10. April 2021

Kelly Cohenspan.

Former Iowa Hawkeyes star and Wooden Award winner Luca Garza is the latest athlete to follow the NFT trend.

When his college career ended with a second-round loss in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Garza had the right to enjoy his name, likeness and likeness. After discovering the new world of NFT through research, the 22-year-old business administration student worked with his father and a team of designers to develop his own NFT, an indecipherable token that provides unique proof of ownership of digital products such as video clips or digital art.

A portion of the proceeds from Garza’s auction will be donated to the University of Iowa Stead Children’s Hospital. The NFT auction ended Friday night and raised a total of $41,141, according to OpenSea, the digital marketplace that organized the sale.

It looks really, really cool, Garza told ESPN. I hope to make more in the future and have a whole collection. And of course, this will be the most exclusive.

2 Connected

Following its success in the sports world, the NBA has launched an online forum for trading virtual basketball cards, where fans can buy and sell videos of their favorite players and moments from past seasons. And now the trend is spreading to other sports.

Garza said the success of NBA Top Shot and his own passion for sports trading cards as a child inspired him to found NFT.

Garza’s NFT is a virtual trading card (1 of 1) featuring the best moments of his college career at Iowa. He could use his time at the university since he’s not allowed to play anymore.

I mean, honestly, a lot of my teammates haven’t graduated yet [and] are still in the NCAA. They told me they thought it was a good idea and that it was very cool, Garza said. Maybe I can be some kind of role model and see how it goes.

After discovering NFTs through research, Garza worked with his father and a team of designers to create his own NFTs. Brian Ray/University of Iowa athletics via AP

In addition to winning the Luka Garza National Consensus Player of the Year card, the auction winner got to meet Garza, participate in a H.O.R.S.E. match against him, share meditation techniques with Garza, and attend a dinner and movie with him. The winner will also receive a VIP pass for life to all basketball camps held at Garza in the future, and a pair of autographed shoes he wore when he broke the Iowa men’s basketball career record.

The most important part of Garza’s NFT, he told ESPN, is the donation to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the University of Iowa.

The hospital and its patients have become a part of Iowa’s sports culture. Since 2017, Hawkeyes fans and players attending football games at Kinnick Stadium have been reaching out to children watching from hospital windows. The Iowa Wave has become one of the most famous and heartbreaking games in college football.

University of Iowa students are giving back in incredible ways on campus between our students and our pediatric patients, said Lynette Marshall, president and CEO of the University of Iowa Development Center, in a statement to ESPN. We’ve learned that Luca Garza plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from his auction We look forward to sharing how his donation will help our patients and their families.

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