Topps had the basketball leagues covered in 1975-76 with its largest set ever– 330 cards of players from the NBA and ABA, which were preparing to merge. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 1989 when Hoops came along that there was a pro hoops card set so deep.
Moses Malone Rookie Card
Card #254 is a rookie to consider: the late Moses Malone. Far too good to be considered a journeyman, but not really considered one of the greatest centers ever, Malone started his NBA career out of high school when he was selected by the ABA’s Utah Stars. After a season in Utah he was traded to St. Louis. For his first NBA season, Malone was selected in the ABA dispersal draft by Portland, then traded to Buffalo before a trade sent him to Houston. Malone would appear in five All-Star games as a Rocket and led Houston to the NBA Finals in 1980-81. Malone’s ABA averages were 17.2 points and 12.9 rebounds. Known for his bulk later on, he’s a skinny teenager on his rookie card.
Malone would go to the 76ers in 1982-83, and he was the force in the paint Philadelphia needed to win the championship. He would also play for Washington, Atlanta and several other NBA teams. Malone’s rookie card is not expensive with nice copies available for under $30.
Other 1974-75 Topps Basketball Rookies and Stars
Beyond Malone, rookie cards in the set include Keith (Jamaal) Wilkes, Scott Wedman, Leonard Robinson, Maurice Lucas and Bobby Jones. As with many card sets around this time, the most popular cards are those of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pete Maravich and Julis Erving.
End of the ABA
As season 1975-76 was the last one for the American Basketball Association, this Topps set provides a chance for collectors to learn about the history of the ABA. While the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs would join the NBA there were many teams that closed down. The 1975-76 Topps basketball set has cards for the Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis, Virginia Squires, Utah Stars and San Diego Sails. It’s worth owning, but if you’re piecing a set together, the numbers on the back can be hard to read.
The set includes some interesting team cards pieced together by Topps during a much less technologically advanced time period.
Complete sets of 1975-76 Topps Basketball will vary based on the condition of the stars but figure $250-350 for a nicer one.
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