NFT-Trailblazing NBA draws fans to Metaverse

There’s a fair enough argument to be made that the National Basketball Association played a vital role in helping bring NFTs from the crypto world into the mainstream.

Non-fungible tokens are everywhere now, as celebrities from rapper Ice Cube to artist Jeff Koons jump on the trend while brands from Coca-Cola to Louis Vuitton dive into the metaverse.

See also: PYMNTS Metaverse series: the marks are there. Will the eyeballs follow?

But the NBA Top Shots NFT line, launched in late 2020, was the first to penetrate the mainstream in a big way, as flagship video tokens attracted fans who had never even dabbled in crypto – helped by promotions from league as announcers yelling “it’s going to be a Top Shot” after a particularly spectacular slam dunk.

It’s worth noting, then, that the NBA is expanding beyond its Top Shots partnership with sports-focused NFT developer Dapper Labs to create NBAxNFTwhich at the moment is a playoff themed promotion with a Twitter account and Discord Server – the crypto social media chat channel of choice – as well as a series of brand new applications under the Association’s banner. The latter covers everything from NFT tickets to collectibles to virtual jerseys.

“We feature everything that intersects basketball and Web3, including NFTs, games and the metaverse,” the league tweeted.

While Top Shots is no longer the hottest of the hot NFT lines, they are still a bestseller and top 10 line according to DappRadar, which has had over 16 million sales and resales of Top Shots NFTS, which have generated $885 million – much of it not for the NBA – at an average price of $55.

The NBA laid the foundation for much of today’s sports league activity, from Major League Baseball to Soccer’s. premier league.

Read more: Home run or ball foul? Mickey Mantle’s Rookie Card NFT Photo Earns $470,000

Dipping on the Metaverse

And of course, the basketball league is preparing to at least leap into the metaverse, acquiring a pair of domain names – NBA.eth and theassociationnft.eth on the Ethereum name service. This is a top-level domain heavily involved in Web3, the scorching but for now dubious next generation of the Internet which proponents say will be a decentralized version of today’s web where personal data will be controlled by people freed from the tyranny of big tech. Or so the theory goes.

See more : Web3: Is there a “there” over there? And if so, where is he?

The NBA has made rapid progress in its adoption of crypto, which started with the outright pre-NFT rejection (at least as far as the public is concerned) of Brooklyn Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie’s 2019 battle to tokenize $13.5 million of his $34 million contract, sell crypto tokens entitling the owner to a cut – the selling point being the interest plus the possibility of an additional profit if he renegotiates the third year of the three-year contract.

He was helped by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who not only launched a team line of digital collectibles, but began accepting bitcoin for tickets and merchandise as early as 2019 and eventually made sensation by adding the trendy memecoin dogecoin. It turns into a jaw-dropping series of stadium naming deals, with the Miami Heat bringing in $135 million from the newly renamed FTX Arena and $700 million from the Arena formerly known as Staples. Center, aka the LA Lakers home field. .

But jumping into NFTs as soon as the cryptocurrency/art medium went from obscurity to powerhouse during 2021, the NBA is now ahead when it comes to sports leagues.

So the potential for a serious leap into a metaverse so far largely dominated by brand marketing with big secondary light in live concerts, six- and seven-figure avatar collectibles like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, and the game could be a preview of how other leagues will come to use both NFTs and the metaverse as a whole.

The obvious step being that if millions of music fans are willing to step into a metaverse to watch an NFT version of rapper Travis Scott perform in the Fortnite MMO game/metaverse, the same could work well for live matches .

In the meantime, Lakers star LeBron James – who owns the two most expensive NFT Top Shots, plus a Web3 development deal – dropped a range of NFTs in March.

And as the regular season draws to a close, the Golden State Warriors have spear a line of playoff-themed NFTs that will change and unlock new content based on the team’s progress on the field.



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