Paul George is all-in on the Web3 movement. He takes Boardroom through his vision, why he’s a partner with Rumble Kong League, and what his foundation is working on.
Most know Paul George as the seven-time NBA All-Star currently playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. However, the NFT and metaverse communities are probably more familiar with the veteran’s work with Rumble Kong League. A platform that brands itself as the “sports ecosystem,” RKL allows users to select their favorite NBA players to compete in virtual 3-on-3 basketball games. Co-founded by Marcus Bläsche and Nick Vale, Rumble Kong partners include George, Stephen Curry, and Andre Iguodala.
Boardroom picked the 32-year-old George’s brain about his interest in NFTs, eliminating the stigma surrounding the digital space and how his foundation is working to further Web3 education.
VINCIANE NGOMSI: What interests you about NFTs and the Web3 space?
PAUL GEORGE: The Web3 space seems full of people who want to learn, create new cultures and solutions, and grow themselves as well as their businesses. I want to always surround myself with different types of people who challenge my opinions, perceptions, and overall approach, whether that be on the court or in business. I also enjoy the art, style, and design that I see cropping up in the space.
VN: What’s been the most fascinating thing you’ve learned since becoming involved in this side of tech and digital?
PG: Spending time talking with and, more importantly, listening to friends of mine in different professional circles is helping me cultivate more of an appreciation for the business of sport and where it meets tech and digital. I’ve learned that culture drives commerce, and that as a culture shaper in the sports and emerging tech world, I have a unique opportunity to help big brands respond to the things that my fellow athletes draw inspiration from.
VN: What drew you to Rumble Kong League?
PG: For me, being a part of the Rumble Kong League community, and the opportunity to contribute to such an innovative project was a no-brainer. I see the vision for RKL, and the vibe feels right. I want to engage with all types of people who love hoops and hoop culture. I also really appreciate knowing that through projects like Rumble Kong League, The Paul George Foundation can create real positive impact in my community, and hopefully inspire others as well.
VN: Why do you think NBA players are so open to exploring Web3 and the metaverse?
PG: I believe the budding relationship between sports and Web3 is important in transforming the way athletes, brands, and ball clubs interact with each other and fans. Seeing how my partners choose to engage their communities and finding a way to help bring these initiatives to light as a way to walk out the story is a key part of my commitment.
VN: Are pro athletes utilizing their platforms to prolong their high-earning years and feed into community enrichment initiatives now more than ever, or is this a new iteration of an old practice?
PG: It is important to remember that this is still an emerging market and we need to be clear about why we see these projects, including our own, as potential culture drivers capable of standing the test of time. I joined the Rumble Kong League community through a team that I organically interacted with because I love being part of the Rumble Kong League community. It was a really exciting opportunity for me. I love the vision behind having hoops competition in an innovative league in the Web3 space. Myself and a growing list of folks in the league see this emerging tech and market as an organic way to leverage our platforms in Web3 for community enrichment. I look at not only the opportunity in front of me but how we can make an impact together. I’m not only looking forward to building this metaverse league but working with RKL to support projects for The Paul George Foundation that can create a real positive impact in my community, and hopefully inspire others as well.
VN: How can we de-stigmatize the opinions some people have about NFTs and the metaverse being a “trend?”
PG: By continuing to build cool, exciting, and easy-to-use products and services that we enjoy and find useful. I know that the idea of having all my favorite highlights and game-watching moments memorialized on a perfect ledger in the blockchain is exciting to me. The idea of sharing that ledger with my kids down the line.
VN: Could growing excitement around NFTs replace the retro method of buying, selling, and trading player cards?
PG: These things aren’t one-for-one replacement, but I do think that digital assets will continue to be the norm for emerging generations. NFTs and the blockchain give us new possibilities and ways to enjoy interacting with our favorite players and teams — I’m excited to be at the forefront of it.
VN: How does the PG Foundation stand to benefit from your venture into Web3?
PG: When I think about my Web3 ventures in talking with the guys at Rumble Kong League, I also look at how we can make a larger impact together. I’m not only looking forward to building this metaverse league together, but also working with their team to support projects for The Paul George Foundation that can create a real positive impact in my community, and hopefully, inspire others as well. I’m dreaming of ways to share exclusive experiences and opportunities with hoop fans who want to contribute to The Paul George Foundation’s charitable initiatives.
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