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Upcoming battle royale shooter game StrayShot has signed a deal with NBA players LaMelo and Lonzo Ball—as well as their family’s lifestyle brand, Big Baller Brand (BBB)—to include the brothers and the rest of their prominent family as playable NFT characters, developer iBloxx Studios announced Thursday.
More details on the playable LaMelo Ball and Lonzo Ball NFT characters will be revealed after the free-to-play game fully launches, according to a statement. The PC game—previously called 0xBattleGround—is currently in public beta. iBloxx CEO Domenik Maier told Decrypt via email that StrayShot could be fully released as early as December this year, but will more likely launch in February 2024.
The LaMelo and Lonzo character NFTs will wear military-style outfits as well as BBB-branded attire, according to Maier and images viewed by Decrypt. The studio also plans to release licensed Ball NFTs outside of the game, as well, according to the announcement. No release date has been revealed for any of the Ball NFTs.
LaVar Ball, the players’ outspoken father and BBB founder and CEO, will also appear as a game character, alongside his wife Tina Ball and youngest son LiAngelo Ball, who plays in the NBA G League.
“My boys and me will not only dominate the basketball court,” LaVar claimed in a statement, “we will also dominate the battleground of StrayShot!”
The 22-year-old LaMelo is currently a point guard for the Charlotte Hornets and was ranked among ESPN’s top 50 NBA players this year. Lonzo, 25, plays for the Chicago Bulls and previously the Los Angeles Lakers, but is currently facing a knee injury that is expected to keep him off the court for a second straight season.
While it might seem like a surprising collaboration, the Ball brothers are actually big gamers. Lonzo plays video games like NBA 2K and Electronic Arts’ football game Madden in his spare time, and LaMelo used to play Halo on an Xbox console in the past.
StrayShot is using Ethereum scaling network SKALE for its blockchain transactions and will record “all major aspects of the game on-chain,” SKALE Labs co-founder and CEO Jack O’Holleran told Decrypt via email.
All in-game items—including weapons, character outfits, and special playable characters in StrayShot—will be NFTs that are recorded on-chain when players pick them up, O’Holleran added. However, he said that in-game transactions occur behind-the-scenes in a way that does not require gamers to sign with their crypto wallets.
StrayShot’s NFTs can be won in-game and later sold, O’Holleran said, and the battle royale shooter will also offer an ERC-20 token that players can win via tournaments.
The Ball family’s BBB brand faced some controversy back in 2018 when it reportedly received an “F” score from the non-profit organization Better Business Bureau. The brand now appears to have improved its rating to a “C+” score, but the Bureau still lists what it calls “a pattern of complaints” on its website.
In 2020, the brand was relaunched, and LaVar Ball claimed to Barstool Sports that Big Baller Brand was “worth a billion.” The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Decrypt's GG regarding the Better Business Bureau complaints or the claimed valuation.