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A guide to collecting the best Michael Jordan cards

Michael Jordan shadow cards - a visual guide

Sometimes known as cameo cards, Jordan shadow cards feature a photo where MJ can be seen in the background - fun to collect and mostly readily available to buy online.
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It was always fun to carefully pore over our cards as young collectors back in the early 90’s. Only able to buy the occasional pack here and there meant new cards were few and far between sometimes so my friends and I had to appreciate what we had.

One aspect of this was checking the backgrounds of the photos used in cards - sometimes you’d see a crowd member replicated, sometimes an official was missing a limb and other times you’d see one of your favourite players featured in the background - or shadow - of another players card. These shadow cards were the most exciting finds!

I was reminded of these finds back in 2018 when Panini accidentally included Michael Jordan in the background of an Optic Scottie Pippen and again when the same error occurred with the Rodman Winning Ticket the following year. Due to an exclusive license with Upper Deck, Panini is forbidden to include Jordan’s likeness in any trading card - an issue Topps sorted out with an airbrush that time they erased MJ from a John Starks card.

It turns out I wasn’t alone in my appreciation of Michael Jordan shadow cards and there has been an abundance of chat among collectors in the years since.

Perhaps the overall increase in Michael Jordan cards values we’ve seen the last few years has contributed to the interest in shadow cards. Usually shadow cards are abundant base cards with sub dollar price tags meaning you can put together a nice collection of them for change. This is especially true with stores like Burbank Sports Cards offering millions of cards for sale meaning you can combine postage on any number of base cards.

Finally - due to the nature of aggressive defensive play - there are some fantastic flying action shots including one apparent face slap!

TL;DR - just show me the Jordan shadow cards!

Checklist of Michael Jordan shadow cards featuring MJ in the background.