The centuries-old art auction house Sotheby’s announced that it will accept crypto payments for the first time ever for the legendary LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant memorabilia NFT auction.
Sotheby’s is auctioning the only Kobe Bryant-worn artifact from his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors held in 2006.
The shirt is not his game-worn jersey, but rather his “shooting shirt” for the warm-up before the 81-point victory. To top it all off, Sotheby’s throws in an 1-of-1 NFT in the sale along with the physical version of the shirt.
Bryant’s 81-point performance is still the second-highest total for a player in a single NBA game, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point performance in 1962.
The NFT will also include Chinese imagery inspired by the significance of the number 8 and the tradition of red envelopes in Chinese culture, as designed by Karvin Cheung, the creator of Upper Deck’s highly coveted Exquisite Collection Basketball trading cards.
‘81’ is among the most memorable moments in not only basketball but throughout sports history. It is an honor to offer a piece from this historic game, worn by one of the league’s most legendary players right before he shattered multiple records – including Bryant’s own career high,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables, noted.
The MeiGray Group, NBA’s official authenticator, completed extensive photo matching work and verification, tying the shooting shirt to several specific events.
MeiGray discovered that Kobe wore the shooting shirt on at least six occasions, including in the months following his 81-point performance, including Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round in April 2006.
The auction began today with an opening bid of $200,000 and will end on February 22. People can pay in BTC, ETH, or USDC in addition to fiat currency.
Commemorative NFTs are the latest in trend as it celebrates the life of many icons in different sectors. Last month AltiusDAO teamed up with Polygon studios to launch the NFT collection with glorifying, adorable and memorable moments from India’s own legendary late athlete, Milkha Singh. The collection went live on Republic Day.