Boxes of 1986-87 Fleer basketball could be had for as low as $10 upon release. In 2020, they have fetched as high as $91,000 a piece. They have outperformed Microsoft Stock (which had its IPO in 1986) by several multiples. Simply put, 1986-87 Fleer boxes are among the all-time great investments. But surely very few people originally bought them with the expectation that their value would verge on six figures a few decades down the line. Instead, the great majority of 1986-87 Fleer packs were opened, the cards were yanked out, and then they were jammed into binder pages or wedged in between bike spokes.
1986-97 Fleer boasts probably the greatest "rookie" class of any basketball product. It includes Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Isiah Thomas, and Dominique Wilkins. Because there were no NBA-licensed, pack-issued products in between 1981-82 Topps and 1986-87 Fleer (but note that the Star Company produced short printed sets, distributed in team bags, in the interim), 1986-87 Fleer's checklist is majority "rookies." The Hobby debate rages on as to whether the 1984-85 Star #101 or the 1986-87 Fleer #57 is the "true" Michael Jordan Rookie card. (Below, you will find a link to the Wax Museum podcast's discussion of the 1984-85 Star vs. 1986-87 Fleer debate.)
There isn't much flashiness or intricacy in 1986-87 Fleer basketball. The design is colorful but simple. The product consists of merely a 132-card base set and an 11-card sticker set. The pack collation is predictable. It is a representation of the Hobby in the mid-1980s. And it is one of the most important sets ever produced.