On the day that has been officially marked and commemorated as “Kobe Bryant Day,” never-before-seen photos of the late NBA legend are selling as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to benefit his youth sports foundation.
According to Bleacher Report, an auction run by Cryptograph — a platform that sells rare digital collectibles from public figures and artists for charity — is launching a collection that includes eight photos of the Los Angeles Lakers icon. Proceeds from sales will go toward the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Bryant’s nonprofit foundation was formed to fund sports programs in overlooked communities and create a “positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports,” according to its website. The organization was founded through the vision and memory of Bryant and his late daughter, Gianna.
Markets Insider reports that the newly-surfaced photos were taken by Davis Factor of Smashbox Studios right before Bryant’s decorated sports career began to take off. The photographer described the shoot as “a dream come true” and now hopes to use the photos to give back to a part of Bryant’s legacy.
“I think this shoot is special because it’s one of his first fashion shoots,” Factor told the outlet. “The purpose of this Kobe Bryant NFT drop, for me, is to raise as much money as humanly possible to give to Kobe Bryant’s foundation.”
Tommy Alastra — co-founder of Cryptograph — also told the outlet that this NFT collection has been in the works for months. The “Kobe” NFTs on Cryptograph will be reportedly followed by other digital series to commemorate the first year anniversary of the platform.
“I’m so excited that my friend Davis Factor has allowed us to immortalize these rare photos of Kobe Bryant,” Alastra told Insider, “and that these Cryptographs will support his legacy and foundation.”
Since the NBA legend’s untimely passing, there have been a handful of attempts to honor him and his daughter’s lives through charity initiatives and new brands. As previously reported by AfroTech, Bryant’s widowed wife, Vanessa, launched a new apparel line earlier this year in her daughter’s honor that managed to sell out in less than 24 hours. All of the proceeds from those sales also went toward the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Bidding on Bryant’s NFTs is now open on Cryptograph’s website.