For a Cool $250,000, You Can Own a 13-Second Clip of LeBron James Dunking in NBA Digital Assets

Trading cards are both a relic of the past and as popular as ever. And the next generation is here thanks to NBA Top Shot. There, lucky investors around the world can commodify their highlights through digital trading cards. As proof, a recent LeBron James dunk is already worth more than most make in a single year.

What are NBA Top Shot digital assets?

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Part trading card, part cryptocurrency, part investment opportunity, NBA Top Shot commodifies the NBA’s most memorable plays and allows for traders to own a piece of history. Ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands, NBA Top Shot has changed how people view highlights. No longer are they something to seek on YouTube or SportsCenter. Instead, they’re assets. 

Top Shot’s CEO Roham Gharegozlou explained the appeal of digital assets being sold like the trading cards of the past in an interview with The Action Network.

“We are trying to build something for the long term, and those big numbers get the headlines, but a majority of Top Shot transactions are…less than 50 bucks,” the CEO told the website. “And that’s what makes Top Shot special. It brings the act of opening trading cards, trading with your friends with no friction.”

Using a blockchain, the method draws on everything from memorabilia collection to fantasy sports and bitcoin to make the trading card of the future. This approach allows people from all walks of life to invest in this futuristic trading game. 

“I say what you need to be good at NBA Top Shot is basketball knowledge, you need trading card knowledge, and you need to know sort of what’s going to be valued by collectors. You don’t need to understand anything about crypto or blockchain. Most of our users are coming in as credit card users. They aren’t cryptocurrency users, and that’s sort of what we like about it,” he said of the appeal.

Some people have lost money, while others gained a healthy sum. From trades to packs that feature unknown clips, people are collecting Top Shot assets in droves. It’s so popular that the company that some lucky traders are making thousands off of a single play alone

You can buy LeBron James’ dunk for $250,000

LeBron James, who has earned nearly $1 billion in his career, is investing in MLB's Boston Red Sox.
LeBron James dunks it out | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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One particular play, a LeBron James fastbreak against the Houston Rockets, is already going for a hefty sum. The play, which came on a fastbreak with no defenders in sight, was like many in James’ career. Still, the name recognition combined with the dunk’s viral quality made it a new type of commodity — one that, while dictated by market and branding– also showed a new kind of investment. 

As digital trading, cryptocurrency, and sports go further into the new millennium, so do the ensuing means of commodification. According to Top Shot’s official site, James play can be yours for a steep $179,000 and up to $250,000 depending on the seller. James has already proven to be an incredibly lucrative player thanks to his status, but with every new play comes a unique opportunity to make some serious coin.

Trading is no longer something done only by Wall Street. It’s an industry that goes beyond finances, sports, and gambling markets.

Digital assets are trading cards of the future

As Bloomberg notes, the James dunk is one of several that have secured a hefty salary for collectors. But with the site still in its maiden voyage, future highlights may trend even higher. Digital assets are the natural culmination of several niche markets.

It gives sports fans something to invest in that does not require business knowledge, stock traders a new avenue to invest in, and card collectors a tech-savvy way to join the modern movement. How long it lasts is anybody’s guess, but Top Shot’s early success is probably not a fluke.

Digital cards have taken many forms, from video games to apps. But the practice’s monetization is one to keep an eye out for. Just like those cards collecting dust in a reader’s closet, one Top Shot could change their lives with the right combination of knowledge, luck, and understanding.