Cue up “One Shining Moment.” It’s time to recap and celebrate our first SlabStox Best Investment Tournament, a fun card-collector bracketology we kicked off on Selection Sunday (March 15) and completed today! The way we figured, if we can’t have NCAA March Madness this year, we’ll create our own! We created a bracket with eight basketball investments and eight baseball investments and held the voting on our Instagram page.
The Winner Is…
Rather than prolonging this, let’s fast forward and crown our “best investment” champion: (1) 2003 Topps Chrome LeBron James RC PSA 10.
Just like on the court, King James still rules the card-investing world. Despite some amazing competition (think Trout, Luka, Giannis, and Acuna Jr.), LeBron James reigns as the best card investment of the 16 finalists in our tournament bracket—based on your votes!
That’s saying something because all card values were based on one LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome RC PSA 10. At the start of this tournament, this coveted LeBron card was valued at $6,000 (it actually peaked at an $8,000 sale just a few weeks back). Every other player’s Base PSA 10 card count (Prizm for basketball, Topps for baseball) was adjusted to equal LeBron’s value. So for one LeBron card, The Greek Freak equalized at 3 cards, Luka 12 cards, Anthony Davis 10 cards, and so on. On the baseball side of our bracket, Trout equalized to LeBron at 3 cards, Acuna Jr. 30 cards, Soto 50 cards—you get it.
Despite the multi-card opportunities for every other player, LeBron’s single rookie card clearly captures the hearts and confidence of card investors as the best place to hedge investments.
Here is a round-by-round recap of the voting. Thanks to everyone who participated and voted for their favorite card match-ups. Daily, thousands of you weighed in, so we feel pretty confident the way this bracket played out truly reflects the pulse of our investment community.
Round 1: Sweet 16
#1 LeBron James (1 card) vs. #8 Jason Tatum (26 cards)
Winner to advance: LeBron (66%)
#1 Mike Trout (3 cards) vs. #8 Fernando Tatis Jr. (67 cards)
Winner to advance: Trout (73%)
#2 Giannis Antetokounmpo (3 cards) vs. #7 Ja Morant (17 cards)
Winner to advance: Giannis (66%)
#2 Ronald Acuna Jr. (30 cards) vs. #7 Gleyber Torres (60 cards)
Winner to advance: Acuna Jr. (74%)
#3 Kawhi Leonard (7 cards) vs. #6 Luka Doncic (12 cards)
Winner to advance: Luka (82%)
#3 Mookie Betts (34 cards) vs. #6 Juan Soto (50 cards)
Winner to advance: Soto (75%)
#4 Zion Williamson (9 cards) vs. #5 Anthony Davis (10 cards)
Winner to advance: Zion (73%)
#4 Cody Bellinger (36 cards) vs. #5 Christian Yelich (36 cards)
Winner to advance: Bellinger (56%)
Analysis: Just like NCAA tournament brackets, the first round was the most fun to watch. This is where you’ll find the mega upsets and the tightest of matchups. A few takes:
- Yeli vs. Belli: We loved watching the 4 vs. 5 on both sides of the bracket. Belli vs. Yeli was one of the closest head-to-head matchups of the entire tournament—two MVPs slugging it out for bragging rights. Edge this time to Bellinger (56%). We’ll see what a healthy Yelich has to say about that once the season begins.
- Rookie Sensation: Zion proved his record-breaking start of the season has investors’ confidence in a big way. Even though he was the higher seed, this was a surprise considering Zion has just 19 games to his NBA resume, yet easily took down AD who is having an MVP-worthy year! Ahh, youth and hype!
- Luka’s Clutch Performance. If you need proof of Luka’s staying power, check out the results of this matchup. He pulled off the BIGGEST upset of this tournament by defeating the reigning NBA Championship MVP in stunning fashion. Kawhi received only 18% of the vote.
Round 2: Elite Eight
#1 LeBron James (1 card) vs. #4 Zion Williamson (9 cards)
Winner to advance: LeBron (60%)
#1 Mike Trout (3 cards) vs. #4 Cody Bellinger (36 cards)
Winner to advance: Trout (77%)
#2 Giannis Antetokounmpo (3 cards) vs. #6 Luka Doncic (12 cards)
Winner to advance: Luka (56%)
#2 Ronald Acuna Jr. (30 cards) vs. #6 Juan Soto (50 cards)
Winner to advance: Acuna Jr. (60%)
Analysis: Cinderella story of the bracket: Luka!
- Mount Zion’s Tough Draw: No doubt Zion brings special talents to the court. But, when matched against the best, he’s got a ways to go, and rightly so. It was a tough draw for the rookie, but getting 40% of the votes is very respectable. A Luka vs. Zion match-up would have been fun!
- Talent Gap: Cody is good. MVP good. But when it comes to stacking up against Trout’s legendary status in the MLB, well, let’s just say no contest. This round was a blowout, with Trout collecting more than 3/4 of the votes.
- Second-Year Sensation: Not sure there is a comparison for Luka Doncic. When was the last time you recall a second-year player having this kind of impact on the national stage. In the card-collector community, there is a real buy-in that this guy is a sensation here to stay. He unseeded reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo by 6%—that’s a No. 6 seed topping a No. 2 to make it to the Final Four.
- Juan Who? Here’s to another young star. Acuna Jr. is poised to own the National League if he improves on his first two years’ numbers. And there is no reason to think he won’t. Card collectors rewarded him with 60% of the vote. If, and this is a big IF, this guy puts up a 50/50 season (HR, stolen bases), these cards will skyrocket!
Round 3: Final Four
#1 LeBron James (1 card) vs. #6 Luka Doncic (12 cards)
Winner to advance to Championship: LeBron (55%)
#1 Mike Trout (3 cards) vs. #2 Ronald Acuna Jr. (30 cards)
Winner to advance: Trout (66%)
Analysis: This round goes to the greats, but you have to credit the young guns who proved they have some serious investment clout. Big cards win in this case, but can you really lose with 12 and 30 cards of these young superstars players?
- Buzzer Beater: We’ve seen it many times throughout his career. LeBron canning the 3 with the game on the line. He seemed to do it in this bracket too, edging out Doncic by a slim 5%. The King still got game.
- King Fish: Trout has cemented his place among the greats in baseball. Acuna Jr. is sensational, but even 10X the number of cards doesn’t stack up against the great Trout.
Round 4: Championship
#1 LeBron James (1 card) vs. #1 Mike Trout (3 cards)
Best Investment Champion: LeBron James (61%)
Analysis: For those who were hoping for new names and faces in this bracket’s finals, you’ll have to wait another year, maybe two. LeBron and Trout. Two number ones in their sport. The edge goes to…
- Basketball. One thing our card investing community answered in this final vote. Basketball carries the torch. LeBron and basketball are too much for the great Mike Trout to overcome. Needless to say, these are both legendary card investments, and your votes prove champagne taste wins over stockpiles of up-and-comers. Do you agree?
The first installment of Card-Investor Bracketology was a success! While the top single card came out on top, there can be arguments made for a lot of the lower seed investments to pull off upsets. In theory, it would be easier to make short-term money on (26) Jayson Tatum Prizm RC PSA 10s than (1) LeBron James Topps Chrome RC PSA 10. It provides more flexibility because you can sell half and hold half if you would like, too. On the flip side, buying and sitting on one card is much easier, so if you’re in it for the long haul, LeBron James clearly makes sense.
Thank you to everyone that participated in the voting on our Instagram page! We appreciate the support always.