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Patrick Mahomes likes doubling down. In February, the 27-year-old Kansas City Chiefs quarterback famously pushed through an ankle injury and a sizable halftime deficit to clinch his second Super Bowl victory in six seasons. Despite his immense potential value as a free agent, Mahomes has pledged himself to the Chiefs for the next decade; his current $503 million contract is the biggest in NFL history.
And with crypto, too, the two-time Super Bowl MVP appears to embrace commitment: Whereas other sports superstars have shied away from associating with the increasingly PR-toxic sector, Mahomes is finding new ways to dive further in.
Mahomes announced a collaboration with Azuki this week, and in the words of one NFT holder, he has been “Azuki-fied”—meaning his likeness has been converted into a limited edition trading card from the anime-styled NFT brand.
Never thought I’d see Patrick Mahomes Azuki-fied but this art is fire AF 🔥
Cool collab that gets more eyes on Azuki in a wider sports and collectibles market. pic.twitter.com/3ao56R8WVn
— SteveG. (@SteveG60117) August 21, 2023
The one-of-one card will feature in a series of NFTs issued by Azuki in collaboration with Museum of Mahomes, a new NFT platform from the star quarterback that is purportedly set to release a whopping 15,000 NFTs next month.
The partnership between Mahomes and Azuki comes at a curious time for both parties. Mahomes is riding the crest of a near-unprecedented wave of mainstream success and adoration; Azuki, meanwhile, is attempting to move past a disastrous summer that saw the brand’s credibility within the crypto community threatened by a series of unforced errors. In the last two months alone, Azuki’s floor price has plummeted over 79%, per CoinGecko.
And yet, Mahomes is here for the ride. This isn’t the superstar athlete’s first crypto rodeo: the quarterback netted $3.7 million at the height of the early 2021 NFT craze with his own series of digital collectibles.
He previously endorsed crypto projects like VirtualStax, an NFT trading card brand that allegedly claimed it would generate $97 billion in revenue within three years despite having never released any products; the company has since been accused of fraud and misleading investors.
In the wake of the highly visible and spectacularly bizarre collapse of FTX last November, a slew of lawsuits have targeted celebrities and professional athletes who promoted the crypto exchange and other allegedly fraudulent crypto firms.
Stars including Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Shaq, and Larry David are currently ensnared in litigation they can’t seem to shake; suffice to say, mega-celebrities have all but abandoned projects that prominently feature crypto or crypto-affiliated elements.
But not Mahomes. Despite the potential risks to his mammoth reserves of social and financial capital, the star athlete is plunging ever-further into the on-chain depths. Say what you will about the advisability of such a move—but you can’t deny the man’s grindset.