on the closing day and rose only to $500,000 on Saturday the 25th.
The triple Logoman wasn’t the only big LeBron card auctioned by Goldin in that lot. Other items included a storied 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph Parallel. It sold for $2.1, notably close to the triple despite being /23.
Some predictions expected the card to shatter previous records in sales. Goldin certainly seems to have expected that. According to the auction entry:
“Hobby-wide hype has coalesced around this magisterial Panini offering, with conservative estimates of its sale price comparing favorably to other record-setting basketball cards, including James’ own Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA at $5.2m and Luka Doncic’s National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Logoman at $4.8m, with both sales occurring in 2021. This is the first Panini Flawless issue to feature the Triple Logoman set. As the only Triple Logoman in the release to feature a single-player, this card stands head-and-shoulders above its contemporaries in terms of prestige and exclusivity as the hobby’s ‘Golden Ticket.”
Indeed, some observers believed it would smash all records. One website claimed, “there’s a genuine belief among collectors that the hammer price could surpass the current record of $6.6 million.”
But of course, the card did not bring anything approaching the Lebron RPA or Luka logoman. Why? One reason is that this is not a rookie card. Lebron may or may not be the greatest player of all time. However, he is now a grizzled 37-year-old veteran. Sure, the card is a triple and is absolutely dazzling. But nothing can compare to the allure of a rookie card.
However, there is another reason. It is no secret that the card market has been weak in recent months. In 2021, the problem was mostly limited to base cards. After that, however, the high-end cards also began to lose altitude. By mid-2022, we saw some very high-end cards losing half their value. Now that a recession may be in the offing, high-end cards could get a lot worse.
If so, the disappointing final price for the 2020-2021 Flawless Basketball Lebron James triple Logoman may indicate a broader trend. Indeed, if you look at the most expensive cards ever bought, they tend to have been involved in sales in 2020 and 2021. The peak of the COVID-19 inspired boom.
|Honus Wagner T206||$6,916,891||August 16, 2021|
|Mickey Mantle Topps||$5,444,722||January 2021|
|Lebron James Upper Deck Exquisite||$5,444,722||April 26, 2021|
|Luka Doncic Panini National Treasures||$4,600,000||February 28, 2021|
|Mike Trout Bowman Chrome||$4,121,235||August 23, 2020|
The highest sale of 2022 so far aside from the LeBron triple? A Kobe Bryant Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems – Green, which sold for $2,000,000 in February. Obviously, that is still a great deal of money. But it is much lower than the highest prices paid in 2020 and 2021. It was also when the economic outlook seemed somewhat more optimistic.
The 2020-2021 Flawless Basketball Lebron James triple Logoman was the most hyped new card I can remember. Considering the massive hype, the final price of $2,400,000 was somewhat disappointing. There are two reasons for that. First, it is not a rookie card; therefore, eager hobby influencers probably overestimated the triple. They may have been genuinely misled or done so for hype reasons. Probably a combination of the two.
Second, the entire card market is suffering a downturn right now. The myth that high-end cards are safe has been exposed as misleading. This trend may be a dip, or it could reflect the unreasonable prices of the boom era. Either way, before making any significant purchases or investments, consider the market climate. These are turbulent times everywhere.