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NBA Teases Ethereum NFTs for Playoffs After Launching Discord Server

The NBA is ramping up its NFT and Web3 efforts following the success of NBA Top Shot—and it’s heading to Ethereum.

3 min read
The NBA is delving deeper into NFTs and Web3. Image: Raymond Clarke/Flickr

In brief

  • The NBA has launched an NFT-centric Twitter feed and Discord server to promote various NFT and Web3 projects.
  • As part of the Discord launch, the NBA will release Ethereum NFTs to “celebrate” this season’s playoffs.

The NBA is going all in on NFTs.

Earlier this week, the NBA officially launched a new Twitter feed called NBAxNFT, where the league plans on “showcasing all things intersecting basketball and Web3, including NFTs, gaming, and the metaverse.”

As part of that initiative, the NBA has established a Discord server, which already has more than 30,000 members—and this afternoon, it announced plans to release Ethereum NFTs tied to the current season’s playoffs, which begin tomorrow.

While Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot is one of the biggest NFT projects to date, helping to establish the concept of digital sports collectibles and push NFTs into the mainstream, it now appears that the pro basketball league plans to expand into other NFT and Web3 initiatives—including Ethereum NFTs based on this season’s playoffs.

“To tip things off, we’re working on an NFT project to celebrate the NBA Playoffs,” reads the announcement. “We’re not quite ready to announce the specifics just yet—that’ll come soon.”

The post explains that the first 10,000 members of the server will be able to add an Ethereum wallet address to an allowlist by 5pm ET on Saturday, and those who make the cutoff will be “guaranteed access to mint an NFT from this project.” The NFTs will be free to mint, excluding Ethereum network gas fees.

Given that this new project is built on Ethereum, it’s unlikely that Dapper Labs and NBA Top Shot are directly involved. NBA Top Shot is built on Flow, Dapper’s own blockchain platform, which it built to handle high-volume NFT projects after facing the limitations of Ethereum with early NFT project, CryptoKitties.

Decrypt reached out to Dapper Labs to clarify any involvement in this new NBA initiative, but did not immediately hear back.

According to the NBA’s Discord server, this new NBAxNFT initiative isn’t focused on any single NFT release, but rather a variety of potential projects in the Web3 space.

“This Discord server (like @NBAxNFT on Twitter) is the NBA’s official home for basketball and Web3 fans to engage, interact, and learn more about current and future NBA projects and partnerships,” reads the announcement. “This is not limited to any single NFT project. It’s a space for this community to connect on the things they are passionate about.”

An NFT works like a blockchain-backed receipt, which proves ownership for an item. Often, they’re used for digital items like artwork, sports collectibles, and video game items. The wider NFT market generated $25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021 alone.

The NBA recently filed a United States trademark application for a brand called “The Association,” which would encompass a variety of NFT-related initiatives ranging from collectibles to game tickets and merchandise.

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