How digitally buying and trading NBA basketball highlights is taking the collecting world by storm

Here's the lowdown on NBA Top Shot
Posted at 5:06 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 18:31:25-04

(WXYZ) — Since the start of the pandemic, the rise in interest of sports trading cards and collectables has boomed. Millions of dollars are being traded for rare cards all over the world.

But as technology often does, there’s a new digital way to buy and sell collectables and it is taking the collecting world by storm.

It's called NBA Top Shot and these digitized cards, or moments as NBA Top Shot calls them, is causing a rush to see what it’s all about, with the potential of hitting it big.

“It is a perfect marriage of taking that nostalgia factor and almost mixing it with gambling, where you’re rolling the dice on something, prospecting it like a stock but at the same time it's rejuvenating my love for the NBA,” NBA Top Shot collector Scott McNab told me.

Scott McNab introduced me to NBA Top Shot. It’s a blockchain build by Dapper Labs in partnership with the NBA to mint moments from games played, and make those moments into NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

Basically you own a serial numbered video clip of a player that is one-of-a-kind, and you own it. Not unlike opening a physical pack of cards and pulling a rare card, it then potentially has value to other collectors.

“You’re taking that whole crypto, blockchain, all the different buzz words that go with it and combining it with the most popular, image driven sport on the planet,” McNab added.

“It becomes difficult to see whether this is real or not,” senior executive producer of Action Network Darren Rovell said.

Darren Rovell is the king of collectables, since joining the Action Network, Rovell has reported on all the big money collectables that have sold, and he thinks that NBA Top Shot is making a great first impression.

“Two-hundred million in market places sales over essentially the past two and a half months is a crazy number,” Rovell added.

“We’re essentially the natural progression and the future of trading cards,” Community Lead of Dapper Labs Jacob Eisenberg said.

Jacob Eisenberg is one of the minds behind NBA Top Shot, and its exponential growth since its inception even caught them a little off guard. The demand has been off the charts as it’s still in in Beta version, and trying to wrap you head around paying moment for a digital clip is something many struggle to do.

“One of the most common criticisms or feedback is why would I buy a moment for ‘X’ dollars when I can just got to youtube to watch it? And to that I say to everyone, why would you buy a LeBron James rookie card for ‘X’ dollars when you can go to google, type in that rookie card, print it out, frame it on your wall,” Eisenberg said.

“Do I own the highlight? No, you do not get a dividend from it. You don’t get credit when Sports Center mentions it, you don’t get money when people run it on Youtube, but you don’t own the photo to the 1952 Mickey Mantle either, you own that specific card and have the right to sell,” Rovell added.

As the interest continues to rise, more and more people are starting to see the value in NBA Top Shot, but they don’t see this as a vessel to make a quick buck. Adding to your collection goes hand in hand with value, but the creators are quick to point out that making money shouldn’t be your only goal if you decide to partake. That said, there is money to be made here as the global interest continues to rise and scarcity remains the number one factor in driving values.

“I look at it almost like the arcade, where I would go to the arcade as a kid and if I was great at all the games at the arcade I could theoretically rack up enough tickets to then go to the prize booth and redeem the Playstation, that’s every kids dream right? But I’m not going to the arcade to win a Playstation, I’m going to the arcade to have fun and maybe if I’m good at the games I can have a big win in the process,” Eisenberg said.

This may all feel a bit overwhelming at first, but once you play around on the website and start to realize how to navigate it, along with a little bit of luck, you too can enter the next wave of collectables and perhaps get a moment that in time, could be worth just as much, if not more, than the hard copies we ofter hear about being sold at auctions.

“You’re far from too late, I can tell you that much, it feels that way when you get it, I felt too late when I got in in October/November, I felt like I was too late to the party, and I wasn’t, people who got in in January felt like they were too late to the party and they’re not. They polled the users on Instagram that follow the NBA, and 85% of the people who follow the NBA have never heard of NBA Top Shot, to put it in perspective,” McNab added.

There’s a ton of resources to read up more on what NBA Top Shot is, how to get involved and how to navigate the market place when buying or selling, but one this is for certain, NFTs aren’t going away anytime soon, as the NFL has already expressed interest in making their own version of these types of collectables.