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Kawhi Leonard is arguably one of the most talented players in the NBA.
Not only does he have the talent, but he also has a strong frame and good size for a wing player, with the ability to make his teammates better.
There’s also no doubt that the “Claw” is one of the most popular NBA players in history.
Kawhi Leonard rookie cards are low-risk, high-reward cards. Many of these base cards are quite affordable and easy to get. But you also have some premium options if you prefer to collect high-value items.
Let’s go over some of the best Kawhi Leonard rookie cards.
Top Kawhi Leonard Rookie Cards
Let’s start with the most common base rookie cards, and then move on to rarer and more premium options.
Feel free to scroll down if you’re looking for high-ticket cards.
2012 Panini Prizm Kawhi Leonard RC #209
This is the most affordable and most easily available Kawhi Leonard rookie card. If you’re starting and want to own a Kawhi Leonard rookie card, here’s your chance.
If you’ve been collecting newer and more recent Panini Prizm rookie cards, then you might be a bit surprised to find that the Panini Prizm Kawhi Leonard card only had a few parallels: Green, Gold, and Prizms.
Now, the parallels can be quite rare and hard to find, but they’re also quite pricey. You might find a listing for one of these parallels that will cost you a five-figure amount.
The base card, on the other hand, is much more easily available. You’ll find many listings for this card and at affordable prices, so that would be a good option for you to start with if you’re on a budget.
2012 Panini Totally Certified Kawhi Leonard RC #11
The Totally Certified rookie cards are not as widespread as the Prizm cards, and they’re also a bit more difficult to obtain.
However, if you like the look of this card and you’re tight on a budget, it could also be a great option.
Prices for this card are quite reasonable. It’s not as costly as the Prizm cards, but there are also some parallels that you need to be aware of: Red, Blue, Gold, Green, and Black (1).
While some of these parallels might be a bit more expensive than the base card, they will provide you with a bit more variety and choice, especially if you’d like to have something a bit different.
If you’re a big fan of Kawhi Leonard and don’t want to break the bank, then this is a good option for you to start with.
2012 Panini Absolute Kawhi Leonard Auto RC #200
Next up is the Panini Absolute Kawhi Leonard rookie card with an autograph.
This might be one of the best options if you like to have an autographed card, but you still don’t want to spend over the odds to get a card of your choice.
Even though there were only 399 of these cards produced and it includes an autograph, it is not as expensive as some premium cards we’ll see later on.
You might be able to get this one for a sensible price, but make sure you check the quality and the authenticity of the autograph if you choose a raw option.
2012 Panini Elite Kawhi Leonard RC #215
The Panini Elite base cards are not very hard to find and also come in a variety of different parallels and inserts. Aspirations, Status Gold, Status, and Status Black are your parallel options when it comes to this card.
Panini Elite has been one of the most preferred rookie card options for collectors for many years.
In the past, Elite cards have actually been more colorful and they often included live-action shots with the court or crowd in the background. While this 2012 Kawhi Leonard card doesn’t follow the same recipe, it’s still a beautiful base card to own.
One of the best things about this brand, in my opinion, is its easy availability and beginner-friendliness. So if you fall into that category and you don’t want to overspend, the Panini Elite Kawhi Leonard rookie card is certainly an option to consider.
2012 Limited Kawhi Leonard RC Auto #174
Now, this Limited card of Kawhi Leonard from 2012 is a bit special.
It doesn’t follow the “norms” when it comes to rookie cards. It’s a die-cut acetate card, so it’s quite a bit different from the rest of the Kawhi Leonard rookie card.
This out-of-the-box nature of the card will definitely attract some attention from those who want something a little bit different and unique.
On the other hand, if you’re a traditionalist, you might want to skip this one entirely.
A big plus is the on-card autograph, which gives that card that extra bit of oomph and personality.
Despite the unusual nature, this card can be bought for relatively cheap, especially considering the prices of some other Kawhi Leonard rookies. It’s not the cheapest card, though.
2012 Panini Contenders Kawhi Leonard RC Auto #263
This card is a bit more expensive than the previous cards, but its design is also quite different.
While it’s not as fun and polarizing as the die-cut acetate version, it still manages to stand out and capture people’s attention.
Panini Contenders cards have always stuck out for their premium and elegant style, but also because of their rarity and their autographs. While it might not be a true premium card, it is definitely a mid-level card, and the prices move up accordingly.
It is one of the most beautiful cards that you can own, but you’ll have to spend thousands of dollars to get one.
2012 Panini Threads Kawhi Leonard Auto RC #163
Next up is the Panini Threads Kawhi Leonard rookie card. This card is known for its autograph but also for its unique design.
The background of this card looks like a tactic board with the basketball field in the center. Then there’s the portrait of the player in front, and of course, the so coveted autograph below the image.
These cards are a bit rarer than some of the cards we’ve had so far, which means that they can be quite a bit more expensive. On top of that, the autographs tend to fade away with time, so finding a PSA 10 might be a challenge.
2012 Panini Select Kawhi Leonard RC #178, #250
With the Panini Select brand of rookie cards for Kawhi Leonard, you’ll have two main options:
1. #178, which contains the player’s autograph
2. #250, which contains both the player’s autograph and a jersey patch
Both of these can be quite popular, but the #178 card is a bit rarer and thus a bit more expensive. There are only 199 copies of the #178 card, while the #250 card has 249 copies to its name.
No matter which option you prefer, Panini Select is a great option when it comes to Kawhi Leonard rookie cards. In recent years, this brand is a bit more budget-minded but in 2012, it was seen as a more premium card.
2012 Panini Preferred Kawhi Leonard RC #319, #401, #501
Panini Preferred rookie cards from 2012 of Kawhi Leonard are some of the most varied rookie cards you’ll find of this player.
You have three main choices: #319, which has 99 copies, #401, which has 99 copies, and #501, which also has 99 copies.
#401 is basically the Crown Royale version, while the other two are also two more premium options that you can choose from.
2012 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Kawhi Leonard RC #65
If you’re looking for something elegant and something that will not stand out as a colorful card, then you’ll like the look of this Upper Deck card.
The beauty of this card is in its elegance. It also has an autograph, which makes it one of the most coveted premium cards out there.
2012 Immaculate Collection Kawhi Leonard Jersey Auto RC #112
With this Immaculate Collection card, we’re well and truly in the premium card category.
It is one of the most expensive cards of Kawhi Leonard, and for good reason.
This brand has always been one of the more premium choices. It has an on-card auto and a jersey patch, and it’s also limited to 99 cards, so it’s always going to be one of the most expensive cards on the market.
2012 Panini Flawless Kawhi Leonard Auto RC #11
The Panini Flawless Kawhi Leonard rookie card is one of the rarest cards out there. It is limited to only 25 copies, so it’s a bit harder to find.
It has that typical Flawless look that most collectors that love this brand will like. It’s elegant and it has an autograph, which of course, only raises the value of this card.
2012 Panini National Treasures Auto Patch RC #114
And of course, I’ve saved the best for the last – the National Treasures card.
This card is often the most expensive option when it comes to rookie cards. You can see why – it has an autograph, a jersey patch, and a limited print run (this time a print run of 199).
All in all, this is the most expensive Kawhi Leonard rookie card and it’s going to cost you a five-figure amount in the best possible conditions.