Since its launch in October 2020, NBA Top Shot has won over countless fans with its Moments™ Packs that triggered the nostalgia and excitement from collecting and trading sports cards with our friends many years ago. Today, NBA Top Shot is a full-blown NFT ecosystem of its own.
Interested in learning more about NBA Top Shot NFTs and how to start collecting some packs of your own? This beginner’s guide covers Top Shot’s start, how the NFT platform works and how to start collecting Packs today.
The Start of NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot was created by blockchain company Dapper Labs in a collaboration with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Essentially, Top Shot recreates the experience of basketball trading cards on the blockchain by selling packs of NFTs called “Moments™” which are built on the Flow blockchain.
By all accounts, NBA Top Shot is one of the most popular sports NFT collections in the industry’s short history. Its surge in popularity through late 2020 and early 2021 brought more mainstream attention to sports NFTs than ever before. Since launching in October 2020, it has seen an all-time sales volume of over $880 million.
How does the NBA Top Shot Platform work?
Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot platform is a marketplace where NBA fans can trade digital trading cards in the form of NFTs. The individual NFTs in NBA Top Shot are called Moments™, which are digital video clips of major highlights of key plays from NBA history.
Packs, Sets, and Series
The primary way Moments™ are sold is in “Packs”. Packs in NBA Top Shot work the same way that packs of trading cards do in real life. In other words, buyers of Packs have no idea which individual Moments are in the Packs they purchase until after they buy and open them up. In addition, Moments™ come in three tiers of rarity – Common, Rare, and Legendary.
NBA Top Shot releases its Packs as parts of Sets (more on those below), which are themselves parts of Series. The Series number corresponds to the current NBA season. For example, Top Shot is currently on Series 3 since this (2021-2022 season) is now the third NBA season that has been played since Top Shot first launched.
Base and Non-Base Sets
It’s important to note that the rarity of an individual NFT can depend on the Pack or Set that it came from. In fact, there are two different kinds of Sets: Base and Non-Base. Base Sets always contain Common Moments™. This means Base Sets are the most affordable (starting at just $9) and Dapper Labs releases these sets on a fairly regularly basis
Non-Base Sets however, contain Packs with Rare or Legendary Moments™, as well as Common Moments™. Due to their exclusivity, NBA Top Shot Packs from Non-Base Sets are more expensive. However, both Base and Non-Base Sets frequently sell out, given the relative scarcity of drops and the high demand for Top Shot Packs.
Given the random allotment of Moments™ Packs, there is a thriving secondary market for highly coveted Moments™. After all, just like with physical trading cards, there are countless NBA fans who would pay top dollar to own a rare NFT featuring their favorite player, or a Moment™ from a historic NBA game.
How to get started collecting Packs
One of the reasons that NBA Top Shot hit the ground running, and has stayed relevant today, is the fact that getting started with Top Shot Packs is quite a bit easier than buying a regular NFT on the secondary market, let alone minting one. To get started, new users simply need to sign up for a Dapper Labs account using their email address. Once that’s completed, they’re ready to start shopping for Packs!
Credit Card & Debit Card payments are accepted
Another key point about the ease of getting started, is that Moments™ and Packs on NBA Top Shot are all priced in USD. This means that users don’t even need to own any cryptocurrency in order to buy Top Shot Packs. In fact, new users can simply purchase Packs and Moments with a debit or credit card. For those that prefer to use crypto however, fans can also purchase Packs and Moments™ using Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, DAI, and USDC.
Dapper Labs actually has its own kind of currency called Dapper Balance. Like the NBA Top Shot Packs and Moments™, users can buy Dapper Balance using their debit card, credit card, or crypto. Dapper Balance is not required to buy packs on NBA Top Shot, but Dapper suggests that it does allow users to purchase the NFTs faster.
New Users can purchase Starter Packs
As mentioned above, NBA Top Shot Packs often sell out rapidly on launch. Luckily, Dapper has made it possible for anyone to buy their first pack. To accomplish this, NBA Top Shot is offering its Starter Packs for $19 at the time of writing. These Packs are only accessible to those who have bought fewer than five packs before. Therefore, it caters to NBA fans who are brand new to NBA Top Shot.
Every Starter Pack includes four Moments™. Three of the moments are Series 3 Base Set Moments, meaning that they are Common. The fourth moment in the Starter Pack can be Common, Rare, or Legendary.
Given the nature of opening NBA Top Shot Packs, the Packs themselves are not available on the secondary market. Also, many Packs require users to have “Trade Tickets”, which they can only get by trading in moments. Therefore, buying individual Moments™ on the secondary market can also be helpful for people getting started with Top Shot.
The secondary market for Top Shot works much like it does on other NFT marketplaces. The price of each NFT is heavily dependent on rarity, the number of editions of the specific Moment™ and the NFT’s token ID. Moments™ can go for as low as $2, but the most expensive sale – a Legendary Lebron James Moment™ – sold for around $230,000.
The future for NBA Top Shot NFTs
NBA Top Shot has cemented itself as a leader in the massive NFT marketplace for a year and a half now. It currently boasts over 800,000 users and also has some high-profile backers including many current and former NBA stars.
While the road hasn’t always been smooth for NBA Top Shot, and sales volumes have risen and fallen as with NFTs in general, it still routinely sells out new packs. In fact, it saw its sales volume go up by 72% last month. Given the popularity of the NBA globally, and the fact that it is still much easier to onboard onto the Top Shot platform than other marketplaces, it seems fair to say that it’s sports NFT leadership position isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.