Pau Gasol Rookie Cards and Best Cards

Pau Gasol, the legendary European player coming from Spain, is a true NBA vet — having played 18 seasons in the League. The Spaniard is a two-time NBA Champ with the Lakers, six-time All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team member. He has also won the Rookie of the Year award, being the first international player to do so. Gasol is also a FIBA World Cup champion (MVP), a three-time EuroBasket champion (2x MVP), and multiple Olympic silver and bronze medalist with the Spanish national basketball team.

Pau Gasol played at the Power Forward/Center position, and was drafted to the NBA third overall in 2001, by the Atlanta Hawks. He ended up on the Memphis Grizzlies though, and later played with Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers, then in his last seasons for the Chicago Bulls, the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks. In 2021, Gasol retired from his illustrious basketball journey in Europe with FC Barcelona Bàsquet where it all started for him back in 1998.

Best Pau Gasol Rookie Cards

There are many Pau Gasol rookie cards to choose from on the market — and we’ll review the best ones, starting from the affordable budget options and finishing with the more expensive, premium Pau Gasol rookie cards.

2001 Fleer Authentix Pau Gasol #120

This 2001 Fleer Authentix Pau Gasol #120 is one of the first Pau Gasol sports cards, and is considered one of the best affordable Pau Gasol rookie cards for sure.

Released by Fleer, as part of the 2001 Fleer Authentix basketball set, it is a nicely looking card, designed as an arena entrance ticket on the right, Pau Gasol in a shooting motion, sporting a Memphis uni on the left, and the Grizzlies logo in the background. Player’s name and the team are printed on the bottom of the card.

The 2001 Fleer Authentix basketball set included 35 rookies, with a portion of them serial numbered to 1250. The total number of cards in this set is 135, with the first 100 dedicated to veteran players. The parallel 2001 Fleer Authentix sets were also released — called Front Row and Second Row.

This Pau Gasol rookie card is a budget option, with the Front Row and Second Row variations being slightly more expensive.

2001 Fleer Focus Pau Gasol #113

Another budget option of a Pau Gasol rookie card is this 2001 Fleer Focus #113.

Part of the 2001 Fleer Focus basketball set released in 2002, similarly to Fleer Authentix, this set included 130 cards in total, with 100 for veterans and 35 for rookies, but this time numbered to 1850.

The design of this Pau Gasol RC features a full in-game image of Pau in the white Memphis Grizzlies uniform, as well as a white and silver border and the Fleer Focus logo in the upper left hand corner. A colored box, set to match team colors, contains the player’s name in silver ink.

The veteran cards have the same design, but with the gold color instead of silver on both the borders and the player names. For the rookies, a number box appears on the back of the card, designating the sequential numbering.

Five Ultra Update cards were also included in the pack-out, and these cards are listed under the base 2001-02 Ultra set. Fleer Focus was issued in 24 pack boxes where packs contained seven cards each.

2001 Topps Chrome Pau Gasol #131

This 2001 Topps Chrome Pau Gasol #131 is a more desirable Pau Gasol rookie card than the two budget options above.

Beautifully designed, this rookie card features a large in-game action image of Pau Gasol, his name on the bottom and the 2001 NBA Draft Pick number on top (#3 for Pau).

The 2001 Topps Chrome basketball set includes 165 cards in total, and uses chromium technology with full color action photos, so some cards are available as refractors. The Pau Gasol #131 RC is available as Base, Refractor and Black Refractor.

The numbering of the rookie draft picks start at #130, whereas the first cards which are numbered #1 to #129 mostly feature veteran players, including such legends as Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant just to name a few.

2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Pau Gasol #71

Now this Pau Gasol RC is considered the most popular among collectors — it is a premium Pau Gasol rookie card and the most expensive one on the market.

The 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Pau Gasol #71 is part of the set that includes 90 cards, and the Pau Gasol rookie is numbered to #250.

The design is pretty simple and minimalistic, with a white and gray background, Pau holding the ball in a shooting motion and wearing a Memphis home jersey. “Ultimate Rookie” is written in a larger font vertically on the left, and the set title “Ultimate Collection” in a smaller font is seen on the right, with the Upper Deck logo in between the two words. Player’s position and team are displayed in even smaller font, but it looks alright, given all the attention is on the color photo of Pau.

As mentioned, this is the most demanded Pau Gasol rookie card — and research shows that it’s also the highest graded one, compared to all the other cards in the 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection basketball set. A definite must-have if you’re looking for a Pau RC!

Other Notable Pau Gasol Rookie Cards

Similarly to our Best Pau Gasol Rookie Cards segment above, we’ll review other notable Pau Gasol rookie cards in the same order — starting from the more affordable option and finishing with the higher-end premium rookie cards.

2001 Fleer Shoebox Pau Gasol #173

This Pau Gasol rookie card is part of the Fleer Shoebox Collection released for the 2001/02 season. It is a fairly achievable card, but nevertheless is considered one of the notable RC’s for Pau.

The 2001 Fleer Shoebox Pau Gasol #173 is designed as a full-width action image of Pau attempting a shot, with the Fleer Shoebox Collection logo, team and player’s name/position in minimalistic triangles across the bottom of the card.

The 2001/02 Fleer Shoebox basketball set included 180 cards in total, with 30 rookies numbered to 2500. Each sealed box of this release contained 24 packs of 8 cards each — and one Game Worn/Used Memorabilia or an Autograph card. There was also a parallel set called “Footprints” which was numbered to the respective player’s shoe size x 10. Among the notable Hall of Famers included in the set, there are Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan cards.

2001 Fleer Force Pau Gasol #103

The 2001 Fleer Force Pau Gasol #103 is a more rare card and it is harder to obtain than most budget options.

The 2001 Fleer Force basketball set was dropped early in the season, and Pau is pictured in a suit and tie instead of an NBA uniform. This fact alone makes this card less valuable in the eyes of some collectors. Nevertheless — this Fleer Force Pau Gasol cardboard piece is his rookie release, and is considered an above average, a mid-range Pau Gasol rookie card.

Design-wise, the card is horizontally aligned, with the smiling head of Pau on the left and the Memphis Grizzlies logo on the right. Pau’s jersey number 16 is placed in the lower right corner, where it also says “Rookie” in a nice hand-written font.

The entire 2001 Fleer Force basketball set had 180 cards in total, with all rookies being numbered to 999, which is reflected in the card title. Additionally, the first 300 of each rookie were postmarked with the date and location of their respective NBA debut. For Pau — it’s Nov 1  2001, Memphis, TN. If you’re able to find this unique Pau Gasol rookie card, you’ll see a beautiful USA postmark and the Memphis postal stamp in the upper right corner, similarly to a postcard.

2001 Fleer NBA Hoops Hot Prospects Future Swatch Pau Gasol #83

This Pau Gasol RC is one of the rare rookie cards for Pau. It is not the most expensive one, but is still deemed a premium Pau Gasol rookie card.

Numbered to 1000, the Pau Gasol #83 is part of the 2001 NBA Hoops Hot Prospects basketball set. The card is designed as the key area — or the free throw lane, with the team name and player’s number at the top of the key, and player’s image above the free throw line.

The card features a player-worn jersey, which is placed below the free throw line. Player’s name is seen on the bottom of the card, just under the NBA Hoops Hot Prospects logo.

As we mentioned, this Pau Gasol rookie piece is a rare find, and is one of the notable rookie cards for the Spaniard big man. So if you see one in the open market, make sure to consider adding it to your collection.


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