Jun 2, 2022 - Sports

HEIR to launch Lonzo Ball NFT

Lonzo Ball and Don C

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (L) and streetwear designer Don C. Photo courtesy of Heir Inc.

HEIR, a Web3 platform co-founded by Michael Jordan's son, Jeffrey, is launching its first athlete membership NFT with Bulls star Lonzo Ball, Axios has learned.

Details: The NFT collection is in collaboration with Chicago native and renowned streetwear designer Don C. and will launch on June 7 through a mint on Magic Eden's Launchpad, a Solana-based marketplace.

  • "As an early HEIR investor and one of the most compelling personalities in basketball, Lonzo is the perfect partner ... as we transform sports fans to owners," says Jeffrey Jordan.
  • HEIR launched its first NFTs in March — a collection called "6 Rings" that paid homage to MJ's six titles. They sold out the initial 5,005 allotment for 2.3 SOL each, worth roughly $221 at the time.

How it works: Rather than simply acquiring digital collectibles of their favorite athletes, HEIR enables fans to acquire membership to that athlete's inner circle.

  • Owners of Ball's NFT won't just own the digital artwork. They'll also gain entry to his "Huddle," which grants them access to exclusive content, merchandise, in-person events, Q&As and other experiences.
  • Think of it like a backstage pass: The NFT acts as a digital ticket that allows the holder to get closer to that athlete and experience things that general admission (i.e. Ball's Instagram followers) can't.
  • 4,200 NFTs will be minted as part of Ball's collection and Ball has 13.7 million Instagram followers, so those 4,200 owners would represent the top ~0.03% of his supporter base.

Between the lines: One concern about NFTs that promise special access to celebrities is that those celebrities won't actually do anything special. In the case of Ball, how much time can he really devote to Huddle members?

  • HEIR is confident that won't be a problem. "We understand the life of an athlete and that time commitment," says co-founder Jeron Smith, the former CEO of Steph Curry's Unanimous Media.
  • Huddles include features specifically designed to deepen engagement even when athletes are busy. One example: A Spotify integration that shows what songs they've been listening to lately.

The big picture: As with most Web3-based projects, a key component of HEIR's model is active ownership — for both the supporters and the athletes.

  • Supporters: Once the Huddle is full, the only way to get in is if somebody sells you their seat. That means early owners of Ball's NFT will have a chance to be rewarded for essentially investing in him.
  • Athletes: Athletes will get a cut of the primary NFT sales (HEIR will keep the rest), plus a cut of all subsequent sales, allowing them to benefit if and when the value of a "seat" in their Huddle increases.

The bottom line: Imagine buying a limited edition trading card that's digital, not physical, and comes with exclusive access to that athlete, membership perks and can be re-sold on the blockchain. That's HEIR.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that HEIR is backed by Michael Jordan.

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