NBA Top Shot, an online marketplace for blockchain-based digital collectibles, doesn’t care that there’s no Rookie—er, Rising Stars—game this NBA All Star weekend.

It’s gone and produced thousands of dollars’ worth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) anyway.

Rising Stars is an annual game between American and international first- and second-year NBA players. Due to COVID restrictions, there’s no game this year. But the National Basketball Association today released the rosters that fans would have seen. They include New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant.

Seeing an opportunity to increase revenue in an increasingly hot market for NFTs, NBA Top Shot, which is partnered with the league, is selecting highlights for each of the team members and turning them into a single set of digital collectibles on March 7, the day of the All Star Game. 

NFTs are digital assets that can be bought and sold—but not duplicated or divided. They often come in the form of original artwork or trading cards, and their authenticity and ownership can be verified on a blockchain (typically Ethereum).

To provide some context of how valuable the company’s products are, a Top Shot NFT of Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball is currently going for $4,495. You can get a highlight of Rui Hachimura making a layup for $150.

February 2021 trading volumes topped $340 million in February after doing just $12 million in volume two months earlier. Artists like Grimes are publishing quasi-music videos in NFT format, mega-band Kings of Leon is releasing its next album as one, and even Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are using the trend to stay ahead of the pop culture curve.

But NBA Top Shot is currently the king. (Sorry, LeBron.) Basketball fans devoured highlights in NFT format in February. The $225 million in volume accounted for 65% of total NFT volumes, according to Dapp Radar.

So, minting more is an easy way to score points with fans.


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NBA All Star Weekend to Capitalize on NFT Craze

by Joe T. Stanley
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