Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year Luka Garza selling NFT


  • Luka Garza’s career as an NCAA athlete is over and he is now eligible to capitalize on his name, image and likeness.
  • Step one: sell your own NFT. He is the first college athlete to do so.
  • Garza’s NFT comes with a number of physical items and passes for in-person events.

University of Iowa senior Luka Garza just added the Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year to his long list of honors.a list that also includes the Associated Press varsity player of the year, the Oscar Robertson trophy and the Lute Olson player of the year award.

Garza has yet to graduate, but his senior season ended on March 22 when Iowa lost to Oregon in the second round of the NCAA tournament. When that happened, Garza became eligible to cash in on his name, image and likeness, unlike his non-senior teammates, who are currently prohibited by the NCAA from doing so.

Your first move? Selling a NFT.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done something to make money in my own name, so it’s kind of new waters for me,” Garza said. Decipher in an extensive video interview this week. “I’m studying economics in college and my father was a tech savvy his whole life, so I saw an opportunity to expand my brand.”

Garza adds that he and his father Frank Garza, a tech veteran who co-founded software sales training firm Conscious Selling, saw a lot of news about NFTs, including that NFL player Rob Gronkowski sold a collection of NFTs and “He got big on the research on this.”

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are blockchain-based tokens that represent deeds of ownership of any type of digital or physical asset, from virtual business cards to illustrations and an album. They are verifiable in short supply and usually one of a very limited lot or, in some cases, one of one. Its price has skyrocketed.

Garza appears to be the first college athlete to sell an NFT, although professional athletes like Gronkowski, Patrick Mahomes, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and NFL alumnus Vernon Davis have sold their own.

Garza’s NFT goes on sale on OpenSea at 6pm EST Tuesday, and is a one-of-a-kind virtual card featuring images from his playing career in Iowa.

The NFT will also carry with it a number of physical rights. The highest bidder will receive an autographed pair of sneakers that Garza wore in the February 22 game when he broke Iowa’s all-time scoring record, a private meditation session with Garza (he’s in meditation), a dinner, and a movie. with him, a HORSE game against him, and lifetime VIP passes to whatever basketball camp Garza runs (something he plans to do someday).

“That would be a great opportunity for any promising basketball player, or for a parent who sees this as an opportunity for their son,” says Garza. “It would be wonderful to be able to share that time with an Iowa fan, but whoever it is, I hope I can build a relationship with them.”

Garza says that he and his father got the idea for the elements in person by watching the bands do the same; Kings of Leon, for example, turned their new album into an NFT that included tickets to a future concert.

The NCAA NIL (name, picture and likeness) rules add an interesting wrinkle to this story.

The famous or infamous NCAA does not allow student athletes to benefit from their names, but it is about to change that, after the state of California beat the NCAA and passed SB 206, a bill that will allow to student athletes in that state. to take advantage of its name, image and likeness from 2023.

Garza’s Iowa teammate Jordan Bohannon announced last month that he will not play another year in Iowa unless the state passes his own NIL law that allows him to make money from endorsements. Garza, of course, would not have been able to sell the NFT if he had not finished his college athletic career.

“Now that I am no longer a college athlete, I am not representing the University of Iowa as a basketball player,” he says. “I am definitely in favor, in the future, of college athletes being able to do this, and I see this as a potential way for college athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness. Hopefully it can help show people the way … I think in the future, people can see NFTs as an opportunity for college athletes when the name, likeness and image are approved, because I’m very confident that it will be. “

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