Ten Terrific CGC-certified Cards of Philadelphia 76ers Star Joel Embiid

Posted on 12/7/2023

With Joel Embiid earning his first MVP award last season and leading the NBA in scoring this season, 10 of his top CGC-certified cards are deservedly in the spotlight this month.

The 2023-24 NBA season is in full swing, and last year's MVP has picked back up where he left off, dominating his opposition once again this season. Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid is currently leading the league in points, averaging 33.1 points per game. His all-around talent has been on display again as well, impacting all aspects of the game. As of Dec. 7, Embiid was fifth in defensive rebounds per game (11.4), 10th in blocks per game (1.8) and 14th in assists per game (6.6), all from a 7'0" African-born player who didn't even take up basketball until high school.

Embiid had an interesting and unlikely path to NBA stardom. Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, he grew up playing soccer and volleyball when he was young, with hopes of playing volleyball professionally in Europe one day. Then, inspired by fellow Cameroonian and NBA Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, Embiid started playing basketball at 15 years old and was discovered at a basketball camp not long after by NBA pro Luc Mbah a Moute. The NBA journeyman took Embiid under his wing, mentoring him and helping his family move to the United States to focus on basketball full-time when he was still only 16 years old.

The talented but green teenager played high school ball in Florida, switching schools after his first year to get more playing time. His senior year, Embiid led his school to a 33-4 record and a state championship, becoming a five-star recruit in the process before committing to the Kansas Jayhawks. He would be one-and-done in college, leaving after his first season to make the jump to the NBA. Four years after picking up a basketball for the first time, Embiid's meteoric rise culminated in Philly selecting him with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft.

It was a slow start to Embiid's NBA career. Due to a foot injury and multiple surgeries, the young center missed the first two seasons of his career entirely. However, he bounced back in what would become his official rookie season in 2016-17, earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team. The next season, Embiid became an All-Star for the first time. He's been selected to the All-Star team every year since then, making it six consecutive seasons to date.

Since his official rookie season, Embiid has been one of the most consistent players in the league on both sides of the ball, helping to turn the 76ers into perennial contenders in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is still looking for their first NBA title since 1983, but their star center continues to rack up personal accolades in the meantime. He made the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times, won the NBA scoring title twice and was selected as the 2023 NBA MVP. Embiid and the 76ers are still trusting the process, and with one of the best records in the East, they look poised to make another run for the NBA Finals this season.

Ten Terrific Joel Embiid Cards

2014-15 Panini Prizm #253 Joel Embiid

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It's only right to start out our list with one of Joel Embiid's most popular rookie cards. Since its introduction to the hobby in 2012, Panini Prizm has been a favorite among collectors, especially for rookie issues. This attractive card features an image of a young Embiid in the 76ers' blue jersey on Prizm's well-known silver chromium card stock. No Embiid collection is complete without the Prizm #253, and it doesn't hurt if it garners CGC Cards' coveted Pristine 10 grade.

2014-15 Donruss #203 Joel Embiid - Swirlorama Rated Rookie

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Another extremely popular rookie card each season is the Rated Rookie issues from Donruss. To make these rookie cards even better, they come in several parallels, like this Swirlorama version of Embiid's Donruss #203. The card features a similar image of Embiid posing with the basketball as his Prizm rookie and has a colorful swirl border that surrounds the card, making it easily stand out from the rest of Embiid's rookie cards on the list.

2014-15 Panini Court Kings Remarkable Rookie Memorabilia #20 Joel Embiid

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Collectors love memorabilia cards because they come with a relic that is directly linked to an athlete and their career. This particular card from Panini Court Kings includes an event-worn Joel Embiid jersey patch from his rookie season. As always, the Court Kings series features an artistic design that mimics a painting, which gives it a unique and attractive look.

2014-15 Panini Gold Standard Freshly Minted #24 Joel Embiid - #'d/20

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The Panini Gold Standard Freshly Minted inserts may look like another memorabilia card at first glance. However, in place of the typical relic patches, these special cards contain an actual piece of certified 14-karat gold. Numbered to only 20 ever made, this is a rare rookie card stemming from Joel Embiid's debut NBA season.

2014-15 Donruss Status Signatures #24 Joel Embiid - Purple Die-Cut #'d/74

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As one of the earliest cards to include Joel Embiid's signature, this Donruss insert ticks all the boxes. With a great image of the young center, an "RC" rookie card logo in the top right corner and Embiid's autograph on a purple die-cut version of the card, it has everything you could want out of a superstar's rookie card. Plus, it's numbered to only 74 ever made, making it rare and an excellent addition to any Embiid card collection.

2016-17 Panini Contenders Draft Picks #45 Joel Embiid - Cracked Ice Season Ticket #'d/23

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This is a fun and rare card that features a teenaged Joel Embiid from his time as a Kansas Jayhawk. Panini Contenders Draft Picks cards are often prized by collectors since they revisit an athlete's collegiate career. The Season Ticket inserts are beloved for their faux game ticket design, and this Cracked Ice parallel that is limited to only 23 copies produced is a rarity any Embiid collector would love to add to their collection.

2017-18 Panini Ascension Autographs #64 Joel Embiid - Green #'d/25

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This Panini Ascension card features an in-game, full image of Joel Embiid dribbling down the court. The colorful design over the crowd in the background makes this card visually appealing, as it's framed in a dark green border. The 76ers star center's signature is in bold blue ink and the insert is limited to only 25 copies in this particular green parallel, making it one of the rarest cards on our Top 10 list.

2017-18 Panini Dominion Peerless Jersey Autographs #2 Joel Embiid - #'d/49

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The first horizontal card on our list features a simple but effective design. A full image of Joel Embiid in his white Philadelphia jersey occupies the left side of the card. Meanwhile, the right side contains the Panini Dominion logo, a large game-worn red jersey patch and a hand-signed autograph in blue ink below the relic. With the dual patch and signature combo, this is a highly coveted card.

2018-19 Panini Contenders Optic Veteran Ticket Autographs #VT-JEM Joel Embiid - Blue

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The second Panini Contenders card on our list, this time we have one from Embiid's pro career instead of a throwback to his days in college. As mentioned before, the Contenders series is well-known for its game ticket design, and this card is no different. Printed on Optic's popular chromium cardstock, the insert features a shiny blue border and background that matches Philly's team colors perfectly. The addition of Embiid's autograph in blue ink sets this parallel apart from its base version and makes it all the more desirable and valuable.

2021-22 Panini Crown Royale Coat of Arms Relics #CT-JEM Joel Embiid

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One of the most unique designs on our list comes from the Panini Crown Royale series. This special Coat of Arms insert features a design that mimics a true coat of arms, shield and filigree included. The die-cut card follows the design of the blue-and-white shield, which includes two full lions and two lion heads on it. Intricate filigree surrounds the shield, with a crown at the top. An image of Joel Embiid overlaps the center of the shield and a game-worn white jersey patch sits below the six-time All-Star. Closing out the Top 10 list where we started, this particular card also earned the highly sought-after grade of CGC Pristine 10.

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