The hobby loves a hidden gem and Temetrius Jamel Morant’s hobby hoop dreams could not have had a more humble beginning.
He grew up in Dalzell, South Carolina, the son of Jamie and Tee Morant. His father, Tee, had once been high school teammates with NBA Hall of Farner Ray Allen. Temetrius Jamel was short in stature and slight in frame, unable to dunk until his senior year. And despite
becoming the all-time leading scorer in the history of Crestwood High (Sumter, SC), Morant was lightly recruited. He was only discovered by his eventual college team, the Murray State Racers, because assistant coach James Kane wanted a snack.
As the story goes, one day in July, before his senior year at Crestwood, the budding prospect participated in a one-day high school scouting combine in Spartanburg, SC. After arriving, he was quickly jettisoned to a separate, alternate gymnasium during the main event. This was essentially telling him he didn’t belong with the top players. Kane, who was scouting the main gym, was off looking for a snack bar when he spotted the young guard
playing 3-on-3 on one of the auxiliary courts.
What he saw wowed him. Kane, now an assistant coach with the Dayton Flyers, called Murray State head coach Mat McMahon to say that he was watching a future pro.
McMahon got in his car the next day and drove straight to South Carolina.
You would’ve been floored, too, seeing the young star on the court that day.
But now Temetrius Jamel Morant is no longer a hidden gem. He’s blossomed into Ja Morant, and is one of the biggest diamonds in the hobby.
It makes sense that it all started with popcorn. When Morant heats up, he can pop right out of a building. And he really took the leap last year. The Memphis Grizzlies star is one of the NBA’s most electrifying players: a Top 10 scorer and a Western Conference Playoffs semifinalist before the age of 23; one of the league’s fiercest dunkers; and a bona fide
4 in Year 3, averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.
And his cards exploded right with him.
No, we’re not just talking Ka booms, although PSA 10 versions of his Crown Roya le-inserted rookie Kaboom have sold for nearly five figures. superstar in a league that is welcoming a new generation That’s just scratching the surface of Morant’s best cards, of household names. much like Morant himself is just scratching the surface of Last year, Morant went from packed with potential to breaking the internet.
In the Grizzlies’ 2021-22 season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he had 37 points in a 132-121 win. He followed that up four days later with 40 points and 10 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers. By the end of January – a month in which the Grizz went 12-4 – Morant was averaging better than 26 points per game. By the end of the regular season, two years after averaging 17.7 points and 7.3 assists as a rookie, Morant exploded his talents.
Since the beginning of February a dozen Morant cards have sold publicly for six figures each. Another halfdozen sold for $90,000 or more. As he enters his fourth NBA season, Morant is among the hottest tickets in the league, far surpassing his fellow 2019 NBA Draft
selection and former AAU teammate Zion Williamson. Coming off winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and earning an All-NBA First Team nod, Morant’s stock is skyrocketing.
Before there was the Young Dolph cameo, there was Kevin Love. Only in far-less-flattering circumstances. On Morant’s Chronicles Luminance base rookie card , the then-Grizzlies rookie is shown posterizing the veteran Cavalier.
2019 PANINI CHRONICLES #16S LUMINANCE
Little known fact: Morant missed the dunk on the card. The base version of the card has been graded more than 10,000 times by PSA, but some of the still affordable retail parallels have relatively low pop numbers – and dollar figures.
2019 PANINI CLEARLY DONRUSS #S2
Notorious for smudges and printing streaks, the 2019 Panini Clearly Donruss set is a brutally tough grade. As a result, only seven of Morant’s 560 total graded base rookies have earned PSA 10 marks. Not one has come up for sale recently on any major sales platform.
2019 PANINI CONTENDERS #118 ROOKIE TICKET AUTOGRAPH CRACKED ICE
Numerous raw and graded versions of all different Morant Contenders Optic variations can be found readily on any sales platform. But Morant’s Contenders Rookie Ticket autographs
are surprisingly hard to find, and they don’t sell for nearly what they should, given their rarity.
2019 PANINI COURT KINGS #19 BLANK SLATE
Among the cleanest insert sets to emerge from Panini in the last half decade, the Blank Slate case hit insert from Court Kings strips design down to its core. And the rarity of these cards only adds to their mystique, as just 14 have been graded by PSA (eight PSA 1 Os and six PSA 9s).
2019 PANINI HOOPS #HA·KJ ART SIGNATURES WITH KOBE BRYANT
One of the truly significant cards to emerge for Morant’s rookie year is this dual on-card autograph masterpiece with Kobe Bryant. One of Bryant’s last dual-signature cards before his untimely death, these cards are incredibly hard to find. Sales have approached nearly
$30,000 for these beauties.
2019 PANINI MOSAIC #219 GENESIS
Debuting in Morant’s rookie season, the Mosaic brand quickly caught on and was arguably the top brand of 2019. Particularly popular in retail locations, Mosaic made a splash with the retailonly Genesis parallel set. Despite their rarity- only 66 have graded Gem Mint
– PSA 1 0 copies can be had for less than $3,000.
2019 PANINI NATIONAL TREASURES #118 STARS & STRIPES RPA
Morant’s National Treasures base RPAs command a fortune, but his First Off the Line-exclusive Stars & Stripes parallel versions are also coveted and far rarer at only 30 sequentially numbered copies. Just nine have been graded by PSA with only a single PSA 1 0. A PSA 9, meanwhile, sold for nearly $100,000 including buyer’s premium via Goldin in May.
2019 PANINI PRIZM #249 HYPER PRIZM
What is a list like this if it doesn’t include the granddaddy of them all, Panini Prizm? While there have been nearly 40,000 base Morant rookies graded, some of his still-attainable parallel cards have surprisingly low populations. His Hyper Prizm parallel in particular, which is an unnumbered hobby box exclusive, has 289 copies graded but just seven PSA 1 Os mainly due to print line issues.
2019 PANINI REVOLUTION #102 GALACTIC
One of Panini ‘s best parallel sets, the Revolution Galactic parallel has been going strong since 2015. Morant’s beautiful, and rare, version has been graded by PSA just six times, with four 1 Os and two 9s. A PSA 9 sold via eBay in May for a little over $1,500. A total
steal, if you ask us.
2019 PANINI SELECT #72 ZEBRA PRIZM
Morant’s Select Zebra parallels are just a ton of fun. His base Concourse edition, which features a screaming Morant centered among zebra stripes, commanded $5,000 in PSA 10
condition in an August eBay auction.