The National Basketball Association will begin minting its upcoming Ethereum NFT collection of 18,000 assets called The Association on Wednesday.
NFTs are unique blockchain tokens that indicate one’s ownership over an asset, like a piece of digital art. Each Association NFT represents a real NBA player in this year’s playoffs. There will be 75 NFTs of each player from the 16 different NBA teams participating.
But, as with actual players, these NFTs don't stay static. NFT traits will evolve over the course of the playoffs based on each player’s real-life performance, meaning that a certain number of dunks, blocks, three-pointers, rebounds, or assists will change that player’s image. NFT backgrounds and “frames” will also change based on the player’s team’s performance.
Notably, The Association’s NFTs won’t cost NBA fans much. Its website states that the NFTs will be free to mint, but interested collectors will have to pay for the cost of gas on Ethereum. That said, the NBA is reserving some assets for holders of NBA Top Shot NFTs and limiting anyone to a maximum of one per wallet.
After the presale minting begins, the NFT art will be revealed on Friday and visible on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.
The news comes shortly after the NBA launched a Discord server (with nearly 50,000 members) and a fresh Twitter account dedicated to all things “NBA x NFT.” Interest had also been swirling after some pointed out that the NBA had filed a trademark application for “The Association” branding earlier this month.
While the NFT market as a whole is slowing down, interest in sports NFTs has persisted. Last week, the Gary Vaynerchuk-backed NFT basketball game Swoops announced a $3.5 million funding round to help build out its fantasy sports title on Polygon.