Hornets' LaMelo Ball to Release NFTs Ahead of NBA's Rookie of the Year Announcement

Adam WellsMay 27, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) dribbles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball is getting into the world of NFTs. 

Per ESPN's Tim Keown, Ball plans to release a set of 500 non-fungible tokens prior to the announcement of the NBA Rookie of the Year award. 

"As I learn more about blockchain, I realize this is the most powerful and unique way to engage my fans in a way that's special to them individually," Ball said. "I see this as the future for fans and athletes connecting together."

Ball, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings are the three Rookie of the Year finalists. 

Keown noted that if Ball is named the winner, the NFTs will automatically update to include the award and likely increase their value. 

According to Keown, Ball intends to create a lottery for owners that will allow them to "burn" the NFTs "for a chance to win memorabilia such as game-worn shoes."

NBA Top Shot has become one of the fastest-growing items in the crypto collectible world. An NFT featuring LeBron James imitating a dunk by Kobe Bryant sold at auction last month for $387,600. 

Ball is the heavy favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award after a stellar 2020-21 season. The 19-year-old averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game in 51 appearances for the Hornets. The winner will be announced on TNT during the NBA playoffs.