One of the biggest parts of sports fan culture is the buying of merchandise. This could be the jersey of your favourite player, the sneakers they endorse, and so on. This practise has existed for decades and continues to endure and evolve with the times.
Now, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced a new and updated way for basketball fans to get closer to their favourite teams and players; NFTs. As per an official announcement, the NBA in partnership with NBPA, will be releasing a collection of basketball-related NFTs called The Association NFT.
The New Trading Card
The Association NFT will be launching on April 22, 2022, and will consist of 18,000 NFTs that will be minted for the 2022 NBA Playoffs participants. Out of this, 75 NFTs will be minted for the 240 rostered players for this season.
These NFTs, unlike some sports-related web3 endeavours, will not cost any money to mint. Once the NFTs are minted, their appearance will not remain static throughout the season. Instead, they will change based on how the players they are designed after perform.
This will be seen in the frames of the NFTs themselves, which are designed to look like trading cards. When a player manages a sweep or upset, for example, the frame will be changed to reflect this.
Out of the 18,000 NFTs that will be released, 2,000 will go to those who already hold Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot NFTs. As for the remaining 16,000 tokens, they will be given to users who first sign up via the NBA Discord group and connect their NFT wallets.
While the NFTs themselves are free, there are gas fees associated with minting them and these have to be paid for using ETH. Once fans are able to get the NFTs in question, they will not know which player they have received until the reveal on April 22, 2022.
This adds another element of mystery to the sale and this has whipped fans into a frenzy, with whitelist spots completely taken shortly after the announcement.
NFTs for Sports Fans
Sports fans have always bought collectables of their favourite players and teams, and trading cards have been used since the 1930s. Now, they seem to be getting an upgrade via NFTs.
In many ways, this new initiative by the NBA taps into many parts of sports fan culture. Fans can get NFT cards of beloved players and thanks to the changing appearance of the cards based on the real-life players’ performance, can enjoy the competitive side of the sport as well.
Clearly, this has proven to be popular with fans, seeing as the whitelist filled up so quickly. The Association NFT being backed by an organization as powerful in sport as the NBA could also lead to more of the same in other sports.
If we’re lucky, each new season could be marked by sports fans clamouring to get their hands on the news batch of NFTs.