Last Updated On: December 10th, 2023
By and large, a sports card is the place for a player to shine. Regardless of rank, status, years active, past, future, or potential, if one makes it to the league, they get a card. But for the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers Card, that’s not quite the case.
And in theory, the value behind Mark Jackson’s 1993 NBA Hoops #205 is driven by a recent All-Star playing for the Knicks in one of the largest media markets in the world. But in reality, the card comes from two men soaking in the action courtside: Lyle and Erik Menendez.
Three years after Jackson’s 1993 Hoops card debuted, the Menendez Brothers would be found guilty of murdering their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion.
This article will take readers through Mark Jackson’s NBA and post-hoops career in the broadcast booth, examine his most important and valuable cards and where to purchase them, then explore the Menendez Brothers and how their appearance on Jackson’s card has added more (if not slightly morbid) value to the player’s card, and finally finish up by noting a few other quirky cards in the hobby.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Who is Mark Jackson?
Mark Jackson – or “Action Jackson” as he was sometimes known during his playing days – was drafted into the NBA during the 1987 draft. Jackson appeared prime for a studded career after winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1988 and earning his first (and only) All-Star nod as a sophomore.
Unfortunately, Jackson wasn’t able to maintain his strong 16.9 point, 8.6 assist output for the duration of his 17-season career. But Jackson did manage to hang with some of the greats of his day: in 1997, he finished ahead of future Hall of Fame passers Jason Kidd and John Stockton in total assists (935) and assists per game (11.3). Those numbers aren’t an aberration. Jackson retired with the second-most assists in NBA history, trailing only Stockton. Since then, however, he’s fallen to sixth, behind LeBron James, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Jason Kidd.
Jackson was also the model of health of availability. He missed just 24 games over his first 13 seasons, a shockingly low figure given the direction the league has gone over the past few seasons (for context, LeBron James missed 27 games in the 2022-23 season alone).
In 2004, after 17 seasons and seven different jerseys hanging on the mantle, Jackson hung up his high tops and retired.
Is Mark Jackson in the Hall of Fame?
Mark Jackson is not in the Hall of Fame. He’s been Hall of Fame eligible since 2010 and Basketball Reference currently has him 26th on its Hall of Fame big board, which is organized by career win-shares (Jackson finished with 91.8). At this point, Jackson’s candidacy is a long-shot.
NBA TV Analyst
But Jackson has maintained a presence in basketball through his post-playing career in broadcasting. Between 2007 and 2011, Jackson served as a basketball commentator for ESPN and ABC. In 2011, he took a job head coaching the Golden State Warriors.
After being dismissed by the Warriors in 2014, Jackson returned to the broadcast booth, serving as part of ESPN and ABC’s lead hoops broadcast team with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. Despite interviewing for a few open coaching jobs since then, Jackson is still a broadcaster.
Mark Jackson’s Most Important Basketball Cards
For most pro athletes, a rookie card is about as valuable as any featuring their likeness. Other valuable cards might come on significant anniversary, in the aftermath of a championship, or even a Hall of Fame induction.
But that’s not quite the case for Mark Jackson. Mark Jackson’s Fleer rookie card might have come out after the draft in ‘87, but the Mark Jackson basketball card that carries the most value, a 1990 NBA Hoops card, has absolutely nothing to do with his on-the-court performance or status in the league that year.
Mark Jackson Fleer Rookie Card
For collectors and Knicks fans, the Mark Jackson rookie card is a 1988 Fleer #82. PSA has graded 683 Mark Jackson rookie cards, with only around 15% earning a PSA 10 Gem Mint grade.
The 1988 Fleer set featured a host of future NBA greats as rookies. That includes Scottie Pippen (#20), Reggie Miller (#57), John Stockton (#115), Horace Grant (#16), and Dennis Rodman (#43). Of those, the most valuable is Pippen’s, which carries an average price of around $2,000 for a PSA 10 Gem Mint graded card.
What’s the value of Mark Jackson’s Rookie Card?
Given his slightly-above average status in the league, a Mark Jackson rookie card carries decent value in Gem Mint PSA 10 condition, going between $90 and $127.50 in recent auctions, according to PSA.
But because Jackson isn’t a superstar, the price of his rookie card drops off considerably after that, with the average price of a PSA 9 Jackson rookie card being around $15.
Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers Card
If Mark Jackson’s rookie card isn’t the most valuable, then what is? Look no further than Mark Jackson’s 1990 #205 NBA Hoops card, which features the infamous Menendez Brothers courtside at a Knicks game, watching Jackson in action, otherwise known as the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers card. There have been around 4,500 #205s graded by PSA, with less than 3% earning a Gem Mint PSA 10 grade, making it exceptionally rare.
Of course, the number of graded cards suggests just how important the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers card is to the hobby. The vast majority of players do not see many sports cards outside of their rookie ones earning many PSA grades. But the fact that PSA has graded nearly 4,500 cards from a guard who, at the time, was putting up fewer than nine points per game suggests something else is afoot here.
And indeed something else is going on. The value of the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers card derives almost solely from the Menendez Brothers sitting courtside in the card’s background. By all indications, the brothers’ appearance on Mark Jackson’s card is pure coincidence, and a ghoulish one at that. That this wasn’t some twisted scheme to drum up interest in the card (or player) also likely helped to drive up its value.
What’s the value of the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers card?
But what exactly is the Mark Jackson NBA Hoops card worth? Shockingly, the card is worth almost twice as much in Gem Mint than the Mark Jackson Fleer rookie. A PSA 10 carries an average price of $210, with recent sales topping $280. Once again, though, Jackson’s status in the league doesn’t allow the lesser-graded cards to carry much value; a PSA 9 typically goes for only $36.
Where to buy the Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers Card
The Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers Hoops 1990 card can be found on eBay at the link below. We have also included some of the other cards mentioned throughout this post:
- 1990 NBA Hoops Mark Jackson Menendez Brothers Card (search eBay here)
- 1988 Fleer Mark Jackson Rookie Card (search eBay here)
- 2007 Topps Derek Jeter w/ President Bush & Mickey Mantle (search eBay here)
- 1988 Fleer Scottie Pippen Rookie Card (search eBay here)
- 2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Kim Kardashian Wedding Menu (search eBay here)
Menendez Brothers Murder Case
By this point, we’ve been throwing around the names “Menendez Brothers” around a bit much. But who exactly are Erik and Lyle Menendez?
The two brothers gained notoriety in 1987 after their parents were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion. The brothers’ father, José, was a music executive with RCA Records and the family lived in extreme wealth. When police arrived at the scene of the murder, the two brothers explained to police that they had gone to see the newly released Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
Slowly, that story was untangled by investigators. It culminated in the release of a tape between Erik and his psychologist in which the former admitted to killing his parents with his brother. Their arrest didn’t take place until 1990 – after the Brothers attended a particular Knicks game courtside.
The story took the nation by storm, with much of the attention focused on the Brothers’ alleged financial motive behind the killings. The brothers didn’t deny that they killed their parents, but rather than money, the motivation was apparently self defense: both claimed to have been sexually assaulted by their father as kids.
While the two were tried separately at first (both resulted in deadlocked juries and, by extension, mistrials), a single jury found the pair guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Recent Developments in 2023
The Menendez Brothers and their case have recently come under new scrutiny. A series of documentary films recently released, including Peacock’s Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed, alleges that José Menendez assaulted not only the brothers, but his RCA clients as well.
In addition, Menendez’s lawyers submitted a recent petition to the court attached with new evidence supporting their defense: a letter from Erik to his cousin eight months before the murder that discusses the abuse suffered by the boys’ father.
Other Quirky Cards in the Card Hobby
The Menendez Brothers aren’t the only celebrities to appear in the background of a sports card, though they might be the most macabre. For instance, actor and hip-hop star Drake can be spotted sitting courtside and taking in a vicious Pascal Siakam dunk in the player’s 2018 #56 NBA Hoops card.
While Drake’s appearance is pure coincidence, that same can’t be said for Derek Jeter’s 2007 Topps #40. That’s because Topps photoshopped then-President George Bush into the stands and Yankees legend Mickey Mantle in the dugout. The gimmick elevated an otherwise innocuous superstar’s card into a quirky collectible.
And still other cards from notable sports cards brands have nothing to do with an athlete, but everything to do with celebrity.
That includes #OR-KHW from Alan and Ginter, a company with roots in sports card production as far back as the 19th century. But #OR-KHW has little to do with a sports star; rather, it features the wedding menu from Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian’s wedding in 2011. In a twist, the card came out in 2013, well after the couple called it quits on their 72-day marriage.
Mark Jackson’s Menendez Brothers card is a lesson that, for some select few sports cards, their values aren’t connected to a player’s status as rookie or superstar. In fact, it’s possible that such a card could be more valuable than a player’s rookie card.
It’s almost as if NBA Hoops was privy to this and deliberate in including the Jackson card as a marketing stunt. Because that same year, Hoops would include a second strange card in its set: A relatively unknown player’s card, Sam Vincent, would benefit from a photo including him and Michael Jordan in the same shot, with the latter wearing a Chicago Bulls #12 Jersey in a night he’d drop a cool 49 points in Orlando.
Finally, be it basketball disciples, true crime fanatics, or celebrity addicts, there’s room in the hobby for everyone.