Michael Jordan's first NFTs are here
What are you gonna do when the NBA and Nike own your best images?
Heir, the NFT project from Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey, have launched their first non-fungible tokens — and in doing so have shown just how difficult it is to dance with intellectual property rights.
The 6 Rings collection of NFTs consist of a bull bust in five different colors, gold, silver, gold, red, black, and white. On each design, six rings are affixed to the bull’s horns in commemoration of the six NBA titles Jordan won with the Chicago Bulls. Owners of the NFT, which went on sale last week, are entitled to “founding fan status” and will have access to exclusive content and limited-access communities known as “Huddles.”
10,010 NFTs were originally slated to be available for minting at 2.3 SOL a piece (approx. $193 as of writing), but the number was cut in half to 5,005 due to lower demand than anticipated. This may be due to the fact that Michael Jordan himself is nowhere to be seen in the tokens, regardless of how successful animal characters have proven in the metaverse.
Can Heir offer what the people really want? — Heir achieved a sell-out for its first NFT collection, but only by lowering the necessary threshold. This would seem to reveal a limit to how far Jordan’s name and a more abstract illustration can go, as other NFT projects are better positioned to capitalize on the GOAT’s goodwill.
Top Shot, the NBA-backed NFT company that turns in-game highlights into tokens, has yet to expand into legacy content and has thus far focused only on contemporary basketball clips. Jordan himself became an investor in the startup behind Top Shot, Dapper Labs, which does set himself to benefit directly whenever his career highlights do become NFTs.
Then there’s Nike, which is gearing up to release sneaker NFTs that should include Air Jordans after acquiring RTFKT Studios late last year. Michael will once again profit in such an endeavor because of his stake in Jordan Brand, so it’s really only his son Jeffrey left out in the cold for more covetable MJ NFTs. Why buy a bull when you should eventually be able to purchase “authentic” Air Jordan NFTs or an iconic clip from Michael’s playing career?