Two years after the release of the NBA Top Shot project, Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson releases his first licensed NFTs for purchase. The Top Shot program has seen an increase in trades since the beginning of the year and is planning to expand even further after Johnson’s entry.
The NFT Top Shot project has announced the release of new collector’s NFTs featuring great moments from the career of Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The release will feature five moments for fans to collect and trade. The licensed videos was released on June 7.
In an interview with sports magazine The Athletic, Johnson spoke of the NFTs as “another way of those memories living forever.” He further explained how the NFT platform allows young and old fans to relive their favorite moments in an affordable and personal way.
The Top Shot Project
The Top Shot project was born in 2020 as a partnership between the NBA, the NBA Players Association, and Dapper Labs. Dapper Labs created the Flow blockchain, on which users of Top Shot can purchase and trade “moments” in the form of NFTs. The moments act as a modern and digital version of trading cards and feature legendary game videos from modern and historic players.
The NFTs can be bought using cryptocurrencies, commonly used for gambling investments and gaming on platforms such as cherryredcasino.com and fiat currencies.
The platform releases new moments weekly, which vary in rarity, just like trading cards. The categories include Common (96.6% or 40,000 of all moments), Fandom, Rare, and Legendary. Some more rare NFTs are sold at auctions, where the most expensive ones – typically featuring dunks by LeBron James – have been bought for several hundred thousand dollars.
Replacing or Complementing Trading Cards?
The idea behind the Top Shot initiative was to function as a more modern and technological version of trading cards. Some feared that this might imply that the wildly popular trading cards that fans have collected for decades would now be replaced and forgotten. However, this is not the case. Even “Magic” Johnson himself explained in an interview that he believed the cards would still be as valuable as ever.
That being said, the NFT moments are considerably more accessible than traditional trading cards, especially as they can be bought using cryptocurrency or fiat currency. Furthermore, the online engagement events where fans can use their purchased NFTs on a global scale create a longer-lasting interest and excitement.
Top Shot’s popularity has been vulnerable to the rise and fall of the crypto market during the pandemic times. However, recently it found new ground. In January, the market increased by over 70%, which many attributes to the advertisements featuring Kevin Durant at the end of last year. After the ads were released, the project saw $53.8 million in trades in only 30 days.
The project’s vulnerability to being influenced by the volatile cryptocurrency markets has been marked as one of its downsides. Some critics have called the project a “disservice” to fans, as the encouragement to invest in a risky market comes from unregulated investment advisors. Others also point to problems with NFT marketplaces, with many Top Shot users unable to process withdrawals in the past.
There also exists an issue with speculative assets risking the teams’ reputational credibility. However, many still believe the new vertical is an opportunity to transform and revive fan engagement.
Fan Engagement for NFTs Set to Grow
There are rumors and teasers from creators Dapper Labs that there will be even more online uses for the purchased NFTs. The virtual collectibles can already be used in challenges and quests, where fans have to showcase a specific type of NFT within the time limit to receive rewards for new moments. Earlier this year, Top Shot held an auction and giveaway for VIP passes to five All-Star Games, including several benefits for Top Shot users.
The following steps for the partnerships seem to be more VIP tickets, materials such as signed merchandise, etc. There are rumors of an upcoming upgrade for user-to-user interaction in the Top Shot program. An arcade-style game called “Hardcourt” is being developed where users can utilize and customize their owned NFT moments to play against other users. There has been no set launch date for either of these releases.