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Is NBA Top Shot The Next Wave of Collecting? Our Detailed Review

When the worlds of collectibles, sports, and digital art came together in a crash-course collision, NBA Top Shot was born.

Or at least, that was the hope of the NBA, who created NBA Top Shot in what seems like an attempt to ride the waves of excitement generated by cryptocurrency, fantasy sports, and sports card collecting.

If you’re new to NBA Top Shot, don’t worry. Everybody is, seeing the platform is still in its beta period.

Still, that hasn’t stopped over 40,000 people from joining this new craze, which has already done $31 million in sales in just a matter of weeks.

While it still is too early to tell whether Top Shop is a quick fad or here to stay, we’re going to give you an inside look at all the big questions so you can best decide if this new sports collecting platform is a good investment for you.

An Intro to NBA Top Shot

You’re not the only person wondering, “What is NBA Top Shot?” With all new platforms, there’s a lot to unpack, and we’re here to save you the work.

According to the NBA, NBA Top Shot is “a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, sell and trade numbered versions of specific, officially-licensed video highlights.”

Said differently, it’s a new platform that intends to recreate a sports trade card market based on principles of cryptocurrency, and the currency is NBA highlights.

In many ways, the platform seems very similar to the Panini Blockchain initiative, with the major difference being that NBA Top Shot is selling digital basketball highlights and Blockchain is selling digital cards across major sports.

The idea came in July of 2019, and NBA Top Shot has been in the lab ever since—Dapper Labs, specifically, or the blockchain company emphasizing fun and collectability.  The intent of NBA Top Shot, according to a joint statement, was to provide a new way for NBA fans to collect “jaw-dropping plays and unforgettable highlights” that they own forever.

NBA Top Shot Sells Highlights In Packs

Even if you’ve never worked for Topps or Panini, you have an idea for how the cards hit the market: they are designed, a print-run is determined, they are printed, and then packaged and distributed.

With NBA Top Shot, this isn’t the case.

But how are NBA highlights converted into currency?

According to the post, “the NBA cuts the highlights and then Dapper Labs decides how many of each highlight they are going to sell and number them. They place each highlight into digital packs, just like regular trading cards, and sell the packs on the official NBA Top Shot website for prices ranging from $9 to $230. The pack prices depend on the quality of highlight, the stardom level of the player and the exclusiveness of the card. Once you purchase a pack, those highlights go into your encrypted, secure highlight wallet to be “showcased” or re-sold on the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.”

Sound familiar? There’s a lot of overlap between sports cards and the process with the highlights, including the numbering and limited “print runs” of NBA Top Shot clips.

The Numbers Behind NBA Top Shot

You might be wondering “are people really buying these?”

The short answer is yet. Lots of people, even.

Of course, the NBA Top Shot website boasts 40,000 current followers, but there’s also solid evidence to suggest that these followers are eating up the NBA Top Shot product.

For one, Dapper Labs has struggled to keep the packs in stock recently, selling out 25,000 units each of four different base pack releases, numbers 6-9.  On top of that, a new package release has crashed the NBA Top Shot website because of high levels of traffic.

Perhaps even more impressive, however, is just how much some of the clips are bringing on the market. According to Action Network, there have already been five sales on the global, open, peer-to-peer, always-on marketplace worth over $20,000 U.S. dollars, including a specific LeBron James highlight that recently sold for over $71,000.”

The highlight of Ja Morant’s iconic dunk over Aron Baynes from his rookie season is being sold by four different collectors for $100,000 each. If it sells at this price, it will be the first six-figure sale for an NBA Top Shot clip, but it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Reasons To Invest In NBA Top Shot

NBA Top Shot checks enough boxes that it is worth considering as an investment, especially for a sports card fan and collector.

  1. Just like sports cards with parallels and variations, NBA Top Shot clips have tiers of scarcity, and more rare clips can drive a high asking price. From common to “platinum ice” and “genesis” tiers, the edition size of the clips is the equivalent to print runs of certain cards. Scarcity is driving high prices for these rare tiers.
  2. Additionally, NBA Top Shot has an active community, which is a crucial part of any collectible fan base. Hotshot has several threads on Blowout cards that include constant trading or selling of clips, questions and advice, and other user-generated feedback or thoughts.
  3. Trading and buying the clips is easy, as well. Since the transactions are done through the site, the risk of scammers is minimized. There is no shipping, no wait times, and no fees for selling the highlights.
  4. Many NBA Top Shot enthusiasts consider it fun. One member of the thread said, “The moments are more interactive. I can share them and enjoy them a bit more than my other cards,” and the sentiment is echoed by others in the thread. While digital highlights are unmistakably different than sports cards, some elements of the NBA Top Shot clips might resonate with some collectors in even better ways than cards.
  5. Potentially adding to the fun, NBA Top Shot is already teasing a new mode called “NBA Top Shot Hardcourt,” which boasts an interactive experience for collectors. The NBA Top Shot main page simply teases the idea with a coming soon message that reads: “bring your Moments to the Hardcourt and use your collection to supercharge your team. Play against friends and other competitors and prove you’re the GOAT.”

Reasons To Be Cautious About Investing In Top Shot

There are several reasons not to go all-on on NBA Top Shot. At least not yet.

  1. Time-sensitivity is the headlining reason. The platform has not been around long enough for any kind of sound decisions to be made about whether or not it is here to stay, or if the warm welcome will last. It could fall off the map next month, or it could entirely absorb the sports card market in a decade.  We just don’t know. Don’t let this uncertainty prevent you from investing in the up-and-coming platform, but remember the riskiness when deciding how much to invest.
  2. Another drawback is that it’s pricey. Most of the packs cost $29, so it’s easy to see how the expense can add up very quickly. On top of this, you buy a pack and get nothing physical for it—no tangible card, like in the sports card world—so that makes it more volatile. People can go watch the same clips on YouTube… the questions of whether or not they want to own the clips remains to be seen.
  3. There’s a distance between the collector and the game that can never be overcome. With sports cards, collectors can get autographs or game-used cards. There’s a special moment in holding a card that your favorite player signed—a celebration of the connectedness of the world thanks to sport bringing everybody together. With NBA Top Shot, collectors are only buying highlights. There will never be a more “personal” experience to connect fans and players.

Final Thoughts

Only time will tell if NBA Top Shot has staying power or if it’s just a fad, but either way, you should check out the new platform and judge for yourself.

Approach it with caution, as NBA Top Shot is much more high-risk, high-reward than sports cards based on its short life thus far, but NBA Top Shot has gained enough traction and sold enough packs that card collectors and cryptocurrency-enthusiasts alike should keep an eye on it as it continues to carve out its niche in the collectibles market.


Image Source: https://ca.nba.com/news/what-is-nba-top-shot-explaining-the-blockchain-nba-highlight-collectables/18nram5ye1ub01hres3lkk3xvd

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.
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