Golden State Warriors Become First NBA Team to Issue NFT Set

NBA Top Shot sells digital basketball highlights but no franchise has offered its own team-licensed fare. Until now.

AccessTimeIconApr 27, 2021 at 1:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:18 a.m. UTC
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The Golden State Warriors are auctioning a series of commemorative non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The sale marks the first time a U.S. professional sports team has launched official NFTs. NBA Top Shot sells digital basketball highlights on the Flow blockchain, Topps sells digital baseball cards on WAX and individual athletes hawk their logo-free digital collectibles, but no franchise has offered its own team-licensed fare. 

Closing May 1, the auction includes a mix of digital ticket stubs designed by Brazilian visual arts studio Black Madre and virtual (and physical) championship rings from the team’s Beverly Hills jeweler, President Brandon Schneider told CoinDesk. They will not feature images of the players themselves. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Warriors’ Community Foundation.

Although the NFT market has cooled from its frothy March heights, Schneider said he believes those of the National Basketball Association team are poised to succeed where others have failed.

The San Francisco-based sports team is working with Medium Rare, the content company behind National Football League player Rob Gronkowski’s NFT drop. Medium Rare co-founder Joe Silberzweig acknowledged the market has become far more saturated since Gronk fetched $1.6 million in mid-March.

“We’ve seen too many failed drops where people just put up NFTs and think the money falls from the sky,” Silberzweig told CoinDesk. “I think the market has proven that's not the case.”

The Warriors’ participation is a bet that NFTs mixed with real-world products still have some legs in the gradually cooling digital collectibles market. First-edition NFTs come with a custom ring corresponding to the championship year, and a 1-1 NFT grants its holder courtside seats.

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