The Doctor was in the 1972-73 Topps set. Long before he was making house calls for the 76ers in the NBA, Julius Erving had a rookie card in this set as a member of the ABA’s Virginia Squires. It’s one of the most popular rookie cards of the modern era, selling for upwards of $250-300 for a card graded NM/MT, several hundred more for a graded, mint ‘9’.
The Doctor is In…the 1972-73 Topps Basketball Set
If Erving was playing in the NBA today his cards would be among the most popular, due to the way he played. Dr. J’s in-game dunks were powerful, and he would put on a show during dunk contests too. One of the highlights of his career that gets shown the most isn’t a dunk but a lay-up, as he could jump so high he hit his head on the backboard. He wasn’t just a scorer, making an ABA All-Defensive team and in the NBA he had 100 blocks in eight of his 11 seasons. Prices for a Julius Erving rookie card vary based on condition but eBay usually has several for sale.
His card is the reason ’72-73 Topps basketball sets are popular but there are other Hall of Famers in the set that keep the value strong. In addition, unopened packs of the issue are hard to find.
Best Rookie Cards and Stars in the ’72-73 Set
There are rookie cards to consider of Artis Gilmore, Phil Jackson, George McGinnis, Austin Carr and Sidney Wicks. The Jackson card is often hard to find well centered and can be pricey, but if you’re willing to accept a slightly lower grade, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $50 (see them here).
Collectors wanting the star players of the time can find them in this set at affordable prices. There are cards of Wilt Chamberlain, John Havlicek, Jerry West, Pete Maravich, Rick Barry, Oscar Robertson, Bob Lanier, Bill Bradley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
1972-73 Topps basketball cards also have an interesting design, especially how the team name is written across the bottom of the card. The team name starts small and gets larger going across the card. There are plenty of stats on the back and the usual, for the time, little cartoon drawing that presented more information about the player.
Complete sets are not difficult to find and the price will vary greatly based upon condition, especially the grade of the Erving rookie but expect to pay $250 and up for a decent quality, ungraded set. Buying one with a graded, authenticated Erving card is probably the safest way to go.