Should You Be Buying Victor Wembanyama Right Now?
It’s no secret that Victor Wembanyama has drawn the attention of practically every major sports network over the last two or so years — and for good reason. The French prodigy stands over 7-foot-5 in basketball shoes, boasting guard-like moves and even a one-legged James Harden stepback jumper that has brought awe to sports fans around the world.
Wembanyama is the most highly-anticipated NBA draft prospect that we’ve seen since LeBron James, and his sports card mania could top the Zion Williamson hysteria we experienced a few years back, leading collectors to jump on memorabilia and other collectibles as quickly as possible.
But is now the right time to actually be buying Wembanyama? Let’s break down his key cards.
Will Early SI Kids Card Mania Continue?
Let’s start off by looking at one of Wembanyama’s top sales over the last 365 days. His 2023 Sports Illustrated for Kids Base Raw has been traded 965 times, with an overall price increase of a staggering 567%. The card is an interesting example of why buyers should be cautious when looking to pick up pre-NBA Wembanyama cards.
With his San Antonio Spurs cards releasing soon, those holding the SI Kids card should expect a dropoff in pricing. It may be fortuitous for those holding to get these cards listed to maximize profits, and serve as a warning for interested buyers to hold off until his NBA cards release.
Pro Card Release At The National Impacting Bowman University Value
It is important to note that Panini has already dropped one Wembanyama card showcasing him in a Spurs jersey, which may be one reason several of his pre-Spurs edition releases have already fallen off. For example, his 2022 Bowman’s Best University Base Raw has seen a modest pricing decline of 38% over the last 60 days. For a card that was sold 256 times over that time period, we have a large enough sample size to draw a reasonable conclusion.
The hype for Wembanyama can surpass that of any of the recent lottery picks over the last decade, which is exactly why investors should show caution on picking up pre-NBA versions, and show patience for his first batch of NBA cards to release. As we saw from a small Summer League sample size, the world may be more ready for him to become the next face of the league than the lanky 19-year-old is himself. Hang tight for his pro releases and look to maximize your profits when he makes a charge for the Rookie of the Year award.
What Future Releases Will Include Pro Rookies?
Even with recent Panini/Fanatics news about the NFLPA pulling licensing from Panini — and the possibility that a similar issue could occur with the NBA and its Player’s Union — we anticipate a slow decline in value of Wemby’s Bowman U Chrome cards over time. To be clear, even if Prizm Silver, Contenders Rookie Ticket Autos or National Treasures RPAs never exist for some reason, expect Topps Chrome Refractor Auto RCs and other cards we haven’t even dreamed up yet to exist that will draw far more demand than the current cards on the market.
We’re not saying his current cards won’t be desirable long term, but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll hold their current market value — so be careful what you buy until all of his rookie cards are out. The hobby is in a period of exciting change and transition right now, and we encourage you to think through every purchase before pulling the trigger.
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Paul Hickey is a regular contributor to Sports Card Investor, the creator of the Sports Card Investment Report at NoOffseason.com, and the host of the Sports Card Strategy Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. He can be found on Instagram at @sportscardstrategy and on Twitter @nooffseasoncard.