The NBA and NBPA are launching a new non-fungible token (NFT) initiative, The Association NFT, where the collectible’s design will be dynamic and change over time. The appearance of the NFTs will evolve based on players’ on court performance. The more accomplished a player is throughout the season, the more their NFT will visually change.
On Friday, 18,000 NFTs will be minted of the 2022 NBA Playoffs participants, 75 for each of the 240 rostered players. Almost 2,000 of those NFTs will go to Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot NFT owners based on being some of the top collectors of each NBA team on Top Shot.
Apart from the Top Shot reserved tokens, most of the NFTs will be issued to those on an “allow list”. Fans qualify on a first-come, first-served basis by being early joiners of the NBA Discord group and connecting their digital wallet to the initiative’s website. The list is already full.
Whereas Top Shot is about video moments, the latest NBA initiative is closer to collectible cards, with a dynamic twist. The NFTs are free to mint (with the exception of Ethereum gas fees). This will likely be designed to target NBA fans as opposed to investors or NFT collecting enthusiasts. However, in reality, NFT collectors are the most likely to be the ones to know to sign up early to the Discord group.
Besides this NFT initiative, the NBA is notable for having contributed to putting sports NFTs on the map through Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot. The platform’s exponential success and sales which have reached almost $1 billion, have repeatedly made headlines and likely contributed to the NFT craze last year.
However, some view NBA Top Shot as a basketball product for NFT fans as opposed to an NFT product for basketball fans, whether or not that’s fair.
The Association NFT, in some ways, is simpler. The dynamic changes based on player performance are likely to entertain consumers who follow and understand what it means to do well on the court. And at this stage, there are few financial constraints given they are free. However, they could quickly become very expensive. But that depends on how many future NFTs are minted.
The NFTs will be minted on Ethereum with gas paid for in ETH. NBA is directing fans towards Coinbase resources to set up a digital wallet and they are an official partner of the league. However, there has been no mention of their direct involvement with The Association NFT.
Meanwhile, Candy is also entering the dynamic NFT sector in a collectibles launch with MLB. The dynamic content is more focused on statistics as opposed to visual changes, but these developments highlight a potential utility-enhancing shift in the sports NFT industry.