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Stephen Curry is the most recent example, but other well-known players have also invested in contemporary NFT collections.
Stephen Curry may be familiar to you from his three NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors, or you may have seen him on ABC’s Holey Moley or in Subway commercials. If you follow him on Twitter right now, you will see an image from the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection instead of his face.
Curry is the latest celebrity to “ape into” (or buy a piece from) the collection, purchasing one of the Ethereum-based NFTs for $180,000 in ETH on Saturday.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club bills itself as a membership club, and it’s one that has generated a heap of cash: some $397 million worth of trading volume since launching at the end of April. The cheapest one you can buy right now on NFT marketplace OpenSea costs more than $157,000 in ETH. Ownership also comes with privileges, such as additional free NFTs from the subsequent Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections.
Stephen Curry isn’t the only renowned athlete in the Bored Ape Yacht Club; other of his NBA and NFL peers have also invested in popular NFT collections like CryptoPunks, World of Women, and Koala Intelligence Agency. An NFT functions as a receipt for a digital object, and in this case, famous athletes are purchasing photos from a variety of popular art collections.
According to his Twitter feed, NBA player Josh Hart of the New Orleans Pelicans is one of the league’s most enthusiastic NFT collectors. He is wearing a CryptoPunks avatar, which is the most valuable NFT profile photo set in the world (with over $1 billion in lifetime trading volume).
Hart indicated last month the prospect of fractionalizing one of his Bored Ape NFTs, which would allow numerous people to hold a piece of it and perhaps profit from its rising value. He shared an image from the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, a new collection that debuted over the weekend, on Sunday.
Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings, another NBA player, has published photographs of the NFTs he owns in the Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Koala Intelligence Agency. LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets is supposedly a Bored Ape owner as well, however he does not use it as his Twitter profile photo. Meanwhile, Javale McGee of the Phoenix Suns tweeted over the weekend that he bought a World of Women NFT as his first crypto collection after asking for advice.
Many NBA players disclosed earlier this year that they were fans of Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot NFT collectibles platform, which skyrocketed in popularity in February and March and has gathered more than $703 million in volume to date (per CryptoSlam). Tyler Herro, Damion Lee, and Terry Rozier are among the noteworthy collectors, while McGee and teammates Andre Iguodala and Spencer Dinwiddie are Dapper investors.
Meanwhile, NFL players from the past and present have gathered near the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Dez Bryant, a free agent wide receiver who is working on his own athlete NFT venture called Personal Corner, is a major Bored Ape supporter who has also tweeted about and collected other initiatives. Bryant has added two Lazy Lions, two Avastars NFTs, and a Creature World profile photo in the last day alone.
A number of former and current Denver Broncos players have also joined the Bored Apes. In early August, linebacker Von Miller revealed the acquisition of his NFT, following similar moves by placekicker Brandon McManus and retired Broncos teammates Tyler Polumbus and Brandon Stokley. In fact, before selling one to Stokley, Polumbus tweeted that he possessed three Bored Apes NFTs. Polumbus also mentioned owning Micah Johnson’s Aku NFT collection and tweeting about Alphabetty NFTs.
While the idea of notable sportsmen acquiring NFTs from popular collections is new, it is consistent with the long-standing trend of players releasing their own NFTs. Along with NBA Top Shot and MLB NFTs from Candy Digital and Topps, there is also NFL QB Tom Brady’s Autograph.io business and many others. Athletes like NFL star Rob Gronkowski and tennis player Naomi Osaka have also created their own NFT collections.
Athletes, on the other hand, aren’t simply dropping their own NFTs: they’re buying what’s hot and meeting the market where it is right now—and joining the collectors club.