Iowa basketball star Luka Garza went from college player of the year to digital pioneer.
Garza will become the first university athlete to auction a limited edition NFT or non-fungible token. It became available on Tuesday night at OpenSea at 6 pm Eastern Time.
“I saw this as a very cool opportunity,” Garza told Fox News on Monday. “I wanted to do something that was never done by a college athlete. And obviously researching guys like Rob Gronkowski and Patrick Mahomes and different athletes who managed to do this successfully, I saw this as a really unique opportunity. “
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NFTs are digital files supported by blockchain technology – the same technology on which popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are based. But unlike Bitcoin, an NFT is an exclusive item and the blockchain ledger in which it resides verifies that it is a unique item.
Garza’s senior season came to an end on March 22, when the Hawkeyes fell to Oregon in the second round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. And although his career in Iowa was over, Garza immediately took action to profit from his name.
The NFT will be an autographed image of Garza, and the winner of the auction will also have a personal connection with him.
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The winner will also receive Garza’s signed sneakers in the February 22 game, when he broke the all-time scoring record in Iowa. An opportunity to play HORSE with him, as well as a private meditation session, also awaits the eventual winner. There will also be a night where there will be a dinner and movie with Garza, and the winner will also receive a lifetime VIP pass for any basketball camp he hosts.
Garza, who majored in economics in Iowa, said he has been following the tech world for some time, and his father, Frank Garza, was a co-founder of software sales training company Conscious Selling, so it was obvious to the star of Iowa use this opportunity to start creating a brand right away.
“I’m really passionate about doing that,” said Garza. “And I see it as an opportunity for someone to take advantage of it and learn a lot of cool things. It will be very, very special. “
A portion of the proceeds will go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Garza says that “giving back to the university that helped him so much” is something that he is passionate about.
In addition to the NFT, it was a historic year for Garza.
He won the AP and NABC Player of the Year awards, the wooden award, as well as the Oscar Robertson trophy. The Iowa star notes that he has come a long way since participating in the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2015. He remembers seeing Frank Kaminsky from Wisconsin accept the Naismith Trophy, which is awarded to the best college basketball player dreaming that maybe one day he would be recognized with the same award.
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“My college career means everything to me,” said Garza. “What I will remember most, are not the prizes or the games, I think it will be the memories and the relationships that I built with the guys in that locker room and with my coaches. And I think it will be very special for me for a long time. “
Garza ended his career in Iowa with an average of 18.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. During his incredible senior season, he accumulated his career record of 24.1 points per contest, along with 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The 1.80 meter, 270 pound striker should have his name announced early in the NBA Draft night.
But while he may be a future draft pick for the first round, he is now the first college player with his own NFT – but given the growing popularity of this digital trend – it probably won’t be the last.