Boardroom, the media brand co-founded by Durant and Rich Kleiman, will develop educational and behind-the-scenes material around digital collectibles and Top Shot specifically as part of a two-year deal. Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, Boardroom’s parent company, was already an investor in Dapper Labs.
“There is nobody on this planet with a bigger basketball IQ than Kevin, and Kevin being able to really engage in terms of things like his favorite highlights, being able to do things with his own highlights, I think the sky is really the limit,” Thirty Five Ventures CMO Sarah Flynn said in an interview. “He is an expert in that space. And they are experts in the NFT space. So I think with those two powers combined, we’re going to see some really cool stuff.”
The deal highlights the Nets forward’s growing off-court ambitions, mixing his VC presence, his content strategy, and his personal brand. “We’re always trying to figure out ways to maximize across all of our brands and all of our properties,” Flynn said. “There’s always a lot of different ways the Kevin universe, the Thirty Five universe and the Boardroom universe can speak to each other.”
Boardroom focuses on the business of sports, spanning written content, podcasts, social media, an education vertical, events and more. Thirty Five Ventures’s portfolio touches 70 companies, including Coinbase, Overtime, Postmates and Goldin Auctions.
“From the moment we met with Kevin and Rich, it was clear that we shared a passion to bring fans closer than ever and in the most epic ways to their favorite athletes,” Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said in a statement. “As KD continues to put his stamp on game-changing moments, we’re able to offer fans access to him in entirely new ways and cement NBA Top Shot’s place at the center of the fan experience.”
For Dapper, the deal comes as the startup prepares for its first full regular season since exploding earlier this year. To keep the momentum going, the company is creating NFTs tied to the 2005-06 season, expanding users’ ability to take Top Shot NFTs onto other blockchain platforms, and sending certain collectors to the WNBA Finals and the NBA Tip Off game.
“As we continue to evolve the NBA Fan experience, we’re focused on strengthening the connection between the digital space of NBA Top Shot and the real-life, once-in-a-lifetime NBA moments our users collect, to bring fans as close as possible to the game they love, their favorite athletes and teams, and continue to grow our community,” Top Shot GM Tristan Rattink said in a statement.
The race is on to be the most crypto-forward sports star, after Steph Curry bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for $180,000. Durant has also been linked to the project as a possible NFT holder, but Flynn declined to comment on his potential involvement.