CSG's First Card Graded Is a Phenomenal Topps Chrome Refractor LeBron James Rookie Card
Posted on 2/25/2021
The first card graded by Certified Sports Guaranty™ (CSG™) is one of the most coveted basketball cards in existence — a #111 LeBron James rookie card from the 2003-04 Topps Chrome Refractor set.
The incredibly well-printed and well-preserved card received the grade of CSG 9.5. In addition, the CSG graders assigned the sub-grades of 9 for Centering, 9.5 for Corners, 10 for Edges and 9.5 for Surface. The almost-perfect Gem Mint grade is very rarely seen in the Chrome Refractor set.
LeBron James started playing professional basketball when he was just 19 years old, right after graduating from high school. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected him as the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, and he was named Rookie of the Year for the 2003-2004 season. Now considered one of the greatest players of all time, James has since made eight consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, won four NBA championships, four MVP Awards, four Finals MVP Awards and two Olympic gold medals.
The front of the Topps card features James firing a jump shot over the Detroit Piston’s Ben Wallace. It is coated in a reflective surface that interacts with light and shines back a multitude of colors. On the back, the card states, “No high school hoopster ever has had as many accolades as LeBron, whose quadruple double-type skills could make him a superstar. He won every possible National Player of the Year award in 2002 and ’03.”
Topps included the LeBron James rookie card in just one out of every 12 packs in a 165-card set, which means the chances of pulling the card were just one in 1,980! Because of its rarity and James’ ever-growing list of accomplishments, many analysts expect the card's value to continue to rise. Like Michael Jordan’s 1986-1987 Fleer rookie card, this LeBron James Chrome Refractor is on track to become his most iconic card ever.
“We were hoping that the first card graded by CSG would be something really special,” commented Westin Reeves, CSG Lead Modern Sports Card Grader. “This LeBron James rookie card fits the bill in every way — it is visually spectacular, highly sought-after and an excellent indicator of what collectors can expect from CSG.”