1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell Rookie HOF Celtics PSA 6

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  • June 21, 2013
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Five years after producing its first major baseball card set Topps jumped into fresh territory with the release of its 1957-58 NBA basketball card set. It would be the only mainstream release during the entire decade and as such, it holds a few of the hobby’s most iconic rookie cards; none more important than the one featuring Bill Russell. This week, our eBay listings include an EX-MT, PSA 6-graded example of Russell’s first appearance on cardboard. Almost always off center, this card isn't only Russell’s rookie card—it’s a short print—and shows him in action, looking every bit the defensive intimidator. Russell, of course, was the king of the hardwood from the moment he stopped into the parquet floor of the Boston Garden after a stellar career at the University of San Francisco. He also helped Team USA win a Gold Medal in the Olympics. Russell was the center upon which the Celtics’ dynasty was born. No one had played defense like #6. Simply put, it was big news when Russ and the Celtics didn't win an NBA title. They captured 11 of them before he finally stepped down in 1969. He’d already been in the league a couple of years when this card was made but it’s his first appearance on a card so it is considered his rookie. There are 80 cards in the 1957-58 set so it’s not difficult to put together. Finding cards of this quality, however, is not an easy task at all. Centering, corner wear and scuffing that nearly always comes with cards that have dark backgrounds, all contribute to the dearth of extreme high end examples. The action shots in this set are unique, especially given the challenges that photographers faced inside dimly-lit arenas of the era. It packs plenty of hoop history into its 80 cards but it’s the Russell that stands tall here and opportunities to buy one that won’t slam dunk your budget don't come around that often.   

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