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Quickly and quietly, things are picking up with basketball legend Michael Jordan's involvement in the web3 space. There have been reports of the hoops icon meeting with multiple web3 and NFT companies over the past months, and now we are starting to see some of the fruits.
Jordan's company that he founded with his sons, HEIR Company, have minted their first NFTs on the Solana Network. The genesis collection is called 6 Rings and consists of 3D bulls with six rings displayed on their horns. The bulls come in various colors and finishes, set against a range of Chicago Bulls colored backgrounds. Each NFT comes with a unique code that the project's Discord community is frantically trying to decode like the DaVinci Code. The codes appear to be linked with the different years that Jordan played in the NBA, but no utility has been revealed.
The details are sparse, but HEIR is promising to create a new era of digital culture, that gives a platform to premium athletes, from high school to the pros, to interact with their fans on a more personal level. Buy in to get this exclusive access will come in the form of athlete NFTs. The 6 Rings collection is considered the "founder token" and will grant early access to subsequent offerings within the app. The app has not been released yet, nor have the roster of athletes been revealed.
Many athletes have jumped into the web3 and NFT space in various capacities. But no one has so far set up an entire company dedicated to the space. MJ and his team, led by his son, seem to looking to create a long turn, new value offer in the emerging web3 and metaverse. With the most iconic and successfully branded athlete of all time setting up the beginnings of a media empire, it's worth taking a look at.
Again, no utility or specifics have been offered at this time. The collection has just dropped and sold out, and there is already frenzied activity on the marketplace as pure speculation fuels the early interest. People are speculating which athletes will be involved, and if at some point there could be a crossover collaboration with Jordan Brand and an exclusive line of sneaker drops. Again, all speculation, but not entirely out of leftfield considering Michael Jordan himself is a part of the company and listed as a strategic advisor. With MJ's connections and clout, any premium collaboration or partnership could be expected in the future.
What gets me excited is the long term thinking. This isn't a one off PFP project, or a dashed off in a weekend project to rug a bunch of fans like we've seen other athletes hastily put together. And it makes sense that Jordan would not go that route. He is famously selective when it comes to where he will allow his image to be used. Not to mention his world-class business and branding acumen that have re-invented the rules in multiple industries on how to market products and services.
As a lifelong MJ junkie, this project is a no brainer. He has never been "just another athlete." He has been the standard bearer and trailblazer that has expertly created and grown every platform he has been involved with. He fueled the globalization and interest around basketball and turned the NBA into the world's second most popular sport after decades of the sport receiving almost second class pro citizenship. He turned Nike into something we'd never seen before with his mix of charisma and marketing savvy alongside the brand and its partners. That he would turn his attention to web3 is not surprising. The money and business opportunities are there. And knowing what a legendary competitor MJ is, you can imagine him sitting back, seeing what other athletes and celebs are doing in the space, and then setting out to blow them away with quality and innovation like we haven't seen before.
I expect MJ to play a role in raising the bar on what an NFT or web3 project can be. If he truly puts his focus on the space, I'm riding with him all the way. Time will tell. But if history is any indication, you don't bet against Michael Jordan once he sets his sights on something.