LOS ANGELES – As fans search for ways to remember Kobe Bryant this week – with the late Lakers star’s birthday Monday followed by the calendar day commemorating his uniforms on Tuesday 8/24 – a blockchain company has found another way to honor Mamba forever.
Cryptograph, a digital collectibles company, is releasing a series of eight never-before-seen photographs of Bryant as non-spongy tokens, an increasingly popular investment opportunity for collectors looking for unique digital properties.
“NFTs can perpetuate and perpetuate,” said Tommy Alastra, co-founder of Cryptograph.
They can also support charities. All proceeds from the sale of the “KOBE” collection of NFTs will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, according to Alastra.
The black-and-white photos that Bryant posed for in her early 20s during a magazine shoot for photographer Davis Factor at an abandoned warehouse in downtown LA in 1999 show Bryant wearing a variety of clothes while getting ready for the camera.
“This shooting is special because you don’t see him in a jersey,” Alastra said. “He’s Kobe Bean Bryant. You can see the father, the son, the man come out. It’s just him, raw, in everyday Kobe. It’s special. … They’re really quite beautiful.”
Alastra, a producer and actor who founded Cryptograph last year with Hugo McDonaugh, is a longtime friend of Factor’s. He recently met the photographer to review Factor’s personal book project when Alastra says he “fell over” the Bryant series that had been in Factor’s archives for more than 20 years.
“I was like, ‘Hey, man, this is a great time,'” Alastra recalled. “In about two months, it’s National Kobe Day [on August 24]. Have you ever considered what this could potentially do? ‘”
Factor, a Laker season card holder and the great grandson of cosmetics icon Max Factor, warmed to the idea as long as 100% of sales went to charity, which Alastra eagerly agreed to.
“We’re a for-profit company, but we make sure every cryptographer is rooted in philanthropy,” said Alastra, who has previously worked with actors such as Jason Momoa and Ashton Kutcher to release NFTs with a charitable component. “So we have assured that a charity gets a percentage of the revenue at the partnership level.”
Alastra said Cryptograph has been in contact with Bryant’s camp, but the effort is not an official partnership with Bryant’s trust. However, he hopes the eight NFTs will continue to raise money for the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, forever, as Cryptograph will also donate its proceeds from secondary sales.
“We always set our royalties at 10 or 20%,” Alastra explained. “So 100% of the 10 or 20% – no matter where we decide to set the secondary royalty standard – will go to the organization.”
The images are all titled with different emotions, which Davis attributes to Bryant in every single bag – from “Light” to “Style” to, even “Sexy”, which describes a photograph in which Bryant lies down with his shirt without buttons.
“He was just the most focused, determined, smart, beautiful athlete I had ever worked with at the time,” Factor said in a video interview on Crypograph’s website. “I think this shot is special because it’s one of his first fashion shoots … I love these photos because they show a side of Kobe that you do not normally see. He was young, back then, and really ready to games and in a way get into the character. “
The NFTs were put up for auction at 10 PT on Tuesday and will be available for bidding on the Cryptograph website for 72 hours.
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