The 1993-94 Ultra Scoring Kings inserts, an insert that used to be more or less overlooked, have recently risen to the top of many collectors wish lists. This instantly recognizable insert with a flash of lighting in the background features Jordan, Shaq, Barkley, and seven other players from the early 90s.
The cards were inserted in one out of every 36 packs on average, so they are rare, but not impossibly so. Still, finding the Jordan and Shaq cards can be a challenge, and the top graded copies of these card can set buyers back thousands of dollars.
Below I’ve covered all players featured in the Ultra Scoring Kings set, I touch on the logic of why they were included in the set, highlight some recent graded and ungraded sales, and take a look back to what these cards were selling for roughly a year ago, assuming there’s enough sales data.
Lets check out these (dare I say iconic) basketball cards from ’93-94 Ultra.
Scoring Kings #1: Charles Barkley
The first 1993-94 Fleer Ultra Scoring Kings insert card features ‘the round mound of rebound’ himself; Sir Charles Barkley. All of the 1993-94 Fleer Ultra Scoring Kings cards feature the same lightning bolt background and have the same “Scoring Kings” icon in the bottom right (but the Dumars card breaks the trend with the icon on the bottom left).
The one main issue I have with these cards is just how dark they are, which detracts slightly from the overall appeal (especially when players are wearing their away uniforms), but all in all these are still awesome early 90s insert cards.
The shot of Barkley is a decent close up of Chuck sporting the deep purple Phoenix Suns away uniform. Logically it makes sense for Sir Charles to be included in this set, as he held the 5th spot in terms of points per game in the 1992-93 season for scoring, as you can see in the table below.
The back of the Barkley Scoring Kings card reads: “The Suns acquired Barkley not only for offense but for rebounding and leadership, too. He delivered in every respect during the 1992-93 season, especially in scoring as he posted the fourth-highest average (25.6 points per game) of his career. In the Playoffs, Barkley rallied the Suns from a 2-0 deficit to a victory over the Lakers in the first round en route to the NBA Finals.”
Ungraded copies of this card will typically sell for between $20 and $35, and you should be able to find a copy in good condition within that range. However, I was bidding on a high quality Barkley and it sold for $51, so these may be creeping up in value with collectors.
According to the PSA website, there are 73 graded copies of this card, of which 25 have received a PSA 9 and 7 have been given perfect GEM Mint PSA 10 grades.
The most recent sale of a PSA 9 occurred in April, 2021, selling for $264. Going back to April, 2020 there were two PSA 9 sales, one selling for $299 and the other selling for just $73. If we take the average of the two sales ($186) and assume $264 is a fair present day price, then PSA 9 copies of this card are up roughly 40% in a year.
The PSA site only has two PSA 10 transactions, the first was a sale back in June, 2018 when a GEM Mint copy sold for $212. The other sale was recorded in July, 2020 when a GEM Mint copy sold for $425, almost exactly double what it sold for just two years earlier.
Scoring Kings #2: Joe Dumars
The second card in the set features Detroit Pistons’ Hall of Fame guard Joe Dumars. The lighting and the close up shot make this one of the stronger looking cards in the set, and this one is unique because it is the only one in the set with the ‘Scoring Kings’ icon on the bottom left hand side of the card.
However, Dumars isn’t nearly as recognizable a player as many others featured in this insert set (like Barkley, Shaq, and Jordan) so this card is fairly easy to pick up for $15-$25. Also, like Barkley, it makes perfect sense for Dumars to be in this Scoring Kings set, since he was firmly in the top 10 in scoring during the 1992-93 season averaging 23.5 a game.
The back of the Dumars card reads: “For much of his NBA career, Dumars’ offensive talents were only displayed when needed. He was named the 1989 NBA Finals MVP after he stepped up to provide the offense the defense-minded Pistons needed to win the NBA Championship. But Detroit has called upon Dumars to deliver more and more offense in recent seasons, and he has responded by leading the Pistons in scoring average three consecutive seasons (1991-93).”
There are only 38 PSA graded copies of the Dumars Scoring Kings card, making it the second to least common card to find graded. Among those 38 graded cards, 12 have received a PSA 9 grade and 5 have been granted GEM Mint PSA 10 status.
With so few graded cards there isn’t much sales history. The most recent PSA 9 copy of this card sold on May 21, 2021 for $150. Back in July, 2020 a PSA 9 sold for $44, and in February 2020 (right before the “Covid card craze”) a PSA 9 sold for just $16.
There is only a single recorded PSA 10 sale listed on the PSA site, and it sold for an impressive $383 back in January 2019.
Scoring Kings #3: Patrick Ewing
I’m not sure how to explain it, but I’ve always really liked Patrick Ewing and credit one particular Ewing card for getting me into the hobby in the first place. Anyway, I’m glad to see Ewing featured as the third card in this insert set, and he certainly deserves the spot, averaging just over 24 points per game in 1992-93.
The photo of Ewing used for this card shows Ewing mid-shot wearing the classic all-white Knicks home jersey. The white home jersey really pops against the dark background and the contrast makes for a fantastic looking Ewing card.
The back of this Ewing Scoring Kings card reads: “Just as the Lakers’ half-court offense used to revolve around Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Knicks, under the direction of Pat Riley, have built their half-court offense around a dominating center. Ewing is the Knicks’ go-to guy, which is ironic considering the doubts about his offense abilities when he first joined the NBA. But in the pros, he has never posted a season average below 20 points per game.”
That last sentence is pretty remarkable, as Ewing would continue posting 20+ point per game seasons until the 1998-99 season, when he got hit with the injury bug and started winding down his career.
Ungraded copies of this Ewing card typically sell in the $10-$20 range, but graded copies will sell for much higher. According to PSA’s website, there are 57 graded copies of the Patrick Ewing Ultra Scoring Kings card. Of those 57 graded cards, 19 were graded a PSA 9 and 10 were graded GEM Mint PSA 10.
The PSA 9 Ewing Scoring Kings cards have been steadily rising for the last few years. The most recent PSA 9 sale went for $175 back in February, 2021. Going back to February, 2020 a PSA 9 sold for just $42.
Much like the PSA 9s, the GEM Mint PSA 10 Ewing Scoring Kings cards have also been steadily increasing in value, without ever seeing a dip (at least going back to 2017). The most recent PSA 10 card sold in December, 2020 for $375. Going back to July of 2020 these PSA 10s were selling for $200, and in July of 2019 a PSA 10 sold for $109.
Scoring Kings #4: Larry Johnson
The fourth card in this ’93-94 Fleer Ultra insert set features Charlotte Hornets power forward Larry Johnson. The Johnson card is a bit unique, because it is one of four not to feature a full-body shot. Instead, with LJ, they zoomed in on him mid-shot and only show him from the bottom of his shorts to the top of his release. Like the Ewing card, the photo of Johnson shows him wearing the Hornets home white uniform, so the picture of Johnson really pops.
The back of the Johnson Scoring Kings card reads: “NBA teams have had great difficulty slowing Johnson during his first two seasons. He is so strong and so determined that it is difficult to deny him the ball, must less stop him once he has it. He averaged 19.2 points per game en route to winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award for 1991-92, but he was just warming up. He scored 22.1 points per game in 1992-93, shooting 52.6 percent from the field.”
This card is the first on the list that I take minor issue with in terms of why it was included. Larry Johnson was an instant impact type player for the Hornets in his rookie season, and he made a strong showing in his sophomore year, nearly breaking into the top 10 for points per game in the 1992-93 season, but he didn’t quite make it and landed in the 12th spot.
Perhaps Fleer felt he had more name recognition than Danny Manning (10th) or Dražen Petrović (11th), or maybe the feeling at the time was LJ’s future was much brighter than either Manning’s or Petrović’s. In either case, I question Johnson’s inclusion in this set.
Like the Ewing card, the typical selling price for ungraded copies of the Larry Johnson Scoring Kings card will be between $10-$20. There are only 38 PSA graded copies of the Johnson card, and among those 14 were graded a PSA 9 and seven were graded a PSA 10.
There is only one sales transaction for a PSA 9 copy of this card, and that sale took place on January 7, 2021, selling for $184. There are four PSA 10 transactions listed on PSA’s site, with the most recent selling for $350 in mid-December, 2020. Back in 2019 this PSA 10 graded card sold for $154 in April and $96 in August, so even if we take the higher of the two prices this card has more than doubled in a little over a year.
Scoring Kings #5: Michael Jordan
The Scoring Kings card that nearly every 90s basketball card collector wants is the fifth in the set featuring none other than the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan. All in all its a very strong full body shot of MJ looking like he just released the ball after a fade away shot. This is one of the cleanest front-of-the-jersey shots I’ve seen on any insert, and the red from the Bulls away uniform stands out very well, despite the dark background.
The back of the Jordan Scoring Kings card reads: “Jordan’s average point total would be a career-high for most players. When the situation dictates, he can turn his game up a notch and put up some unbelievable numbers, reminding us that he is truly on another level. Many times during the 1992-93 regular season and NBA playoffs, Jordan elevated his game to a level only he can reach to keep the Bulls on track to their third straight NBA championship.”
Absolutely no question the Jordan card should be included in this set, as he was the Scoring King in the 1992-93 NBA season, averaging 32.6 points per game. Michael Jordan had 8 seasons where he averages 30 or more points per game, making him the ultimate Scoring King.
The only other player in NBA history to record 5 or more seasons averaging 30+ points per game was Wilt Chamberlain, who put up absolutely insane numbers back in the 1960’s, including a 50 point per game season in 1961-62.
Ungraded copies of the Jordan Scoring Kings card in good condition have been recently selling in the $500-$750 range. I had been bidding on a few for around $500 but keep getting outbid.
This is by far the most graded Scoring Kings card, with over 1,000 PSA graded copies. Among those, 211 have been graded a PSA 9 and only 97 have been given a GEM Mint PSA 10 grade.
The PSA website has tons of price history for this Jordan card, and the most recent sales for PSA 9 graded copies have been selling for roughly $2,100. The PSA 9s did balloon up in value in late February and early March, selling at one point for as much as $6K. But back in June of 2020, PSA 9s were selling between $1,100 and $1,400.
With fewer than 100 PSA 10 copies of this card, the costs are prohibitive for most collectors out there, but if you already own a very high quality copy of this card it is certainly worth sending in to be graded.
The most recent sale of a PSA 10 Jordan Scoring Kings card sold on June 20, 2021 for $18.5K. The peak sales price for a PSA 10 was on May 5, 2021 when a copy sold for $29.6K! And looking back to June of 2020, this card was far more affordable, selling in a range of $3,400 to $4,400. The graph below shows just how much this card has climbed going back to May of 2019.
Scoring Kings #6: Karl Malone
The Mailman is featured with the sixth card in this set, and rightfully so. Karl Malone, who is the second all time scorer in the NBA (roughly 1,500 shy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who holds the top spot), is captured dribbling the ball wearing the Utah Jazz white home uniform, and its one heck of an image of Malone. What gets me about this shot of Malone is just how ripped he looks, with veins bulging from his neck as he drives with the basketball.
The back of the Malone Scoring Kings card reads: “Malone averaged 27.0 points per game during the 1992-93 season, providing Utah with more than a quarter of its points. The Jazz are used to relying on him, and he is used to carrying the scoring load. The situation will continue until Utah’s opponents figure out a way to stop him, which, as his career average 26.1 points per game attests, they have yet to do.”
There is no question that Malone deserves a spot in this Scoring Kings set, given he dropped an average of 27 points per game in the 92-93 NBA season, good enough for 3rd best that year.
Ungraded Malone Scoring Kings cards typically sell between $15-$35, but its not too uncommon to see them sell for a bit more or less depending on the condition. According to the PSA website, there are 41 graded Malone cards. Among the graded copies, there are 20 PSA 9s and just 5 GEM Mint PSA 10s.
There is a fair amount of sales history for PSA 9 graded copies of this Malone card. The most recent sale of a PSA 9 went for $91 back on April 28, 2021. Interestingly, roughly a year ago there were two PSA 9 sales in May, 2020 that each sold for $125. It doesn’t feel right that this PSA 9 graded card would be down over the course of this blowout year for basketball cards, but this may be a card to watch a high graded copy for cheap.
There are only two PSA 10 sales, with the most recent selling in July, 2020 for $395. Prior to that, the only other sale was back in June, 2018 and sold for $255. Since there are only 5 graded copies of this card, I expect the GEM Mint PSA 10 sales to rise above $400 and stay at those levels, barring any career damaging news stories.
Scoring Kings #7: Alonzo Mourning
The seventh card in this set features Hornets center Alonzo Mourning, and to me this one is a bit of a head scratcher. Don’t get me wrong, Mourning was a fantastic player and did land in the top 10 for points per game in the 1995-96 season, but he was down at 15th for the 1992-93 season, plus Ultra already incorporated a Hornet into this set, so I’m not sure why they chose to also include Zo with the 7th spot.
However, I will say the shot of Mourning releasing the ball high above a defender is pretty fantastic. The lightning behind him really shines bright on this card, and I like that they used a photo of Mourning in the Hornets teal away uniforms, since they already have Larry Johnson sporting the white home jerseys. This card is also only one of three Scoring Kings cards that also captures a defensive player on the card, but the player d’ed up on Mourning is unidentifiable.
The back of the Mourning Scoring Kings card reads: “The Hornets expected Mourning to provide defense and rebounding in his first season, which he did. But he also provided a pleasant surprise of 21.0 points per game, the second-highest average on the team and second only to Shaquille O’Neal among NBA rookies, and an impressive .511 field-goal percentage. He also proved adept at making it to the free-throw line, leading the hornets in free throw attempts made (495) and attempts (634).”
Mourning was a defensive beast, and averaged 3.5 blocks and 10.3 rebounds per game to go along with those 21 points during his rookie season. But oddly enough, Mourning’s best season for free throw percentage was his rookie year, when he shot 78% from the stripe, and only averaged 69% from the line by the end of his career.
Ungraded copies of the Mourning card typically sell in the $15-$25 range, but can certainly sell for outside that range depending on condition. According to the PSA website, there are 45 graded copies of this card. Of those 45 graded copies, 18 are PSA 9s and 10 (over 20%) are GEM Mint PSA 10 graded copies.
Unfortunately there isn’t a ton of data for recent graded sales history for this Mourning card. The most recent PSA 9 card sold back in February, 2021 for $160. And if we go back roughly a year to March, 2020 there was a PSA 9 copy that sold for just $44, so the PSA 9s are up nicely in just shy of a year.
There are only 4 PSA 10 sales listed on the PSA website, and it looks as if the PSA 10s are on a nice steady climb. The most recent GEM Mint PSA 10 sold in April, 2021 for $515. The only sale in 2020 occurred in July, and sold for $285. The other two PSA 10 sales were both back in 2018, with one in June selling for $78 and one in October selling for $89.
Scoring Kings #8: Shaquille O’Neal
Easily the second most popular card in this 10-card insert set is card #8 featuring Shaquille O’Neal. The Shaq Scoring Kings card is a very nice shot of Shaq just after he released what I would ques was a low post shot over Boston Celtic’s center Joe Kleine.
Although I’m a Celtics fan, I wish this card only featured Shaq, much like the Jordan card, but its still a fantastic shot of Shaq in his pinstripe Orlando Magic white home uniform.
The back of the Shaq Scoring Kings card reads: “O’Neal ranked eighth in the NBA and led all rookies in scoring with a per-game average of 23.4 points in 1992-93. That average is impressive, but it is just the beginning. As O’Neal gains more experience, as he improves his free-throw shooting, as Orlando continues to improve, that figure will only go up – a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.”
No question that Shaq belongs in this set, since he was in the top 10 for points per game in the 1992-93 season, with an average of 23.4 points. Unlike Jordan, Shaq would never have a 30+ points per game season, but came very close three times. In his 2nd year in the NBA he would rank 2nd in points per game, with an average of 29.3. During the 1994-95 season he led the league in points per game, again with 29.3.
Shaq’s best season points-wise came in the 1999-2000 season (his 4th season in LA) when he average 29.7 points per game, along with 13.5 rebounds per game (his career high) and 3.0 blocks per game (2nd highest in his career). That same season Shaq would help the LA Lakers win their 12th NBA Championship, as well as being honored both the league and Finals MVP.
Ungraded copies of the Shaq Scoring Kings card will generally sell for as low as $30 and as high as $90, depending on condition. With this being the second most popular card in this insert set, it is also the second most graded card in the set, with just shy of 200 graded copies. Of those graded copies, 61 are graded a PSA 9, while only 12 were given a grade of GEM Mint PSA 10.
The most recent PSA 9 sale took place on June 20, 2021 and sold for $354, which is nearly 50% off from its peak sale back in February, when three cards sold for over $600. However, going back to late spring of 2020, this PSA 9 Shaq card was selling in a range of $250 – $350, so its either up or essentially flat, depending on how you want to look at it.
The story is a little different for the GEM Mint PSA 10 copies of this card. The most recent sale of a PSA 10 copy sold on April 1, 2021 for $3,050, which is also down from its March peak, when a PSA 10 sold for $4,000.
However, going back to early 2020, there was a sale in January 2020 that sold for just $428 (granted, that was just before the Covid closedown and subsequent card craze). But in any case, this card looks to be selling for roughly 7-times what it was selling for about a year ago.
Scoring Kings #9: David Robinson
One of the most underappreciated centers of all time gets the 9th spot on this list, and I’m referring to none other than Spurs great, David Robinson. No doubt Robinson (aka The Admiral) deserves a spot in this insert set, as he was tied with Shaq for that 8th/9th spot for points per game in the 1992-93 season, averaging 23.4 points. Robinson would actually lead the league in points per game the following season, averaging just shy of 30 per game (29.8).
Visually, I think this one is my favorite card in the set. I find this to be the best photo of the bunch, featuring Robinson in the white Spurs uniform against the dark backdrop which look awesome, and everything just works with this card.
The back of the Robinson Scoring King card reads: “Despite playing in every game, despite playing a lot of minutes, Robinson just kept putting the ball in the hoop for San Antonio in 1992-93. He led the Spurs with a 23.4 PPG average, pacing the team in scoring in 44-of-82 games. In a game against the Hornets and their front line of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson, Robinson exploded for a career-high 52 points. He also set a career Playoff high with 36 points against Phoenix.”
Like most of the other cards in this set, this ungraded card can be purchased for between $15-$35 at auction. There are 48 graded copies of this card, with 12 receiving a PSA 9 grade, and only 6 getting a top GEM Mint PSA 10 grade.
The most recent PSA 9 copy of this card sold back in February, 2021 for $199. Back in May, 2020 there were two copies of this card sold within one day of each other, with one selling for $120 and the other going for $125. Going back to May 2019 this card was selling for only $31.
As for the GEM Mint PSA 10 copies, there have only been two sales recorded on the PSA site, and both sales were within $5 of each other. One PSA 10 sold back in July, 2020 for $760. The other, which sold in November 2020, went for $765, meaning the price trends for this card are flat. But if you look at the graph on the PSA site, it looks like this card is trending up but the chart is visually misleading.
As you can see, the Y-axis starts at $759 and goes up to $766 making sales look like they are on a strong incline, which is incorrect. This leads me to my friendly public service announcement (the other type of PSA) to always double check the Y-axis.
Scoring Kings #10: Dominique Wilkins
The 10th and final card in this beautiful 1993 Ultra insert set features the high flying Hawks forward, Dominique Wilkins. Without question Wilkins deserves a spot in this Scoring Kings roster, as he was just behind Jordan in the 1992-93 season for points per game, dropping just shy of 30 points per game (29.9).
The 1992-93 season was Wilkin’s 3rd best season in terms of points per game. Wilkins led the league in points per game in the 1985-86 season when he averaged 30.3, and his best season came in 1987-88 when he averaged 30.7 to beat out Larry Bird for the #2 spot that year (Bird had 29.9 PPG), but trailing well behind Jordan who had a monster season, averaging 35.0 points per game!
The Wilkins Scoring Kings card is pretty interesting, in that the photo of Wilkins is clearly capturing him while he is getting fouled by a Chicago Bull. This card is the also unique since it nearly captures full body shots of both Wilkins and the defender. Sneakerheads may also appreciate this card because I believe Wilkins is sporting the very popular at the time Reebok pumps, featuring the pump-able basketball on the tongue of the shoe.
The back of the Wilkins card reads: “Would he ever be the same after the injury? That question dogged Wilkins before the 1992-93 season, but he quickly answered it with a brilliant effort. Wilkins, who turned 33 during the season, averaged 29.9 points per game, the third-best mark of his career. Park of his success can be attributed to his emphasis on three-point shots: Wilkins had a team and career-high 120 three-pointers.”
That final sentence on the back of this card shows just how much the game has changed in nearly 30 years. Wilkins barely led the 1992-93 Hawks in 3 pointers made, with Mookie Blaylock just two made threes behind him, but the next closest player on the team (Paul Graham) only hit 42 over the course of 80 games.
To put things in context, if we were to take Wilkins’ 120 three-pointers (over 71 games) and apply it to the 2020-21 Hawks team, he wouldn’t even be in the top three on the team for three’s, and 2020-21 was a shorter than average season. Wilkins would have been out gunned with the long ball by Bogdan Bogdanović (146 in just 44 games), Kevin Huerter (140 in 69 games), and Trae Young (136 in 63 games).
I digress. The prices for ungraded copies of this card are very affordable, with sales sometimes as low as $9 and typically not selling for over $25. This is the least commonly graded card in this set, with only 36 graded copies. Of those, 10 have been graded a PSA 9 and only 5 have received a GEM Mint PSA 10 grade.
There is very little sales history listed on the PSA website, but the most recent PSA 9 sold just a few days ago on June 23, 2021 for $200. Going back to May, 2020 a PSA 9 copy of this card sold for $100, so this card has doubled in just over a year.
Its been nearly a year since a PSA 10 copy of this card has sold, according to the PSA website. Back in July, 2020 a GEM Mint PSA 10 copy of this card sold for $240. Prior to that sale, the highest price anyone paid for a PSA 10 was $140 back in January, 2019. I’d suspect that any PSA 10 sale today would fetch close to or over $500.
With the Jordan card from this set being so iconic and highly sought after, I think all the other cards in this set will benefit. Although the Jordan card and a few others have pulled back from all-time highs, I think all the cards from this set will be great collectors items going forward and I expect them to recover in price and push well past their all time highs in the years to come.
Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below and feel free to suggest another insert set you’d like to see reviewed. Cheers!