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NBA Top Shot
June 30, 2022

What is NBA Top Shot? Here’s All You Need to Know

NBA Top Shot was one of the first NFT platforms to shoot up in popularity. It appeals to NBA supporters, basketball lovers, and regular sports fans around the world. They’re a little different than just image and photo NFTs because these are snapshots of moments in time. But what is NBA Top Shot, and is it legit? Let’s find out.

NBA Top Shot Explained

NBA Top Shot

NBA Top Shot moments can be likened to traditional trading cards, as Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has put it before. However, they are digital and in motion. NBA Top Shot is the platform where avid sports fans can acquire these non-fungible tokens. 

Top Shot is a joint venture of the NBA (National Basketball Association), the National Basketball Players Association, and Dapper Labs. It was in development for about a year before the closed beta version was launched. 

Everything on the platform is licensed and official, and even some NBA players themselves are in on the action, acquiring their own moments, pumping the value of these virtual cards, and getting people excited about pack drops. Top Shot shares many characterstics with the traditional trading card business.

Who Runs NBA Top Shot?

Dapper Labs

While the National Basketball Association and the NBA Players Association are behind Top Shot, its operations are run by Dapper Labs, a Vancouver-based blockchain company. Top Shot isn’t Dapper Labs’ only project, as it is also the name behind Cryptokitties (a big NFT collection). They operate on the Flow blockchain ecosystem. 

Dapper Labs aims to bring more digital collectibles to the virtual stage using blockchain technology to engage with fans and to generate more support in the crypto world.

How Does NBA Top Shot Work? (Sets, Packs, & Series)

Are you interested yet? It is a revolutionary platform, but how does it work?

The platform allows Top Shot users to collect, buy or sell digital collectibles. They can purchase single digital assets (just one moment) or digital packs, which consist of more than one card. How much you pay or make off of the Top Shot moment depends on the player, the serial, the rarity, and the demand. 

The platform itself will drop Top Shot packs, and the single cards can be found on the internal marketplace. A Top Shot pack comes in a set of 3 or more cards, and many are a part of a series. There are also events where Top Shot users work to collect all the specific moments in a challenge event to get a reward. 

What moments are released? The timeline of the pack drops corresponds with the NBA season. You will find officially licensed video highlights that happened on TV. There is a neverending stream of moments for a Top Shot user to collect. 

Looking for a moment from the past? Don’t worry, because you can probably find it on the marketplace. However, depending on the rarity, you could be paying a lot more for past moments than they went for during the official pack drop. 

What is NBA Top Shot’s purpose, and what does Dapper Labs hope to create? It’s to create digital trading cards and gamifying the collection process for fans.


We mentioned rarity a few times ad how certain characteristics of the trading cards affect it. How can you tell if you have your hands on a rare moment and get an idea of the trading card valuation? You can follow the criteria below for the latest stats on NFT values.

Before we dive into the different tiers, there are some other traits that affect the rarity. The first one is the serial number. There are many copies of the same moment with each drop (the number depends on the demand and rarity of the moment). 

Some rare pack releases only see a few hundred of one moment, but users can find tens of thousands of a common moment. The serial number sets the moments in a series apart from each other. The earlier the serial number is, the more valuable the moment. For example, if you have the first release of a common moment compared to the 10,000th, yours will be worth more.

Then there are packs and moments that are limited edition, which of course, drives up the demand. Then we have the different types of packs, which are the various tiers of rarity.

Common Packs

The common moments are the ones that flood the market. In fact, these virtual cards take up over 90% of Top Shot’s total moments. They usually aren’t worth a lot because of their high accessibility. Each common pack usually consists of nine moments and goes for around $9 USD. 

Fandom Packs

Then, we move on to the Fandom packs. These packs are special as they are released during events and are not always accessible to all users. They could be minted for special games and ones that are significant, such as a prominent player’s last game.

Rare Packs

Rare moments make up a little over 2% of all the moments in Top Shot. As the name suggests, these moments are more exclusive NBA highlights that are much more difficult to get than common ones. The rare drops are ones that highlight past historical moments, such as LeBron James dunking. If you’re looking to acquire important and classic NBA NFTs, then you may have to spend a bit more. 

Legendary Packs

The most valuable officially licensed product on Top Shot is the legendary moments. They barely scratch 0.10% of the overall market, and each moment only sees around 100. These are the moments that can go for thousands, tens of thousands, and more. The early adopters in Top Shot sold moments for enough money to pay off mortgages in the early days!

However, new users are now less likely to see this as Top Shot NFTs have become more integrated with everyday life. 

Ultimate Packs

The ultimate packs are a new concept and are made up of two different types: Genesis Ultimate and Platinum Ice. They will be available for sale during auctions and not sold for a fixed price. Top Shot has not announced a date yet for the Ultimate tier release, but it has mentioned that it will happen when they are out of beta. 

The Platinum Ice moments are NFTs minted for every new NBA play before the moment is released for its set. 

The Genesis moments are the ones that were made first (before all the other moments were minted). Top Shot minted the moments alphabetically by each team’s city, starting with Atlanta. These moments are the “ultimate” in rarity, and are 1/1 editions. There are only 150 in existence as of this writing!

The Technology That Holds These NBA NFT Collectibles

Dapper Labs used the Flow blockchain technology to build NBA Top Shot. Flow is an ERC-20 token and is a part of the Ethereum Mainnet. Flow is a popular blockchain for the creation of digital assets such as virtual cards. 

How to Collect a Moment

You have to open an account with Top Shot before you can collect a moment. Creating an account with Dapper Labs will give you a digital wallet you can fund with and link up to your credit card or bank account.

Typically, users would purchase the NFT video clips during drops on the Top Shot platform. Drops for new packs are rarely announced unless you sign up for their newsletter (which will announce the drops beforehand). Otherwise, you have to check the site often or visit NFT Drops for the latest updates of new drops. 

Only so many packs are available, and in the earlier days, there were way more users waiting in a virtual line than there were packs to go around. It was really adrenaline-inducing and exciting to see if you could get one because your place in the line is randomized. If you get it, you will then automatically head over to your dapper account to confirm the purchase. When user purchases are confirmed, they will be transferred to the encrypted wallet.

The pack then shows up onscreen with awesome music keeping your adrenaline going as you open the pack. Similar to physical cards, the moments in the packs Top Shot makes are random, so keep your fingers crossed that you get good ones!

Alternative Collecting Methods

An alternative method to get moments that gives you more control is the peer-to-peer marketplace. If you’re buying on the market, just click on Top Shot’s internal marketplace tab to browse available moments. You can search by player, team, rarity, or sets. Remember that the same moment can be listed for different prices due to the serial number, so remember to look for it.

For pack sales, just click on the packs tab to navigate to a different page with packs that are in stock. 

Trading Moments

You can’t trade Top Shot moments for ones you like better, but you can do it for a chance for better moments. This isn’t something you can necessarily do all the time with physical trading cards, but we have an advantage because this is a digital world. How can you trade moments in a digital pack for something better? You can do that through a feature that Top Shot introduced not long ago. 

As we said, packs have more than one moment and there is a pretty big chance that you won’t like all the moments you get. Because everything is randomized and users can’t pick and choose moments, there is a chance someone would feel like their money is wasted. In an effort to combat this, NBA Top Shot incorporated trade tickets.

What is a trade ticket? It’s something that gives utility to moments, even the most common ones. Each moment can be a trade ticket, regardless of the rarity. Top Shot collectors can gather enough tickets to trade in for exclusive packs not available through any other channel. It’s a cool concept that gives a purpose to every moment.

Why Purchase Top Shot Moments?

Why purchase these moments? If you’re an NBA fan, you’ll probably get why. You can watch your favorite/top players such as LeBron James perform legendary and memorable moments over and over again, and it’s yours to keep.

The value of rare cards used to be way more impressive. The platform has exceeded hundreds of millions in sales since 2021! There is still potential value within these digital packs and although they aren’t physical items, there is definitely a chance for higher returns than what you paid.

These snapshots in time are like digital trading cards, and one day could be very valuable.

Issues So Far

In the beginning, there were glitches and issues with drops and website crashes. When people would rush to line up for drops, some opted for botting activity to acquire packs. Then there was the issue of people using computer programs to purchase packs. The flood of traffic often caused site crashes, and Dapper needed to postpone drops and correct errors.

Then there were problems with the withdrawal process. It took a long time for users to withdraw money and to get paid when they sold moments. The online company has already taken steps to rectify this situation, and when they eventually get out of the beta stage, we hope that the issues will also start to dissipate. 

What is Next for the NBA Top Shot?

The sky is the limit for the NFT space and crypto world. An exciting future advancement for Top Shot is signed merchandise, a voting system for new moments, and even exclusive VIP tickets for NBA games. These new features were teased by Dapper Labs, but no official timeline has been announced.

In February 2022, the platform introduced the NBA All-Star VIP Pass NFT Auction and Giveaway. It was a way to give back to its supporters. The auction had exclusive NFTs and collectibles for every NBA team. Owners of these limited digital assets also got a VIP pass to the next 5 NBA All-Star games!

The exciting things lined up in the near future don’t stop there. NBA Top Shot is looking to release a mobile game where collectors can interact with other users and play in online tournaments in an arcade-style game. 

A lot of NBA players are supporters of Top Shot, along with other celebrities and rappers who have joined in funding rounds. There is a lot more in the works for Dapper and Top Shot in the near future, so keep your ears open and your eyes peeled for new announcements. 


• How does NBA Top Shot make money?

NBA Top Shot makes money from pack sales. 100% of the proceeds from NFT sales go to the platform. Another way for collectors to acquire moments is through the marketplace. While these transactions are P2P, Top Shot takes 5% of each transaction, which goes towards their total revenue. 

• What is NBA Top Shot built on?

NBA Top Shot is built on the Flow blockchain created by Dapper Labs. It’s an ERC-20 token and is part of the Ethereum Mainnet. What’s interesting is Flow was created by Dapper to build NBA Top Shot, rather than the startup picking one that already exists. 

• Is NBA Top Shot worth it?

Yes, NBA Top Shot is worth it! Although it’s more difficult now to make the kind of money the NFTs were making on the platform in the early days, there is still a lot of potential for their value to rise in the future. There is also nothing else like Top Shot in existence right now that offers exclusive NBA moments backed by the association.

• Does NBA Top Shot have value?

Yes, NBA Top Shot has value. How the NFTs are valued is similar to physical trading cards. The rarity, serial, player, edition, and demand all influence the value of the NFTs. The more potential there for lucrative deals, the more people will want to get involved. Top Shot is also introducing more features to draw people in, which will also elevate the value of the platform.


NBA Top Shot is a joint venture with the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, and Dapper Labs. The future is limitless right now for the NFT crypto space, but we know that Top Shot is a very unique platform with exclusive NBA NFTs. It’s hard to believe it was just launched in 2020, as it has made great strides from the early stages. Top Shot and Dapper make it possible for people to own a piece of their favorite players in an accessible way.  

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