The 1970-71 Topps basketball set is known for its “Pistol” Pete Maravich rookie card. After averaging 44.2 points per game over his college career with LSU, he was the third pick in the NBA draft. With the Atlanta Hawks he averaged 23.2 points in his rookie year, later in his career with the New Orleans Jazz he would score 31.1 points per game during season 1976-77 to lead the NBA in scoring. Maravich, of course, was more than that. He was the consummate showman and a wizard with the ball in his hands.
Graded Maravich rookies have been selling for around $250 in a near mint ‘7’ grade and $400 in 8. PSA 9’s are considered solid investments but will run significantly more.
There was more to the set that featured oversized cards for the second year in a row. There are rookie cards of JoJo White, Calvin Murphy, Bob Dandridge, Bobby Smith, Don Chaney, Pat Riley and Norm Van Lier.
Jerry Sloan is best known for coaching the Utah Jazz for a couple of decades. He had a winning record most seasons and went to the NBA Finals a couple of times. As a player, Sloan was one of the best defenders in the NBA during the 1970s. He was a regular on the NBA All-Defensive teams and late in his career when steals started to be recorded he had a season of 183 steals.
Riley won a championship playing for the Lakers and scored 7.4 points over his NBA career. Riley then had a successful coaching career with the Lakers, Knicks and Heat. He won with Showtime in Los Angeles, had a contender in New York when his team played a bruising style that some called “Slowtime”, and since’95-96, he has been at Miami where he has built teams around Alonzo Mourning and then with Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade, and now the current Heat team of LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh.
Graded 1970-71 Topps basketball cards can fetch high prices because of their scarcity in better grade. However, those at the NM (7) level are still very affordable and present well. The cards present very well once encapsulated and the 1970-71 set is a popular one among collectors of vintage graded basketball cards.
When collectors have assembled the complete set (value varies widely based on the grade of the Maravich and other big name stars), they can then target the 1970-71 Topps Poster inserts. There are many stars to collect from this set, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and John Havlicek.