NBA Top Shot: The Future of Trading Cards

What is NBA Top Shot

The future of collectible sports memorabilia is here with NBA Top Shot.

NBA Top Shot turns basketball highlights into collectible NFTs that can be bought, sold and traded on a digital marketplace. Think of it as virtual trading cards that come in the form of highlight clips.

Top Shot was founded in 2019 by a blockchain company, Dapper Labs. They partnered with the NBA and the NBA Players Association to officially license all highlights.

But wait, What are NFT’s?

Before going any further, it is important to define NFT, blockchain, and all this crypto jargon.

NFT stands for “non-fungible token.” Something that is fungible can be replaced by another identical item. For example, dollar bills are fungible because you can trade one for another and you’ll have the exact same thing.

When something is non-fungible it is unique to itself and cannot be replaced. This means one-of-a-kind trading cards are non-fungible because every card has specific qualities that either add or subtract from its value.

Buying an NFT gives you a digital certificate of ownership, which is then logged on a blockchain for proof of authenticity. A blockchain is essentially a digital database that stores information and records transactions.

The most commonly known NFTs are those digital drawings of monkeys you might see on your favorite celebrity’s profile picture. But NFTs can really come in any digital form.

Digital Moments

In this instance, Top Shot allows you to collect your favorite players’ highlights as NFTs.

For example, if you wanted to own Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-saving block in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals, it is currently listed at over $12,000 on the digital marketplace.

These highlight clips are referred to as “Moments” and come in packs just like physical trading cards. Packs come in different tiers that represent their value and scarcity. It is a thrill because you never know what you’re going to get.

Common tier: moments with over 1,000 digital copies

Rare tier: moments with 250-999 digital copies

Legendary tier: moments with 25-99 digital copies

The rarest moments are Platinum (3 copies) and Genesis (1/1). These are not for sale on the marketplace and instead will be auctioned off at future events.

Moments consist of highlight dunks, crazy crossovers, insane buzzer beaters and more. Each moment comes with a serial number used to distinguish it from other copies of the same highlight. Over 100 people could own the same moment, but a specific serial number in the batch might garner more value.


A serial number that matches the number of the player in the moment will typically be worth more. This means a Steph Curry moment might have more value if it is copy #30.

Lower serial numbers between 1-99 also tend to be more valuable.

Another way to acquire moments is from live pack drops. When pack drops go live, people are placed in a queue on a first come, first serve basis. Once a pack sells out, it is only available through peer-to-peer transactions.


There are many different approaches to the digital marketplace. Some enjoy the nostalgia of building their own virtual collection. Others see it purely as an investment, buying a moment and hoping the value appreciates over time.

But Why So Much $

Like many other NFT projects, people are skeptical of the hype. Why would anyone spend money on a video clip when they could just watch it for free online?

Once again, the best way to reason this investment is to think in terms of traditional, physical trading cards. If a 1933 Babe Ruth card was valued at over $4 million in 2021, why couldn’t Zion Williamson’s rookie debut block potentially be worth the same in a couple of decades? When you really think about it, Top Shot isn’t much different than other collectible items. The exclusivity of some trading cards has always determined the value.

The sports trading card industry has had its ups and downs over the years, but it is currently booming with the help of social media. NBA Top Shot has the chance to ride this wave and revolutionize the trading card industry. In a world where everything inevitably ends up online, why not make the transition?

Additionally, the NBA’s massive audience and popularity might be able to erase the stigma behind NFTs. Many players such as Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, Dwight Howard and Jalen Green are already verified investors.

After all, owning a digital clip of LeBron James posterizing someone might be more appealing than buying digital monkey art. If you want to start building your own virtual collection of sports history, head over to!

Eva Rogers

A Texan through and through, her passion for the Lone Star State is evident in every word she writes.Hailing from the vast plains of West Texas, Eva has a deep appreciation for the unique blend of tradition and innovation that defines the Texan spirit. Eva crafts articles that celebrate the diverse tapestry of Texas, from its bustling urban centers to its serene rural landscapes.