Iowa basketball star Luka Garza has gone from college player of the year to a revolutionary digital pioneer.
Garza will become the first college athlete to auction a limited edition non-expendable or NFT token. It was available Tuesday night on OpenSea at 6pm ET.
“I saw this as a really great opportunity,” Garza told Fox News on Monday. “I wanted to do something that a college athlete hasn’t done before. And obviously, looking at guys like Rob Gronkowski and Patrick Mahomes and different athletes who have been able to do this successfully, I saw it as a really unique opportunity. “
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NFTs are digital files backed by blockchain technology, the same technology that popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin rest on. But unlike Bitcoin, an NFT is a unique item and the blockchain ledger it lives on verifies that it is a unique item.
Garza’s senior season came to an end on March 22, when the Hawkeyes fell to Oregon in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. And although his Iowa career was over, Garza immediately took steps to capitalize on his name. .
The NFT will be an autographed picture of Garza, and whoever wins the auction will also have a personal connection to him.
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The winner will also receive Garza’s autographed shoes from the game on February 22, when he broke Iowa’s all-time scoring record. The opportunity to play HORSE with him, as well as a private meditation session, also awaits the eventual winner. There will also be a night where there will be dinner and a movie with Garza, and the winner will also receive a VIP pass for life to any basketball camp they organize.
Garza, an economics student in Iowa, said he’s been following the tech world for a while, and his father, Frank Garza, co-founded the software sales consulting firm Conscious Selling, so it was a no-brainer for the company. Iowa star use this opportunity to start developing the brand right away.
“I’m very passionate about doing this,” Garza said. And I see this as an opportunity for someone to take advantage of that and learn a lot of interesting things. It’s going to be very, very special. “
A portion of the proceeds will go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Garza says that “giving back to the university that helped him so much” is something he is truly passionate about.
In addition to his NFT, it has been a historic year for Garza.
He has won the AP and NABC Player of the Year awards, the Wooden Award, as well as the Oscar Robertson Trophy. The Iowa star notes that he has come a long way since attending the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2015. He remembers seeing Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin accept the Naismith Trophy, which is awarded to the best college basketball player dreaming that maybe some day she would be recognized with the same award.
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“My college career means everything to me,” Garza said. “The things that I will remember the most are not the awards or the games, I think it will be the memories and the relationships that I built with the guys in that locker room and with my coaches. And I think that’s something that is going to be very special to me for a long time. “
Garza finished his career at Iowa averaging 18.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. During his incredible senior season, he amassed a career-high 24.1 points per game, along with 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound forward should get his name early on the night of the NBA Draft.
But while he may be a future first-round draft pick, he’s the first college player with his own NFT right now, but given the growing popularity of this digital trend, he probably won’t be the last.