16 Sep 2021 · 7 min read

Kobe Bryant Inspired KB24 NFT Art Receives 7,000 Reservation Requests

Disclaimer: The text below is a press release that was not written by Cryptonews.com.

The brand new KB24 NFT collection that was created in honor of the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant opened for presale reservations on September 10 without much fanfare. Despite the relatively modest publicity surrounding the latest Bryant-related NFT collection, the project has already attracted 7,000 reservation requests from fans and NFT collectors — nearly selling out, and proving that NFTs have not lost their appeal even amid a recent dip.

Each of the 10,000 NFTs resulting from the grass-roots efforts of a group of Kobe Bryant fans are  “100% unique”, the team behind the KB24 collection reported. By creating a vast collection of NFTs which, the creators say, “[combine] different attributes that represent Kobe’s achievements, moments in his career, or personality”, the exclusive project has already inspired many of Bryant’s admirers to dip their toes into the world of non-fungible tokens.

At a pre-established rate of 0.08 ETH (Ethereum), the NFTs from the KB24 are significantly cheaper and more accessible than some. The fact that the creative minds behind this sizable NFT drop have committed to donating all of the proceeds to the charitable foundation established to continue the Lakers star’s legacy, the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, offers fans an added incentive to purchase an NFT for the very first time.

The Unique KB24 NFT Collection: A Fan-Led Project

Those readers who are familiar with Kobe Bryant’s long and impressive Los Angeles Lakers career will unquestionably have noticed that the KB24 project is being hosted on the very same domain that Bryant himself had, in the past, used to communicate with his fan base.

The basketball icon first launched KB24.com as his personal website in 2006. Through the domain, Bryant would share updates, personal thoughts and commentary, and offer exclusive merchandise not available anywhere else. A forum united fans on the website, while KB24.com additionally served as the official platform on which eager young athletes could sign up to attend Bryant’s official camp, the Kobe Basketball Academy.

By the time Bryant lost his life in a helicopter crash in 2020, alongside his 13-year old daughter Gianna, the domain was no longer in the star’s control. KB24 had been transferred to new owners, who relied on the domain’s fame and strong SEO to lure visitors to malicious websites with the help of redirect scripts.

A group of loyal fans, who report that they attended the Kobe Basketball Academy in 2009, was able to acquire the domain only months ago in a secondary domain market. While the team of fans, who are keeping their names private for now, widely shared that they purchased KB24.com for a steep price “without hesitation” in the hopes of “restoring the integrity of Kobe’s official website”, their official Discord server also makes it clear that the NFT project was not pre-planned.

We grew up on the site,” the group explained, adding that “we wanted to keep it forever, just like a signed Kobe jersey or basketball.”

As the project evolved into a charitable fundraiser and grew into the platform for one of the most significant NFT drops to date, the team behind KB24 says that it hopes that their “project can serve as an example for what’s possible when traditional non-profit and charitable organization spaces are disrupted, and instead one-time events make a perpetual impact”.

What Should NFT Watchers Know About the KB24 Project?

All we know about the KB24 NFTs so far is that, as the creators of the project announced on their Discord server, the project consists of “10,000 algorithmically generated unique and collectible KB24s stored on the Ethereum blockchain”. Each NFT fits into one of eight categories that honor the Lakers icon in different ways. They focus on his jerseys, accessories, and accomplishments… along with “a few surprises”. Among the NFTs to be minted, some, the creators have cryptically alluded to, will be far more unique than others.

Each NFT costs 0.08 Ethereum to mint — equivalent to approximately US$256 at the current time — and avid NFT collectors will be able to purchase 5 of these unique Kobe Bryant NFTs per Ethereum wallet. This, however, may change.

The artful web design currently seen on KB24.com, which embodies a modern style emblazoned with Black Mamba images, features a mysterious countdown that lets fans know when they can expect the next announcement. Those who are interested in the project but are not ready to invest will be eager to find out that NFT giveaways will be among the announcements.

For now, we do know that those who manage to purchase one or more of the NFTs from the KB24 collection can also expect to gain exclusive access to a memorial wall on the website. Here, they will be able to share their favorite photos or the icon or leave personal messages. Fans who once participated in the KB24 forum will, without doubt, be looking forward to this aspect of the project.

How Will the Profits from the KB24 NFT Collection be Distributed?

All proceeds from the initial sale of 10,000 KB24 NFTs are set to be donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. The late Lakers legend, himself, took a keen interest in non-profit outreach work. Bryant wanted promising young athletes from underprivileged communities to have the same opportunities he did, but simply making sure that more children had access to the ability to participate in sports at all — through their schools and youth leagues — was also a priority to him. This is what sparked the Mamba Sports Foundation, so titled in reference to the basketball player’s nickname, the Black Mamba.

Following his untimely death in an accident in which his daughter Gianna — or “Mambacita” — also perished, the foundation promptly received a new, expanded, moniker. Now called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, the non-profit continues with the mission of creating athletic opportunities for children from vulnerable backgrounds as well as for women.

In the wake of the star’s death, fans have seen the foundation as a focal point and embraced making charitable donations as an ideal way to memorialize their idol. Two previous, and likewise highly popular NFT projects, had already previously emerged to honor Kobe Bryant.

Early in 2020, Australian digital artist Bosslogic released 429 instances of Forever Mamba, a fan art created to mourn the LA Lakers icon. Just last month, the celebrity photographer Davis Factor — also a fan and Lakers season ticket holder — released a series of eight unique photographs captured early in Bryant’s career as NFTs through the platform Cryptography. In both instances, the proceeds were donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Like the Kobe Bryant NFT projects that emerged before KB24, the current project does not have an official partnership with the foundation, in which Bryant’s widow Vanessa is heavily involved. Rather, these non-fungible tokens are authentic attempts on the part of loyal fans to accomplish two goals with one project. The NFTs allow Bryant’s fans to come together and memorialize the star with exclusive works of art. At the same time, the charitable funds raised in this process allow Kobe Bryant’s legacy to continue, through the athletic efforts of a new generation.

What is interesting in this case is that the KB24 NFT project is taking steps to ensure that residual funds from future resales of these Kobe Bryant NFTs will also, automatically, be donated to the foundation. This ensures that, even if the NFTs rise in value to the point where fans may be tempted to sell their non-fungible tokens, the project continues to benefit the selected cause.

What Else Should Readers Be Aware Of?

Several unusual factors have converged in this case. Kobe Bryant had countless loyal fans who continue to mourn his death. This means that they hope to come together with other mourners and to receive unique mementos that allow them to feel close to their idol forever. The fact that the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation is dedicated to his legacy further allows fans to feel like they are honoring Bryant by donating to the non-profit. All of this makes Kobe Bryant NFT projects that donate their profits to the foundation unusually successful.

The team behind KB24 — which has only announced that it comprises experts in “viral marketing and project design & development”, while promising to reveal more later — hopes, however, to show the world how cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens can transform the way in which fundraising is conducted for charitable causes. When it refers to “disruptions” in charitable spaces, the team now in control of KB24.com clearly refers to the manner in which the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the global landscape. The KB24 NFT project shows that it is possible to generate a lot of excitement, and raise ample funds, with the help of entirely digital means.

While charitable fundraising is far from new in the realm of NFTs, time will reveal what charitable organizations can learn from the KB24 NFT project as they decide how to move forward with generating as many funds as possible in the 21st century.