Indiana Pacers: Explaining NBA Top Shot and the future of collectibles

Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

For NBA and Indiana Pacers fans, the memorabilia and collectibles market has become a very lucrative part of the game. From game-worn jerseys to trading cards, there is serious money to be made.

However, for anyone that has watched an episode of History Channel’s Pawn Stars, they will know that authenticating and preserving these collectibles is the difference between a $1.8 million auction payday or owning a worthless piece of card paper.

Is NBA Top Shot the future of Indiana Pacers trading cards?

What is the solution against counterfeits and unauthenticated autographs? Introducing NBA Top Shot, officially licensed digital collectibles created in partnership between the NBA and Dapper Labs.

Fans can buy and open packs of digital moments featuring players from across the league, from a Domantas Sabonis slam dunk against the Chicago Bulls from the Pacers win back in December to a Caris LeVert three-pointer when he was still playing with the Brooklyn Nets. There are collectibles for nearly every player with a highlight.

The Pacers have some iconic moments in franchise history that could be worth a crack on Top Shot.

Players can collect and hold their favorite highlights or choose to sell them on Top Shot’s marketplace for some eye-watering prices, a layup in 2014 by Giannis Antetokounmpo recently sold for $137,000. So how does a digital video sell for six-figures? Top Shot is built on non-fungible tokens (NFT) technology, a system that means each collectible is unique and cannot be reproduced or copied.

Top Shot only produces a limited amount of collectibles per moment and offers a rarity system from common to legendary. The basics of supply and demand mean that some collectibles are instantly worth a fortune because less than 200 will ever exist.

However, this system is not without its problems. The entire website is still in beta. While trying to research the website, I found myself unable to create an account because sign-ups were “disabled due to high demand.”

Even if I were able to create an account, I wouldn’t even be able to buy a pack of moments, as, at the time of writing, they were all sold out. This creates a unique challenge as any future pack releases could create volatility in prices.

As it stands, NBA Top Shot represents a unique development in the collectibles market. However, the platform is suffering from some growing pains in the form of too much demand to meet the site’s limited supply of digital highlights but could ultimately grow into a way for fans to own a piece of authenticated history.

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