Black History Month: Recognizing Greatness2 min read

One year ago, in recognition of Black History Month, the PSA Blog paid tribute to four black athletes who impacted their sports, their country, and society as a whole by breaking the color barrier: Jackie Robinson (MLB), Marion Motley (NFL), Earl Lloyd (NBA) and Willie O’Ree (NHL). Their efforts to pave the way for diversity and inclusion in their respective pro sports opened the doors for other athletes of color to follow. Robinson’s appearance on Opening Day with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, ended 60 years of baseball segregation, as he became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. Motley, a two-way fullback and linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, broke football’s color barrier by signing with the team in August 1946. Lloyd, a small forward and two-time All-America selection at West Virginia State, made his historic NBA debut for the then-Washington Capitols on Oct. 31, 1950. And O’Ree, a Canadian-born hockey player, made history on Jan. 18, 1958, by lacing up as an upstart winger for the Boston Bruins.

The coveted rookie cards of Jackie Robinson and Michael Jordan.

This month, the PSA Blog debuts a new series entitled “PSA Collector Guide: Card Values” where we explore current market prices for PSA-graded basic cards and sets in the PSA Set Registry. We will cover legends including Robinson, along with standouts such as Michael Jordan, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan. With February upon us once again, we are batting leadoff with Robinson and Jordan, two immensely talented and well-respected icons in their chosen fields.

Robinson, of course, not only changed baseball’s landscape, but impacted civil rights as well. He was posthumously awarded by then-President Ronald Reagan the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26, 1984, and on March 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave Robinson’s widow, Rachel, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress. Jordan, meanwhile, is widely believed to be the best basketball player in NBA history and helped changed the game by virtue of his jaw-dropping dunks and clutch shooting performances in crunch time. His contributions on and off the court helped catapult basketball’s popularity worldwide, and his knack for marketing and endorsements opened new revenue streams for black athletes.

Read the write-ups for both players’ basic sets and share your thoughts. Please let us know if there are any other players you would like us to cover in this type of format. Knowledge is key when it comes to collecting cards – basic, vintage or otherwise.

PSA Collector Guide: Jackie Robinson Card Values – Check out the eight cards, ranging from his 1948 Leaf #79 rookie card to his 1956 Topps #30, that comprise Robinson’s basic set.

PSA Collectors Guide: Michael Jordan Card Values – Peruse the 72 cards, ranging from MJ’s 1986 Fleer #57 rookie card all the way to his 2003 Upper Deck #27, that make up Jordan’s basic set.


Posted by Terry Melia

Terry Melia is a hobby veteran who has served in various PR, marketing and content roles for industry movers and shakers including The Upper Deck Company and SCP Auctions and is currently working as PSA's Public Relations and Content Specialist.

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