1986 Fleer Basketball

After the 1981 Topps set, there weren’t any major basketball releases for a couple of years. Some smaller issues such as the 1984-85 Star set were produced, however, no major basketball card sets were released until the 1986 Fleer.

This release is the most iconic basketball set of all time. It’s renowned in the hobby not only because of the rookies but also because of the design.

The 1986 Fleer cards have a red, white, and blue border around the outside of the card. Very Patriotic!

An action shot is in the middle with yellow borders directly surrounding the picture. The name of the player is bolded. Below the player name is the team name and position of the player. 

With regards to the rookie cards, there are lots of Hall-of-Famers that make their debut in this set. Some of which include Chris Mullin, Isaiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Hakeem Oloajuan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and last but certainly not least: Michael Jordan.

Please note, some of the above players do have prior year cards with Star and Prism Jewel. The Hobby debates whether these cards are considered true rookie cards or XRCs.

Key Cards

Michael Jordan #57

Jordan is considered by many to be the best basketball player of all-time. He was drafted into the NBA in 1984, however some consider this to be his rookie card because it’s the first Michael Jordan card in a full flagship set.

Jordan shined as an all-star when he entered the league. He took a lackluster Bulls team from the bottom of the league to NBA champions.

Jordan has many insane accolades including being a 6x NBA champ, 5x MVP, 10x scoring champ, rookie of the year, and defensive player of the year.  Crazy how he accomplished almost everything amazing a player would ever dream of during his career.

Akeem Olajuwon #82

Akeem (sometimes spelled Hakeem) Olajuwon was one of the best centers of all-time. He was dubbed “The Dream” for his ability to make crafty moves in the post. Olajuwon was a 2x NBA champ, 2x Defensive player of the year, and the MVP of the 1993-94 season. 

It’s known that some current NBA players still go to Akeem for advice on how to make their game better.

Charles Barkley #7

Barkley was a unique power forward. This is due to him standing at only 6’ 6” which might seem tall until you compare him with other power forwards who are 6”8”- 6’10”. Nonetheless, Barkley held his own and was a force to be reckoned with. He averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds for his entire 16 year career.     You can easily find Barkely on TNT as an NBA commentator.

Chris Mullin #77

Chris Mullin was a shooting guard and small forward for the Golden State Warriors. He was a 5x all-star, known for his ability to shoot from range, and a member of the infamous 1992 Dream Team (along with many others mentioned in this article). Mullin averaged 18 points per game and played most of his 13 year career with the Golden State Warriors.

Isaiah Thomas #109

Isaiah Thomas is known as one of the best point guards of all-time. He played on the Pistons during the 80s which were known as the “Bad Boys” because of their rough style of play. Thomas averaged 19 points and 9 assists a game (almost a double double). He also has an impressive resume which includes 2 NBA championships, the 1984-85 assist champ, and the 1989-90 Finals MVP.

After his playing career, Isaiah Thomas became a sports analyst that you can find on NBA TV.

Patrick Ewing #32

Patrick Ewing was one of the premier centers during the 1980s and early 90s. He averaged 21 points and almost 10 rebounds a game. Ewing played for the Knicks for the first 13 seasons of his 15 year career. He is known as one of the best Knicks players of all-time despite not winning an NBA championship during his career.

Dominique Wilkins #121

Dominique Wilkins was dubbed “the human highlight reel” for his insane dunks and acrobatic style of play. He also famously faced Jordan in the dunk contest numerous times and was his top rival for this event. Along with his flashy play style, Wilkins was also a great player who averaged 24 points per game. Like Ewing, Wilkins did not win an NBA championship in his career.

Johnny Moore #76

One important aspect for collectors to note is that certain cards in this set can be condition sensitive and because of that, worth lots of money. For example, a Johnny Moore 1986 Fleer card in a PSA 10 recently sold for north of six figures (as of writing this). 

Crazy to think that an average player’s card could sell for those numbers.

Set Information

This set contains 132 cards and 11 sticker cards. One new aspect of this set is the concept of these “sticker cards”. These types of cards were introduced to basketball  in this set. They were meant to be stickers that peeled off the card. 

The 1986 Fleer sticker cards have a white background with a yellow banner that contains the name, position, and team. One sticker card comes in each 1986 Fleer pack. Due to the 86 Fleer sticker cards having a sticker aspect, it’s difficult to get extremely high grades. For example, there are only  121 PSA 10s.

All of the 86 fleer cards are normal sized. One interesting distinction between the normal cards and the sticker cards are the backs. 

Although the backs are colored the same (red and white), there is different text on the two cards. The normal cards have basketball stats on the back whereas the sticker cards have a description of the player on the back.

1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

2 Alvan Adams

3 Mark Aguirre 

4 Danny Ainge 

5 John Bagley

6 Thurl Bailey

7 Charles Barkley

8 Benoit Benjamin

9 Larry Bird

10 Otis Birdsong

11 Rolando Blackman

12 Manute Bol

13 Sam Bowie

14 Joe Barry Carroll

15 Tom Chambers

16 Maurice Cheeks

17 Michael Cooper

18 Wayne Cooper

19 Pat Cummings

20 Terry Cummings

21 Adrian Dantley 

22 Brad Davis

23 Walter Davis

24 Darryl Dawkins 

25 Larry Drew 

26 Clyde Drexler 

27 Joe Dumars 

28 Mark Eaton 

29 James Edwards

30 Alex English

31 Julius Erving

32 Patrick Ewing

33 Vern Fleming

34 Sleepy Floyd 

35 World B. Free

36 George Gervin

37 Artis Gilmore

38 Mike Gminski

39 Rickey Green 

40 Sidney Green

41 David Greenwood

42 Darrell Griffith

43 Bill Hanzlik

44 Derek Harper

45 Gerald Henderson

46 Roy Hinson

47 Craig Hodges

48 Phil Hubbard

49 Jay Humphries

50 Dennis Johnson

51 Eddie Johnson

52 Frank Johnson 

53 Magic Johnson 

54 Marques Johnson

55 Steve Johnson 

56 Vinnie Johnson

57 Michael Jordan

58 Clark Kellogg

59 Albert King

60 Bernard King 

61 Bill Laimbeer 

62 Allen Leavell

63 Lafayette Lever 

64 Alton Lister 

65 Lewis Lloyd 

66 Maurice Lucas 

67 Jeff Malone

68 Karl Malone

69 Moses Malone

70 Cedric Maxwell

71 Rodney McCray

72 Xavier McDaniel

73 Kevin McHale 

74 Mike Mitchell 

75 Sidney Moncrief

76 Johnny Moore

77 Chris Mullin

78 Larry Nance  

79 Calvin Natt 

80 Norm Nixon

81 Charles Oakley

82 Akeem Olajuwon

83 Louis Orr

84 Robert Parish

85 Jim Paxson

86 Sam Perkins

87 Ricky Piee

88 Paul Pressey 

89 Kurt Rambis

90 Robert Reid

91 Doc Rivers  

92 Alvin Robertson

93 Cliff Robinson 

94 Tree Rollins 

95 Dan Roundfield 

96 Jeff Ruland

97 Ralph Sampson

98 Danny Schayes 

99 Byron Scott 

100 Purvis Short 

101 Jerry Sichting – Boston Celtics

102 Jack Sikma 

103 Derek Smith

104 Larry Smith 

105 Rory Sparrow 

106 Steve Stipanovich

107 Terry Teagle 

108 Reggie Theus 

109 Isiah Thomas 

110 LaSalle Thompson 

111 Mychal Thompson 

112 Sedale Threatt 

113 Wayman Tisdale 

114 Andrew Toney 

115 Kelly Tripucka 

116 Mel Turpin

117 Kiki Vandeweghe 

118 Jay Vincent 

119 Bill Walton 

120 Spud Webb 

121 Dominique Wilkins 

122 Gerald Wilkins 

123 Buck Williams 

124 Gus Williams 

125 Herb Williams 

126 Kevin Willis 

127 Randy Wittman 

128 Al Wood 

129 Mike Woodson

130 Orlando Woolridge 

131 James Worthy 

132 Checklist

Sticker Set Checklist

1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

2 Larry Bird

3 Adrian Dantley

4 Alex English

5 Julius Erving

6 Patrick Ewing

7 Magic Johnson

8 Michael Jordan

9 Akeem Olajuwon

10 Isiah Thomas

11 Dominique Wilkins

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