The National Basketball Association has long been known as one of the most progressive sports leagues in the world. They’re continuing their forward-thinking today with the announcement of the new blockchain-based game, NBA Top Shot.
The NBA, along with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), has teamed up with Dapper Labs to create a blockchain-based marketplace for NBA highlights. Fans will be able to “collect, trade, and own some of the greatest moments in league history on blockchain,” according to a statement from Dapper Labs.
We’re teaming up with the @NBA & @TheNBPA to bring basketball to blockchain gaming. The team that brought you @CryptoKitties and @CHZWZRDS now presents, @nba_topshot. Sign up and help shape the product before we launch: https://t.co/31J6rRCbf2 pic.twitter.com/ejl15EHTkf
— Dapper Labs (@dapper_labs) July 31, 2019
Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, explains the idea.
“Through NBA Top Shot basketball fans can engage with their favorite players, teams, and each other in entirely new ways. We use the latest in blockchain technology to create assets and experiences that are guaranteed limited edition and authentic, not to mention portable and permanent in a way nothing digital has ever been before.”
Highlights will be converted into digital tokens, or collectibles, which can then be traded, owned forever, or used to compete with other users in in-chain tournaments.
Avenue for Mass Adoption
Dapper Labs has already achieved major success in the digital collectibles arena with the hugely popular game CryptoKitties. At one point, some of the digital felines were selling for over $100K while trading activity clogged up the whole Ethereum network.
With the basketball league’s massive audience available, Dapper Labs will have a chance to expose the blockchain and token economy to millions of people at a time. Single NBA games have recorded over 40 million viewers as recently as 2016.
Even if the league has experienced slight dips in TV viewership since then, the NBA has never been bigger on social media. According to a report by ESPN, NBA players were outshined only by soccer players when it comes to the most famous athletes in the world.
😱 HANDLES WEEK THREAD 😱
To celebrate #NBAHandlesWeek, we count down the TOP 20 HANDLES of the 2018-19 season!
At #20, @drose loses the defender with the left-to-right crossover for the @Timberwolves in October. pic.twitter.com/bbQabLF1GA
— NBA (@NBA) July 29, 2019
The NBA is Perfect for Blockchain Technology
Meanwhile, NBA Twitter is a growing phenomenon. TJ Adeshola, head of Twitter’s sports league partnerships, said,
“NBA Twitter just has this really special connectivity to it that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
NBA fans are more loyal, younger, and more technology-savvy than fanbases of most other sports. Josh Goodstadt, Executive VP of Licensing for THINK450, the commercial arm of the NBPA, sees the potential synergy.
“NBA Top Shot is an entirely new way for fans to connect with their favorite athletes. We believe blockchain technology creates a truly unique product that fans can collect, manage and engage within a fun environment, and we are excited to partner with Dapper Labs to introduce these groundbreaking digital assets to the NBA community.”
If Dapper Labs can find a way to recreate their CryptoKitties magic with the NBA audience, blockchain adoption could get the mainstream boost it’s been thirsting for. With professional basketball players already touting bitcoin, teams mining for crypto, and legends pumping altcoins, it’s hard to miss the potential.
NBA Top Shot collectibles are scheduled for release this fall. The game is set to follow in early 2020.