Last updated: November 16, 2021
With the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in recent times, it should come as no surprise that big businesses are getting involved. Any industry worth billions will always cast its eye over other industries picking up traction.
With that in mind, then, it should come as no surprise that the National Basketball Association (NBA) is involved in NFTs.
Their own version, Top Shot, are some of the most popular NFTs around at the moment. Sports fans want to own the precious rights to some of the most iconic shots in world basketball. And that has led to the development of NBA NFTs.
You can find the NBA NFT collection sold online via the Top Shot package. This is the official page that sells clips, images, and other digital collectibles to do with the NBA.
Whether it’s images of a rookie LeBron James or footage of Zion Williamsons first ever score in the NBA, you can find so many different options. Special plays, specific ATOs, alley-oops, title-winning shots; you name it, you can find an NBA NFT to match up with the purchase you make.
If you want to know more about NBA NFTs, this guide should assist in filling you in on everything you might need to know.
Who created NBA Top Shot?
So, the NBA NFT system, NBA Top Shot, was opened up as a joint venture between the NBA itself and Dapper Laps (more on that here). This is a blockchain-based sports platform that allows fans of basketball (or collectors with an eye for value) to buy, sell, and then trade their own unique versions of official video highlight packages.
These packages, as mentioned above, could be anything. It could be the first shots of latest No. 1 draft picks, like Cade Cunningham, or it could be shots of a legend, like a Kevin Durant or a Kyrie Irving, scoring important plays.
It could be clips of a particularly pleasing finish, or a great block. In short, there is no limit; if someone wants to find something to collect about a basketball game, it could become part of NBA Top Shot.
This digital marketplace provides fans and sports memorabilia collectors with the chance to own these unique moments.
Thanks to how the blockchain system works, those involved in NBA Top Shot are able to provide users with the chance to buy the images and footage they want.
When did NBA Top Shot launch?
Most NFT collectors want to get in on the earliest possible level of opportunity, and NBA Top Shot is still young enough to do so.
It was first conceptualized in 2019 before it was then developed across much of 2020 ahead of the release in 2021. Already, the NBA Top Shot platform has close to a million registered users.
This means a million people, or close to a million, who are buying, selling, and trading NBA NFTs. The launch, then, has been a spectacular success as people can now start trading on the potential popularity of famous moments from NBA seasons past and present.
Is NBA Top Shot easy to use?
Unlike other NFT platforms and communities, NBA Top Shot is designed to have a very low barrier for entry. Even those with vastly limited technical know-how could buy, sell, and trade NBA NFTs.
They have designed this so that the need to fully understand and grasp the intricacies of NFTs is not required. You can simply enjoy the experience by using the basic instructions provided on the NBA Top Shot website.
So, compared to other collector platforms, NBA Top Shot has been designed to be very user-friendly.
With that in mind, many sports fans are now becoming NFT collectors on the back of and strength of the NFT market here.
They soon see the potential and get to understand the specific terminologies which are used on a daily basis. This has a significant impact on helping people to become more confident and more fluent in their use of the NFT marketplaces which exist.
By making sure that people who are unfamiliar with blockchain tech can get involved, NBA Top Shot has opened its doors to a much larger audience than comparative platforms.
Given the massive history of sports collectibles and memorabilia, too, there is already a massive audience of people who love and desire to own sporting mementos.
So, NBA Top Shot plays into this massively. It has developed a range of innovative features, too, which all play a huge role in opening its doors even wider.
The NBA Top Shot tiers
Like most other platforms today, NBA Top Shot offers people the chance to buy its own specific items, known as “Moments.”
These Moments are NFTs of game shots, game clips, highlights, and other clips. They also tend to contain statistical details about the player, including the game and the players involved in the clip itself.
Each Moment comes with its own code implanted, and a fixed total supply cap. It uses the Flow blockchain system to help make sure that the value of each NBA Top Shot item can be properly secured and managed.
At the time of writing, though, there are ‘tiers’ of NBA Top Shots that you can buy from. This means that you get various different options, and the five tiers at the time of writing include:
- Genesis Ultimate. These have just one copy that exists, and they are only going to be available through a host of specific NBA Top Shot dedicated events, typically based around seasonal landmarks.
- Platinum Ultimate. Like the above, these provide you with special edition NBA NFTs that are only available for a limited period of time. However, there are 3 copies as opposed to just one.
- Legendary. This is a mid-tier option and can be found in the Legendary packs. These are typically packaged with around six Common moments, three Rare moments, and one Legendary.
- Rare. Rare copies are also a big part of the NBA Top Shot system, and these packages can give you at least one rare Moment of which only a maximum of 999 copies can exist in the marketplace.
- Common. As the name implies, NBA Top Shots with common packs are the cheapest and tend to give you a bundle of nine Common moments, of which 1,000+ copies exist of each Moment available.
These, then, are the package options that you can buy Top Shot moments from. The higher the rarity, the less copies exist.
For example, Legendary items can have as little as 25 copies, but as many as 99. Rare copies can be anything from 150 copies to 999 copies. As you might imagine, the scarcity adds to the value of each Moment.
How do I buy Moments with NBA Top Shot?
To buy a Moment, you have three primary options.
You can use the Purchase option to buy the above package styles. This gives you access to a random assortment of potential Moments, with the chance to pick out something extremely rare amid the copies of items that exist in huge quantities.
Naturally, the higher rarity of a Moment means that it is likely to be more expensive to actually buy in the first place.
1. Purchasing via packs
The most common place to get your Moments from are the Packs that are listed above. These are bought directly from the NBA Top Shot website.
They are like trading cards; you buy a deck and what you get out of the pack is only determined in quantity.
For example, certain packages will give you X Common, Y Rare, and Z Legendary cards. The Packs can come in various themes and styles, such as holiday-themed packages or specific card packs built around young stars, veterans, and more.
Once a pack type is out of stock, though, they are out of stock forever; no more will be brought to the table, thus creating the scarcity that makes NBA Top Shot packs so worthwhile.
2. Earning via challenges
You could also get NBA Top Shot NFTs simply by taking part in the Challenges system. These Challenges are built around the simple idea of having a set amount of time to build up a specific number of Moments.
Think of it as akin to the card builder challenges in popular online video games like the FIFA Ultimate Team mode; you use a combination of other acquisitions to complete a challenge and earn a set card.
When the time runs out, the user that has all of the Moments needed to make their set will be given the challenge cards. These are often very unique cards only won in a challenge, so those taking part in challenges are usually pretty keen to keep buying packs to try and land on the specific card(s) they need to complete the set and earn their reward.
The other option is to go down the route of trading. Trades are managed through a peer to peer trading system whereby every ownership and rarity is proven and verified by the blockchain. The price set for a specific trade is down to the owner community, with the community setting what is seen as a reasonable value for each Moment out there to choose from.
The value of a card is a big part of why people collect; land the right card and it could be traded for a huge sum of cash down the line to the right person. You might not be surprised to know that P2P trading made up over 90% of the first quarter earnings for the NBA Top Shot platform.
Why are NBA Top Shot NFTs so popular?
You might wonder why someone might want to pay a set fee to ‘own’ a video clip that is available for free via media platforms like YouTube and the NBA League Pass.
However, think of it more like having a collectible item that is a mix between owning video footage and owning a trading card.
Also, unlike other NFT platforms, NBA Top Shot intends to grow to add a more gamified approach to the use of NFTs.
This will introduce other ways to help expand the user base, add more value to collectibles, and find better ways for basketball fans to interact with each other on this particular platform.
Indeed, the fact that NBA players are getting involved further validates the NFT experience. Players have begun trading real-life opportunities, such as giving fans courtside seats at games or a bespoke game jersey, in exchange for Moments.
Collecting sports items is often done in a way to help bring collectors closer to the stars of the sport they follow. This, then, introduces a whole new level of interaction with the stars at the top.
Is there anything to be concerned about with NBA Top Shot?
The main issue with NBA Top Shot is the clarity aspect.
Some are still not sure what their money is actually being spent on in the first place. The NBA still owns that footage; the Moment you bought can still be broadcast on TV and so on – so what are you buying?
Some compare it to owning a trading card.
It’s important to keep in mind that the platform behind NBA Top Shot has a very strict Terms of Service and it reserves the right to destroy any Moment it believes is breaking those TOS agreements.
So, the best way to think about NBA Top Shot ownership is that you are buying the “license” (AKA token) to say you own a specific piece of NBA history. If you break terms or the like, though, that license can be revoked.
The only other confusion around NBA Top Shot revolves around how payments are overseen.
The platform has seen hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of sales, but less than a fraction of this (around $19m by June 2021) had actually been withdrawn. Some, then, worry that their ‘life-changing’ collectible might actually be much harder to trade in and turn into an actual monetary value.
Withdrawals can be prolonged, time-consuming, and subject to a large number of checks.
However, with all withdrawals capable of being taken out in a Fiat currency or a digital asset, it takes time to properly review each transaction to ensure that it is entirely legitimate and legal.
As time goes on, though, this is expected to improve.
For now, then, users can point to the NBA Top Shot system and see it as a new way to engage with fellow basketball fans. Who knows, you might end making an NFT trade with the very same basketball star whom you own a Moment of!