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Athletes and NFTs in June 2022: Auctions, Promos, Scams


Denis Goncharenko

As the NBA Finals reach their climax between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors, basketball-related NFT projects are on the rise once again.

This applies even to such a controversial territory as China, which today adheres to extremely negative rhetoric regarding the crypto industry.

The Chinese auction house Beijing Poly, which operates at the international level, announced an online NFT auction of the famous NBA Top Shot project on Thursday, June 9. Beijing Poly is a state-owned China Poly Group Corporation subsidiary and the world's third-largest auction house after Sotheby's and Christie's.

Among the auction lots are the famous highlights of such basketball stars as Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. A post on the Weibo social media site stated that NBA Top Shot NFTs appeared at a public auction in mainland China on Sunday, June 12th. This happened for the first time since the collection debuted in June 2020 – the NBA Top Shot project has blocked access to mainland China, which has not been dismissed yet.

The auction is expected to have 32 lots with different starting prices, from 100 yuan (about 15 US dollars) to 50,000 yuan (about 7,500 US dollars). Notably, bidders will only be able to pay in Chinese Yuan and will also be charged a commission of 13% of the winning bid.

The highest starting bid for a single NFT is a dunk highlight by Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, performed on April 11, 2021. It is noteworthy that broadcasting of Boston Celtics matches is prohibited in China due to the political statements of the team's players. The Chinese authorities had previously imposed a ban on broadcasting the association's games in 2019, but subsequently Chinese state media CCTV resumed broadcasting after an 18-month hiatus.

Athletes' Involvement in Scam NFTs

Due to the growing popularity of NFT, many sports-oriented projects turn out to be fraudulent or highly questionable, involving well-known celebrity athletes. This may significantly damage their reputation. The latest such case is also related to NBA players and is described in detail by Twitter user ZachXBT.

https://twitter.com/zachxbt/status/1534537264637825024

According to the user, the Players Only launchpad project used well-known players of the NBA in influencer marketing& The players involved were Michael Carter-Williams, Jeremy Grant, Dennis Smith Jr., Terrence Ross, and others. In fact, when raising funds for the project, giveaways were promised to users, but since February, only a few have received the gifts. The founders of the project are unavailable, while the athletes do not comment on the developments.

Also, just recently, the famous British football player Michael Owen, which has been previously awarded the Golden Ball in 2001, was convicted of violating the laws of Great Britain, as reported by Betonmobile.ru – the player is accused of promoting a crypto casino, as well as his own NFT collection, which has signs of a financial pyramid.


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