As Wilson Chandler puts it, despite being an NBA star with a professional career spanning over a decade and nearly $ 80 million in professional earnings, the 6’8 combined forward still started out on blockchain in much the same way that he did. many enthusiasts do: exchanging shitcoins.
Chandler told Cointelegraph that he first heard about crypto from some “kids” he played Fortnite with in 2017. After being fascinated by their stories of turning paltry sums into legitimate property, he finally invited one to his Chicago home to visit. a crash course on setting up wallets and using exchanges.
From there, the entire record is on chain – from a glance at his Etherscan address, his initial investment strategy was little more than sprinkling and praying.
“From there I bought coins – Bitcoin, ETH, Stellar – a lot of shit just playing, learning. I wasted a ton of coins doing silly things like pump and dump companies, not knowing any better. “
Like many degens in development, he relied on a network of friends for information. As he recounted on a recent episode of the NFT Club Top Shot collector podcast, an enthusiastic friend convinced him of an Amsterdam-based pump-and-dump scheme, a scam that cost him a significant position in Bitcoin. Friend? The late, legendary rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle.
“I think about that shit all the time,” he said, laughing.
However, he told Cointelegraph that those early setbacks have now paved the way for what could well end up being a second act for the former star.
“Experience is the best teacher they say.”
Second acts and sneaker deals
As a basketball player, Chandler’s resume is stellar. For years, he could be relied upon for his strong 13-5-2 stat lines, primarily playing for Denver teams that made the playoffs twice, including an all-time great hipster team in the “Knuggets.” Nuggets and Knicks players collection. assembled as a result of the Carmelo Anthony trade.
However, there are signs pointing to the end of Chandler’s playing days. He’s been on three teams the last three years, opting out of the “bubble” playoffs last year and most recently playing for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions, a stop in China that can often mean one last hurray for a professional player. . While he said in interviews that he had offers on the table from NBA teams, including playoff contenders this year, he is ultimately looking toward retirement.
If some of his recent investments are any indication, crypto and NFT gathering could play a big role in what happens next for the former star. In addition to opening a medical marijuana dispensary, he is beginning to become a savvy NFT collector and working his way into the space.
Last month he revealed that he had become a proud owner of CryptoPunk, changing his avatar to one of the staggeringly expensive pixel collections. It was a surreal moment for many longtime NFT collectors, and a source of validation for those fans hoping for widespread adoption amid an ugly bear market.
– Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) April 10, 2021
Just a few weeks later, he Announced a neat “digital shoe deal”, possibly the first ever, in collaboration with the NFT company CryptoKickers. Basketball stars signing shoe deals with major brands is nothing new, but CryptoKickers designs one-of-a-kind streetwear-inspired shoes for virtual worlds like Cryptovoxels and The Sandbox, a use case where major fashion brands and clothes have always been vigilant. At the moment, Chandler now has the best virtual ‘team’ of any NBA player in the Metaverse.
However, currently his true passion is Zed Run. The Polygon-based horse racing and breeding collectible game has attracted widespread attention due to the growing popularity and eye-watering sums that ‘genesis’ breed horses can earn for collectors and racers. For Chandler, the social and educational elements are what attracted him.
“It is a fun way to get to know the space, go out, explore, involve the communities. Fuck, I can breed and race digital horses and talk shit with friends and meet new friends. It’s overall fun throughout the space. And that interaction and engagement sometimes leads to new opportunities and other things that I can find just as fun and profitable. “
To help you learn to drive, there are powerful, largely unnamed whales that you have met through chat rooms and networks. Like many dealers and collectors, he found private communities to be an ideal way to corner the ‘alpha’, and even got involved in some fractional ownership deals for rare horses, including a horse stable deal with a “Jake “which works with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s venture capital team.
“I’m in some amazing private group chats with some big players and they give me a lot of information and advice. It definitely gives me the openness and confidence to ask the simple / silly questions I need to learn. So I’m thankful for those guys. They have definitely embraced me with open arms in this short period of time. “
It’s a kind of euphoria that many investors feel in the middle of their first or second bullfight – the realization that, once you’ve learned to drive, there is a vast, exciting, and potentially profitable frontier to explore:
“I’m having fun, but I’m also making an investment and building / holding assets to a great advantage while I’m at it.”
Influence and culture
Chandler isn’t the only basketball star making his foray into the NFTs. In recent weeks, younger players like Josh Hart, Tyrese Haliburton and current rookie of the year LaMelo Ball have started their collections, with LaMelo in particular flourishing under the tutelage of collector-whale Pranksy.
– Melo (@ MELOD1P) June 6, 2021
Ball is now an illustrious bullshit poster on Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Discord server with hundreds of posts laughing at memes and talking about digital bonsai.
The NBA / NFT acquisition should come as no surprise, given the success of NBA Top Shot. The Dapper Labs product, which turns basketball highlights into collectible “moments,” has been a huge success, selling thousands of highlights and propelling Dapper to a valuation of more than $ 7.5 million.
Chandler thinks it could be the start of a trend: NBA players, after all, have a long history of serving as trendsetters and referees of what’s hot. And in NFTs, they now have a rapidly evolving technological and cultural movement that somehow reflects the nature of the modern game, increasingly defined by absurd athleticism and pace.
“The NBA has always been more progressive than most leagues, in my opinion,” Chandler said. “And it’s fast-paced, non-stop action, especially the way it’s played now. You don’t get that anywhere else. The boys are much more athletic than before, the boys’ ranks are crazy, and the boys are so wonderfully skilled nowadays. So I can see why fans and gamers gravitate towards NFTs. It’s fun and exciting, and they’re making money off of these things. “
BAYC or Meebits? Which one do you like the most? And because?
– Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) May 8, 2021
The range of participation in the players’ space is wide. Chandler notes that in addition to collecting NFTs, many players have made angel investments in blockchain companies, including early plays on Dapper and Coinbase. He thinks that eventually the NBA itself will come to experiment with the technology, calling it “obvious to them.”
However, it is still the early days of NFTs. He singles out the former Brooklyn Nets teammate as a “pioneer in the NBA when it comes to blockchain in general,” as Dinwiddies’ effort to tokenize a portion of his contract forced the league to “sit down and take notice.” .
This pioneering effort by Dinwiddie was only two years ago, and yet both technology and adoption seem to have accelerated since then, a sign that NFTs are just getting started with their mainstream push, says Chandler.
“We’re on the Atari stage, just wait until we get the Playstation 5.”