On Feb. 23, the combined market cap value of all moments on NBA Top Shot was roughly $1.9 billion—greater than the median value of an NBA franchise, according to Sportico. Dapper Labs, the company that makes Top Shot, recently raised funds at a valuation of $2.6 billion.
The Top Shot market cap has since declined significantly to just under $1.1 billion, but it is still nearly three times what it was at the beginning of February, just before the NFT craze hit. That number is remarkable considering that Top Shot has only sold between $30 million and $40 million in direct retail to consumers, according to Sportico’s calculations. For the earliest investors, the return on a Top Shot pack purchase has been north of 3,000% due to demand in the secondary market, which has seen more than $450 million of sales.
The Top Shot market cap is calculated by multiplying the circulation count by the lowest asking price for each moment and then summing those products. The resulting number is an estimate, as lower serial numbers of any given moment are generally more expensive than higher ones, and only around 7% of all moments in circulation are currently for sale on the marketplace. Nonetheless, it provides a window not only into the platform’s potential, but also the possibility of a bursting bubble, as the combined value of all moments has fallen by nearly 50% since late February.
Per data from the searchable Top Shot database hosted by Add More Funds, there are seven players 22 years old or younger whose moments account for at least 1% of the overall market cap. However, in a case of mart imitating life over the last decade, LeBron James has managed to outpace the incoming, younger NBA stars. The King’s moments have a total value of over $188 million, more than the next three players combined.
Fittingly, the future faces of the league—Zion Williamson and Luka Dončić—occupy the two spots after LeBron. Considering that LaMelo Ball is currently injured and that everyone ranked above him has more than four times as many moments in circulation as he does, his place in the top 20 is a testament to his star power.
We can also break down the overall Top Shot market cap by the users who own the moments. Let’s just say Top Shot’s wealth distribution would anger the Bernie bros. The top 1,000 accounts are worth more than the remaining 350,000 active accounts combined. (More than half of the roughly 800,000 users have never purchased a moment.)
Four accounts are valued at over $10 million, per data from Evaluate Market. One, WhaleVault1, owns 9551 moments valued at roughly $43 million combined, including many duplicate copies of some of the most valuable moments on the platform: nine LeBron James “From The Top” dunks, six LeBron James “Cosmic” dunks and seven Zion Williamson “Cosmic” blocks.
Speaking of dunks, Dapper mints more dunks than any other play type. While most of the mind-boggling transaction prices making headlines have been dunks, however, blocks are actually the highest-priced moments on average.
While the values of most moments have declined steadily over the past 30 days, fluctuations in individual prices still occur. For example, prices for rookie Anthony Edwards’ Base Set, Series 2 layup moment spiked after two career-high scoring nights, and then again when Ball, his primary competitor for Rookie of the Year, suffered an injury. Recent news that Ball may return to the court this season may have led to subsequent declines in price.
Another example of a market oddity came last week. On March 25, the day of the NBA trade deadline, overall sales on the platform were the second highest of any day in the month. Players being mentioned in trade rumors saw massive spikes in both prices and trading volume right around the 3 p.m. EST deadline, including Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who was ultimately not even traded.
Lastly, some price fluctuations are caused by NBA Top Shot events themselves, such as a pack release or a temporarily disabled marketplace. Additionally, there are challenges in which users attempt to collect and own a set of moments by a certain deadline in order to receive a reward. On March 29, the challenge to collect the Seeing Stars moments of all 12 members of Team Durant’s All Star Game roster expired at 1 p.m., causing steep price drops for those moments.
An investment in Top Shot may be a risky one, but that hasn’t stopped a number of NBA players from becoming active buyers on the platform—none more so than the Sacramento Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes. Top Shot also appears to be popular with the Orlando Magic, as four players on the roster own at least $1,000 of moments.
Haliburton owns nine of his own moments, and Barnes owns six of his. They, like thousands of other Top Shot users, are enjoying trading moments, interacting with the collectibles community and hoping that the recent NFT craze is just the beginning of something much bigger. Unfortunately, most NBA Top Shot users buying moments don’t have the ability to justify their investment using the “Bet on Yourself” mantra, as Haliburton and Barnes can.