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January 19, 2022

NBA Top Shot Taps Kevin Durant for First-ever National Ad Campaign

Dapper LabsNBA Top Shot released its first-ever major national ad campaign Wednesday featuring Kevin Durant as part of the company’s partnership with the Brooklyn Nets superstar and Thirty Five Ventures. Celebrating the passion of the NBA Top Shot community, the commercial spot features Durant fans discussing their fandom of the two-time Finals MVP, with KD himself joining in to acknowledge their support. The spot is being aired in conjunction with the release of the KD Starter Pack for new Top Shot users.

Coinbase and Mastercard Team up to Reimagine NFT Deals

Coinbase’s NFT marketplace is nearly here. And soon, it will include support for making purchases with Mastercard, opening up the crypto collectibles world to new consumers. The Coinbase NFT marketplace will provide an end-to-end community for non-fungible token enthusiasts. While Mastercard will not have full functionality in backing purchases beginning on day one, insiders indicate that that is on the horizon. 

Michael Jordan Joins Metaplex Foundation’s $46M Fundraising Round

Michael Jordan has his eyes firmly set on Web3. Last month, the Jumpman announced the launch of HEIR, his new holding company that will use emerging tech to develop brands that find creative ways to connect fans with their favorite athletes. And on Tuesday, it was revealed that Jordan was among investors who contributed to the Metaplex Foundation’s successful $46 million funding round. Additional participants included Allen Iverson, Kevin Love, and Joel Embiid. Metaplex is the platform that backs Solana-based NFTs. 

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StockX Kicks off NFT Sales

The sneaker marketplace announced on Tuesday that it will launch a line of NFTs that correspond with real-life kicks. StockX‘s move into the digital collectible game will allow users to exchange the NFT for a pair of their copped sneakers at any point. The line is said to include such shoes as the Nike Dunk Low “Panda” and the Bad Bunny x adidas Originals Forum Low. The news comes just days after StockX teased an upcoming IPO.

Francis Ngannou Joins Cash App’s All Star Ambassador Team 

UFC 270 is just days away, and Francis Ngannou is ensuring that he’s fully prepared for the big event. The UFC star announced a partnership with Cash App on Tuesday that will allow him to convert half of his UFC270 earnings into Bitcoin. The deal also includes him giving away $300,000 worth of Bitcoin to fans via his Twitter and Instagram. He joins an all-star caliber roster of Cash App ambassadors that includes Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, OBJ, and Aaron Rodgers.

Rhuigi Villaseñor Appointed Creative Director of Bally

Fashion month is underway. As the Milan shows come to a close, all eyes are on Paris for the next installment of fashion’s most exciting season. Rhuigi Villaseñor announced on Tuesday that he will take over as the Creative Director of iconic Swiss fashion house Bally. Villaseñor founded the popular brand RHUDE, which recently teamed with the Brooklyn Nets for a high-end collab.

New Balance Leaps into the Metaverse

Earlier this week, Boardroom reported that Puma was prepping for its metaverse moves. And it appears that Massachusetts-based New Balance is also positioned to make the leap. The company filed a trademark on Jan. 13 for branded virtual shoes, clothing, and sports equipment, Josh Gerben was the first to report. Nike and Adidas also announced metaverse plans at the end of last year. 

Naomi Osaka Seizes Butterfly Moment with Autograph NFT

Last year, tennis icon Naomi Osaka’s on-court encounter with a butterfly went viral. As she takes on the competition at the Australian Open, Osaka is paying homage to the flight of the butterfly. Not only did Osaka wear custom monarch-themed Nikes in her premiere match, but she also unveiled her upcoming NFT for Autograph which also utilizes the iconography. The art for the Manga Collection is done by Osaka’s sister Mari, and drops on the Autograph platform on Jan. 20. 

James Harden Pays Homage to Kobe Bryant with New Fragrance

Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden has released Defy, his first signature fragrance, with athlete body care brand Art of Sport, the company announced Tuesday. Harden, an Art of Sport partner, named the fragrance as a homage to late AoS co-founder Kobe Bryant, who debuted the company’s only other fragrance made to date with 2019’s Victory. The 32-year-old Brooklyn Nets superstar worked throughout 2021 on the fragrance’s name, bold purple packaging, and notes that include sandalwood, fresh green, and musk — and it was inspired by his journey as an athlete and the desire to create a special ode to the Black Mamba.

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