What is NBA Top Shot? Here come the basketball NFT collectibles

Elisa Campaci

5 min

What is NBA Top Shot: a guide to basketball NFTs

An NFT platform dedicated to memorable moments in basketball now exists on the Flow blockchain. Find out what NBA Top Shot is and how it works!

What is NBA Top Shot? In essence, it is a platform for fans of the most famous basketball league! Created from a collaboration between the blockchain company Flow, the Dapper Labs team and the National Basketball Association, NBA Top Shot offers videos of the most memorable moments of basketball in the form of NFTs. NBA Top Shot NFTs can be collected and used as playing cards. So, how do the challenges work? Where can you buy NBA NFTs? What are the differences with Sorare? We explain all this and much more in this guide to NBA Top Shot!

What is NBA Top Shot? The origins of the project

The NBA Top Shot project was launched in 2019 to allow fans and supporters to exclusively collect highlights of American basketball. The idea for Top Shot came from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The technical creation of the NFTs, on the other hand, was entrusted to Dapper Labs, a Web3 influencer. They registered the NFTs’ information and metadata on the Flow blockchain via smart contracts.

The reception of the project by fans was good right from the start, and NBA Top Shot continues to be very successful. This is partly due to the popularity and reliability of the NBA brand. Confidence in the project came from the positive values associated with the NBA, and many people bought an NFT from the Top Shot collection as their first one. A good portion of Web3 novices owe a lot to the NBA! The NBA Top Shot community has also expanded to include dozens of celebrities, including well-known faces from US basketball such as Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. In 2021, the NFTs of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) league were also integrated.

Flow, the blockchain for NFTs

Flow is a Proof-of-Stake blockchain that aims to be the benchmark in the development of Web3 projects. Flow works to be highly scalable, fast and low cost. But its real strength is its user-friendliness for developers, who can create customised projects that are instantaneous and easy for users to use. Flow aims to support everything the Web3 world has to offer: NFTs, DAOs, play-to-earn games. Flow aims to engage the public, even those outside the crypto sector  by building the most innovative blockchain experiences. This vocation towards entertainment originates from a well-known incident in the NFT world, namely the congestion of the Ethereum network in 2017 due to the launch of the CryptoKitties collection. After this episode that demonstrated Ethereum’s weaknesses, the CryptoKitties team decided to found a blockchain suitable for hosting NFTs. Thus, the Dapper Labs startup was born, which in turn gave birth to the Flow blockchain. 

How NBA Top Shot, NFTs and challenges work

The NFTs on NBA Top Shot are called “Moments” because they depict various championship moments, such as on-court actions or memorable points. This is done through videos lasting only a few seconds. Each NFT video also features player statistics and codes indicating the rarity of the ‘Moment’. These non-fungible tokens are designed first and foremost as collectible items. However, you can “participate in challenges to earn new incredible Moments” or exclusive prizes such as match tickets. There are different types of challenges. In some, you get points based on the league performances of the players you want to play with. In others, it’s a matter of guessing which players will do certain things or obtain titles. For example “the player with the most points in the playoff game” or “the player who scores the most points in the … vs … game “. To start playing on NBA Top Shot, you first have to create an account by entering your personal data, confirming that you are at least 18 years old and having your residence in one of the countries where the project is active, including the US and the UK!

Where to buy NBA Top Shots and how much do they cost?

The value of NBA NFTs, like everything on the blockchain, varies over time and according to factors such as rarity. Tokens can be found as low as $2. However, the most expensive NBA Top Shots can go up to six figures. Since the launch of the first ‘Moments’, NBA Top Shot has generated more than $1 billion in sales. You can purchase individual NFTs or “Packs” containing a number of tokens. These “Packs” are often released in special editions (members on the platform will be notified of the drop 8 hours in advance). NBA Top Shot NFTs can be found directly on the platform’s marketplace or on secondary marketplaces such as OpenSea. For purchases you can use Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, DAI, USDC, Ether and also fiat currency (US dollar). Packs’ can also be purchased with FLOW, the native token of the blockchain.

Sorare vs NBA Top Shot: basketball on the blockchain

Basketball on the blockchain goes beyond NBA Top Shot! On the 7th of September 2022, Sorare, the well-known crypto fantasy football platform, announced that the NBA will be the next league to join the list. There are essentially two main differences between the platforms:

  1. The blockchain on which they are built: while Sorare relies on Ethereum, NBA Top Shot uses Flow;
  2. The topics of the NFTs: NBA Top Shot depicts significant moments in the form of videos, while Sorare displays the figurines of American basketball league players recorded on blockchain.

In general, NBA Top Shot can be said to be less of a play-to-earn and more of a collector-oriented platform than Sorare.

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