Kaboom Sports Cards: 10 Years of Stunning Inserts

2019 Crown Royale Kaboom! LeBron James #9

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Last Updated On: August 31st, 2023

If you’re an avid collector of sports cards, you have definitely heard of Kaboom sports cards. These cards are a rare insert produced by Panini that have gained a lot of attention in the market. They are known for their explosive design and super short print production, making them highly sought-after by collectors.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of Kaboom sports cards, including what packs you can pull them from, where to buy them, how hard it is to pull a Kaboom insert, along with the most popular players with Panini Kaboom cards available across all major sports, and their recent values. We’ll also discuss the ultra rare gold and green parallel versions which are even more popular given their low print runs.

Kaboom Sports Cards Overview

Kaboom sports cards feature a unique design that looks like an explosion, with a player in action in the foreground. The original release in 2013 was more animated, with the player resembling a comic book character. They have evolved over the years with actual player photos, although the typical Kaboom design has remained a staple of the release every year since.

Kaboom sports cards: Kobe Bryant Kaboom Insert 2013 Panini Innovation #9 (first year release NBA basketball)
Kobe Bryant Kaboom Insert 2013 Panini Innovation #9

When Panini released the first Kaboom NBA basketball cards in the Panini Innovation product in 2013, they were an instant hit with collectors and quickly gained popularity. The cards are popular because they feature some of the most popular players in sports, and are often compared to Precious Metal Gems cards for their potential investment value. Since then, Panini has released Kaboom cards across different sports and categories, including basketball, football, soccer, baseball, UFC, and even the WWE most recently.

What Packs Have Kaboom Cards?

Several packs contain the possibility of pulling a Kaboom insert card, including retail products such as Blaster boxes, value packs, and more. The following product boxes have been released by Panini since 2013, with each corresponding sport mentioned along with the 1st year of its release, where applicable:

How Rare Are Kaboom Sports Cards?

Kaboom cards are rare and highly popular, which makes them difficult to find. The cards are randomly inserted into packs, which means that collectors have to buy packs and hope to pull a Kaboom card or join a box break and get lucky.

The base insert is considered a ‘case hit’, meaning an entire case of product would likely only contain one Kaboom insert, although some have speculated even two cases. A single hobby case can contain 12 to 15 boxes depending on the product, so figure 12-30 boxes to find a Kaboom. In 2018 Panini also introduced parallel versions in Gold, serially numbered to just 10, and a super rare green 1-of-1 Kaboom. Per usual, the rarer the parallel, the more valuable the card. In December, 2022, a Josh Allen 2018 Kaboom Green rookie card 1 of 1 sold for a whopping $33,000 at PWCC Auctions.

Josh Allen 2018 Kaboom Green 1 of 1 at PWCC Auctions

Some of the most popular Kaboom cards happen to be some of the most valuable Panini cards in the marketplace. They include:

Lamelo Ball Kaboom 2020 (Basketball): Lamelo Ball burst onto the rookie scene with his vision and flashy ball handling skills. The Lamelo Ball Kaboom rookie card last sold for $3,600 on eBay in February, 2023, and is one of the more desired players in Kaboom sets released in recent years.

Kaboom sports cards: 2020 Crown Royale Lamelo Ball Kaboom! #23. Source: CardLadder
2020 Crown Royale Lamelo Ball Kaboom! #23 PSA 10. Source: CardLadder

Josh Allen Kaboom 2018 (Football): As mentioned earlier, Josh Allen’s Kaboom Green one-of-one card is one of the more treasured hits in the 2018 Panini Kaboom multi-sport set. According to PSA, there are 104 base Kabooms graded of Josh Allen, along with 8 Gold and the one Green Kaboom. With the Green kaboom going for $33,000, the Gold parallel last sold for $19,200 at PWCC according to CardLadder.

Kaboom sports cards:  2018 Panini Kaboom! Josh Allen Kaboom Gold /10 #JA. Source: CardLadder
2018 Panini Kaboom! Josh Allen Kaboom Gold /10 #JA PSA 9. Source: CardLadder

Patrick Mahomes Kaboom 2018 (Football): Patrick Mahomes’ rookie year was in 2017, although his 1st kaboom would launch with the 2018 multi-sport Kaboom set. As a first year Kaboom card for Mahomes (2nd playing year), the card is a popular choice amongst collectors given Patrick’s record-breaking career start and exciting playing style.

There are only 100 cards recorded in the PSA pop report of the base Mahomes Kaboom. That’s not many for such a popular player. There are six graded gold parallels, and of course the one and only green Kaboom was graded by PSA, and received a 9 Mint grade if you’re wondering.

Recent prices of the Patrick Mahomes Kaboom in PSA 9 Mint grade run for more than $2,000, and PSA 10 Gem Mint can top $5,000. The rare gold kaboom pictured below, numbered to only 10, can get as high as $20,000, with the last recorded sale in December, 2022.

Kaboom sports cards:  2018 Panini Kaboom! Patrick Mahomes Gold /10 #PMA
2018 Panini Kaboom! Patrick Mahomes Kaboom Gold /10 #PMA

Lionel Messi Kaboom 2018 (Soccer): Lionel Messi’s Kaboom card is also a must-have for collectors. Born out of the 2018 multi-sport 50-card set, the Lionel Messi card runs for around $1,000 in PSA 9 MINT condition. According to the PSA pop report, PSA has graded 98 base versions of the Messi Kaboom card, and five Gold parallels. It would take two more years for Panini to decide to launch a Kaboom set dedicated to soccer with the release of 2020 Panini Absolute.

Kaboom sports cards:  2018 Panini Kaboom! Lionel Messi #LMS
2018 Panini Kaboom! Lionel Messi Base #LMS

Other Frequently Asked Questions

When did Kaboom cards first come out?

Kaboom cards first came out in the 2013 Panini Innovation Basketball product. It would be several years later before soccer products included Kaboom inserts in 2017 Panini Select, and NFL Football debuted in 2019 Panini Absolute boxes.

What Panini box has Kaboom cards?

Several Panini boxes have Kaboom cards. NBA basketball Kabooms debuted with Panini Innovation in 2013, and were included with Panini Excalibur, and Panini Crown Royale boxes in subsequent years. NFL football Kabooms are solely in the Panini Absolute products from 2019 through 2022. MLB baseball Kabooms debuted in Panini Absolute in 2021, and can also be found in Panini Absolute 2022 boxes.

Can you pull a Kaboom from a value pack?

Yes, you can pull a Kaboom insert from value packs (sometimes called retail). For example, you can get Kabooms in Blaster boxes, such as 2022 Panini Absolute Football at Target.

Can you get Kabooms in Absolute retail?

Yes, you can get Kabooms in Absolute retail boxes. Target sells 2022 Panini Absolute Football Blaster boxes, while 2022 Panini Absolute Football Jumbo Value can be found at Dave and Adam’s.

What players have Kaboom cards?

Many players have Kaboom cards across major sports. Some of the most popular NBA basketball kabooms include those of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, LaMelo Ball, Jayson Tatum, and Damian Lillard, to name a few. Giannis’ gold kaboom even made our list of the top 25 coldest basketball cards!

In NFL Football, some of the most popular players with Kabooms include Tom Brady, Jalen Hurts (RC in 2020 Absolute), Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Josh Allen (RC in 2018 multi-sport set), Patrick Mahomes, Walter Payton, Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray (RC in 2019 Absolute), Dak Prescott, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Randy Moss, Dan Marino, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields (RC in 2021 Absolute), and Justin Herbert (RC in 2020 Absolute).

MLB baseball players with Kabooms include some of the most popular players in the game, including Mike Trout, Luis Robert, Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Wander Franco, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and even Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.

Soccer also has its fair share of legendary players with Kabooms: Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr., Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, and Erling Haaland.

Tip: You can find what players have Kaboom cards by going to a specific product listed in the PSA population report. For example, head to the 2013 Panini Innovation Basketball “Pop” report to see all the Kaboom basketball cards graded by PSA. While this isn’t technically all-inclusive, as a particular card can simply never have been graded, it’s a great way to get a high-level view and also view how rare some Kabooms are for that given year and player. The other way to find players with Kaboom cards is to Google search the checklist, for example “2021 Panini Absolute Football Kaboom checklist”.

Why are Kaboom cards worth so much?

In short, Kabooms are worth a lot because they are super short print inserts that are very hard to pull from Panini packs. The odds of pulling a Kaboom is likely one in every case or two (around 12-30 hobby boxes, for example). Panini doesn’t publish the odds, however. If you factor in the Kaboom parallel versions such as Gold, numbered to 10, or Green, which are 1 of 1, the value is considerably higher.


Kaboom sports cards are super rare inserts that have become a staple of Panini America’s annual product launches since 2013. With the iconic insert becoming highly desirable over the years, Panini has smartly included Kaboom cards as random inserts in packs across basketball, football, baseball, soccer, and UFC product sets. Collectors can also pounce on Panini’s launch of the 2023 Panini Revolution WWE product (eBay search) which marks the 1st year of WWE kaboom cards hitting the market. Happy collecting!

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