Both college and pro athletes continue to find footing in the NFT space, and former Iowa Hawkeyes basketball big man Luka Garza wants to be a part of it. Garza has announced the ‘Luka Garza NFT Group‘, aimed to help college athletes, artists, and musicians with monetizing their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
It was just around a month ago that Luka Garza was the first collegiate athlete to launch their own NFT, and now Luka is back for more. His initial NFT sale included unlockable content including a meet and greet, and game-worn basketball shoes, and sold for roughly $40,000 USD. In less than a month’s time, the NFT has already been relisted with a current bid of over 50% the initial sale.
He was able to release this NFT in part because he has no remaining college eligibility left, however many states are opening the door for collegiate athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness. Additionally, many pro athletes have been leveraging NFTs as a new way to engage with fans.
In an interview with TMZ Sports, Garza states that he sees NFTs as being particularly NCAA-friendly as a new revenue stream; “we won’t have to bother any of the advertisement deals they have or the TV contracts they have… this is a way that we can make money for ourselves with not even touching the NCAAs money and what they’ve been able to do”, Garza stated.
Crypto market growth has attracted many into NFTs | Source: CRYPTOCAP-TOTAL on TradingView.com
Accolades To Impress
The 22-year-old Hawkeyes forward is generally seen as a mid to late first round pick in the upcoming NBA draft this summer, and averaged 24 points and 8 rebounds per game last year.
Despite the modest perspective on his stock on the draft board, Garza’s accolades are undeniable; the senior is fresh off winning a consensus college player of the year award, and is a two-time First Team All Big-Ten conference player and has won two straight Big Ten Player of the Year awards. Additionally, Garza is a two-time consensus First Team All-American and two-time winner of the Sporting News College Player of the Year award winner. His credentials are outstanding, leaving him as a great pillar as a leader for college athletes to have a pathway for monetizing their NIL.
It is impossible to say where all roads lead for athletes and other non-traditional artists with regards to NFTs, but Garza certainly is showing the drive to be involved. Garza credits the motivation around his initial NFT as being tied to his love of collectables, and the ability to give back (a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital). Garza envisions a whole collection and stated that “a lot of my teammates are still not graduated yet [and] are still under the NCAA… maybe I can kind of set an example and see how it goes”. Stay tuned for more in the NFT world from Luka Garza.
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