College basketball’s top player is wasting no time profiting off his name, image and likeness (NIL). Just weeks after becoming the first college athlete to sell his own NFT card, Luka Garza is auctioning off three more non-fungible tokens and launching his own NFT Group to help other college athletes do the same.
“After my first card sold, I had a bunch of athletes coming up to me and reaching out to me via social media about wanting to do their own NFTs,” Garza told Yahoo Finance Live.
NFT’s are blockchain-based tokens that represent ownership of any type of digital asset. They are verified to be either one of a limited batch or one-of-a-kind. They have become very popular in the world of art, music, and sports – and their prices have been exploding.
Garza sold his first NFT shortly after playing his final game for the University of Iowa’s Hawkeyes. It sold at auction on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.io for $41,141.
The highest bidder also won a slew of experiences with the 2021 NBA draft pick, including dinner and a movie with him, autographed sneakers Garza wore when he broke Iowa’s all-time scoring record, a game of HORSE with the star athlete, a meditation session with him (Garza’s a big fan), and a lifetime VIP pass to any future Garza basketball camps.
The auction for Garza’s new NFTs began last week and will close on Friday, May 28 on OpenSea.io. Each virtual card commemorates special moments in Garza’s historic college basketball career, including when he won the prestigious Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy and the AP National Player of the Year.
The highest bidder of the auction will also be awarded special physical perks including an invitation to be a guest at Garza’s official Jersey Retirement ceremony and his signed name plate from his team locker at the University of Iowa.
As with his previous auction, part of the proceeds will be donated to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
In addition to the auction, Garza is also giving fans the opportunity to join a paid membership on LukaGarza.io. For $55 (the number he wore with the Hawkeyes) fans get access to members-only content, merchandise, and exclusive giveaway opportunities.
Since 2019, the NCAA has promised to change a controversial rule that prevents college athletes from profiting off their NIL, even though they help the organization generate billions of dollars each year through lucrative sponsorships.
Five states have already beaten the NCAA to it. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico have passed laws allowing college athletes to profit off their NIL starting July 1. California passed a similar rule, but it doesn’t go into effect until 2023.
Garza says allowing college athletes to profit from their NIL is “the way to go.”
“If you believe that college athletes bring a lot of revenue to the school and to the NCAA, they should be able to have a piece of that pie. That’s the whole point of what I’m doing,” said Garza, “is just trying to create a new revenue stream because the NCAA is not going to be able to give up any TV money or any of the money that they bring in from ticket sales, but being able to make money off your own name, image, and likeness without taking money from the NCAA is the solution.”
Alexis Christoforous is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.