- A collection of never-before-seen photos of the legendary Kobe Bryant is being launched as NFTs.
- The collection, entitled “Kobe,” consists of eight black and white photos of the basketball player photographed in 1999.
- All proceeds will benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
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A trove of never-before-seen photos of legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant is being launched as a collection of non-fungible tokens on August 24, a day commemorated as Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles where the basketball icon spent his entire career playing for the Lakers.
The collection, entitled “Kobe”, consists of eight black and white photos of the basketball player taken in 1999 and will be released on NFT platform Cryptograph.
All proceeds will benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to fund sports programs in underserved communities.
The foundation was renamed to honor the legacy of Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who both died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. “Mambacita” was Gianna’s nickname; Kobe’s was “The Black Mamba.”
The photos were taken by Davis Factor of Smashbox Studios before the peak of Bryant’s decorated sports career.
Factor said the photoshoot, which he told Insider was “a dream come true,” took place in an old meatpacking facility in downtown Los Angeles that did not have electricity.
“I think this shoot is special because it’s one of his first fashion shoots,” Factor said. “The purpose of this Kobe Bryant NFT drop, for me, is to raise as much money as humanly possible to give to Kobe Bryant’s foundation.”
Bryant, who was 21 during the photo shoot, was determined and focused, Factor said.
“He was able to detach the basketball Kobe and go into this part,” Factor said. “And I kind of saw the creative side of him that was pretty amazing.”
Tommy Alastra, cofounder of Cryptograph and a friend of Factor, said the collection has been in discussion for months. “Kobe” will be followed by other series to commemorate the first year anniversary of the platform.
“I’m so excited that my friend Davis Factor has allowed us to immortalize these rare photos of Kobe Bryant and that these Cryptographs will support his legacy and foundation,” Alastra told Insider.
NFTs are digital representations of artwork, sports cards, or other collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum. Each NFT has a signature that can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated or edited.
When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, not the artworks themselves. But the fact that the information on a blockchain is next to impossible to alter makes NFTs appealing to artists and collectors.
Still, experts believe the space is still in its earliest days and has ways to go before becoming more mainstream. Challenges it still needs to overcome include interoperability, scalability, and accessibility, experts say.