Sports NFT roundup: NBA launches playoff collections, and Tony Hawk commemorates last tricks

ByHarry Lyles Jr. ESPN logo
Friday, April 29, 2022

The Golden State Warriors became the first professional sports team to execute an NFT drop in April 2021, creating a trend that has only grown since. The Warriors currently have a playoff NFT collection.

Warriors president Brandon Schneider called it "the wave of the future" and so far he's been correct. There have been many leagues, teams and even individual athletes to dive into the world of NFTs.

Here, we'll keep you in the loop on all the latest and most interesting sports drops:

The NBA's Ethereum-based 2022 playoff NFT collection

The NBA introduced The Association NFT collection on April 19. In the initial announcement, the collection consisted of 75 NFTs per player for all teams in the 2022 NBA playoffs. That's a total of 18,000 NFTs.

However, because of issues in the mint on April 20, the size of the collection was increased from 18,000 to 30,000 NFTs. Now, the 240 players in the playoffs will have 125 NFTs.

The Association NFTs "are connected to live data feeds and computations for each respective team and player via Chainlink Oracle," according to the collection's website. "This allows each player's NFT appearance to change in an automated manner based upon the preset achievements that are written into the Galaxis smart contract."

In simpler terms, the more that a player accomplishes during the postseason, the more visual changes their NFT will receive (backgrounds, player accessories, and emojis designed by various artists).

Laremy Tunsil's draft video

On the day of the NFL draft in 2016, someone used Tunsil's Twitter account to share a 30-second video of Tunsil smoking marijuana out of a gas mask. Tunsil fell to the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him at No. 13 overall. Tunsil has since been traded to the Houston Texans and made two Pro Bowls.

Now, Tunsil says he is "officially moving on and putting this moment in the past." He is using an NFT of the moment to also support a social justice nonprofit focusing on people incarcerated due to cannabis-related crimes.

"The token is issued with the support of the video's original owner Laremy Tunsil and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Last Prisoner project," the listing reads. "The video was released without Laremy's consent on draft night in 2016 forever changing the course of Laremy's future.

"The owner of this token will forever own a unique piece of draft memorabilia."

The NFL sends fans to the draft

Five members of the NFL ALL DAY community (the league's NFT hub) were selected to be in Las Vegas for an all-access experience at the NFL draft,including travel and VIP access to events. Two fans will get to announce draft picks.

The Warriors lead the way again

It's been a year since the Warriors dropped their own collection, and on April 12, the team announced they would drop the first responsive NFT collection by a pro team.

The collection has 2,999 NFTs made up of 11 unique designs, randomly assigned when minted on the Solana blockchain, according to the listing on FTX. Each design has a unique level of rarity with its own utility and benefits.

According to the listing, every time the Warriors win a 2022 playoff series the NFT will unlock additional utilities and benefits. Based on the rarity, owners of these NFTs could unlock NBA playoff tickets, as well as anything from additional NFTs, exclusive merchandise, autographed team memorabilia, championship rings and a chance to ride on a championship parade should the Warriors win it all.

The New York Liberty become the first WNBA team to drop NFTs

On April 18, the Liberty announced they would be the first team in WNBA history to drop NFTs in the form of digital nail art. The team is releasing the collection on May 7 and will have 400 NFTs with similar designs, but unique serial numbers. According to the Liberty, the NFT collection "celebrates the ongoing cultural explosion of nail art through a unique Liberty-oriented lens."

"As we look to be a team on the cutting-edge of technology and fan experiences, launching the league's first NFT was the natural progression of our business," Liberty CEO Keia Clarke said in a release. "NFTs are the future of one-of-a-kind collectibles, and this exclusive drop celebrates the intersection of nail art culture and sports through the lens of the New York Liberty."

Jackie Robinson 75th anniversary NFT collection

Every April 15, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated across Major League Baseball to honor the anniversary of Robinson's 1947 debut, which broke the league's color barrier.

With the 2022 season marking the 75th anniversary, the Jackie Robinson Foundation teamed with Candy Digital (MLB's official partner for NFTs and collectibles) to release a special NFT collection.

The Robinson collection included:

  • Jackie Robinson gold bust: This one-of-one NFT will feature a bust and include his digital signature and a curated video. This will be sold via auction, with a starting price of $50. This NFT will also provide the owner with two tickets to the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City.
  • Jackie Robinson silver bust: This NFT is silver and features Robinson's digital signature. Only 100 of these will be produced, each available for $250.
  • Jackie Robinson signed baseball NFT: The final entry in the series is a digitally signed baseball available for $75. This will be sold in an open edition format.

The net proceeds from the sale were donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which will use the funds to support its scholarship program.

Tony Hawk's 'The Last Trick Skateboard Collection'

Hawk's latest collection with Autograph, "The Last Trick Skateboard Collection," dropped on April 18. It featured some of his most memorable tricks in NFT form, including the Front Side Cab, Finger Flip, Gymnast Plant, Magic Dance and Varial 5. The four NFTs sold for a total of $41,600.

Each NFT offered a 3D-scanned digital replica of the exact board Hawk used to complete the trick for the last time. Along with the NFT, the buyer receives the physical version of the skateboard as well.

Each of the NFTs and the physical skateboards have also been signed by Hawk.