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What is NBA Top Shot?

The worlds of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and professional basketball have collided recently, and everybody has been asking questions.

What is NBA Top Shot? How does it work? Can’t I just watch these highlights on YouTube?

Think of NBA Top Shot as a way to move the sports trading card market into the digital age. The trading card market has seen its share of ups and downs over the years, but has sustained and recently exploded in total value. What hasn’t sustained as well are some of the older cards and their conditions; especially the rarest of cards where only a handful still exist. 

How Does NBA Top Shot Work?

Utilizing blockchain based technology, NBA Top Shot offers a way for collectors to own a finite piece of content, or highlight, that is officially licensed by the NBA. These are called “moments”, and are the digital equivalent of traditional trading cards. Similar to the cards you opened as a child, many see these moments as an investment that will appreciate in value over time.

Moments are opened in exclusively released packs, and can be bought and sold on an open market. The value of a moment is calculated based on a number of factors, such as the overall interest in NFTs and Top Shot, the rarity of that particular moment, and various other market conditions. 

While there is some skepticism that Top Shot will stand the test of time, the values have been exploding lately – a new record was set on February 22 when a LeBron James dunk moment sold for $208,000 USD.

Top Shot Moments

NBA Top Shot looks to make that obsolete with making things digital; replacing cards with “moments” that act almost as if your own personal GIF to collect. These are the core of NBA Top Shot and what you’ll be looking to collect. Below is a video I made of the one card I have in my collection along with a brief summary of what exactly a moment is with Top Shot.

So that’s a moment. Now the question is how do you get one? After you sign up for your account there are two ways you can add moments to you collection; packs and the marketplace. I’m going to highlight the packs first.

NBA Top Shot Packs

The way packs are currently being released is at a designated drop time that requires the user to get in line to purchase the packs. Your spot in line is random and given what the drop is and how many packs are for sale, you’re more likely than not to leave empty handed given the current demand. However, sometimes you get lucky and the below video shows just that when I was able to purchase a $15 Seeing Stars pack.

The pack itself contains three moments; 2 Common tier Basic Set (Series 2) moments and 1 Common Seeing Stars Set (Series 2) moment. The sets are just the different release drops they have (Seeing Stars have 24 different moments that have 10,000 moments each for example) but it lets you know the quality of cards you can expect in your pack and what to look up on the marketplace if you are looking to see the resale value of the set you’re looking at. I open up the two basic set cards first before the Jaylen Brown card pops up which was the gem of the pack. This is the best way to get cards unless you’re looking for a particular moment.

Moments Marketplace

Sometimes you just want what you want though. In that case, the marketplace is the place to go. I also recommend looking here to gauge the potential value of the pack you might be looking at attempting to buy but I digress.

In the video below you’ll see me first use the marketplace to go and purchase a moment; Zach LaVine earned it with his play this year. Making it easy to search by your favorite team is a nice touch. After I purchase the moment I go back in to show how to use the filters to look up all moments from a certain set. I sold low on Jaylen but isn’t that the story of his career so far? Still though, I recommend packs over the marketplace if you can manage to nab one.

So now you know both methods to adding moments to your collection. What’s the next step from here? Right now I’ve found that Top Shot has two things for the collectors to focus on; showcasing their cards and trying to collect sets for challenges. Since I just went and got a second Bulls card lets take a look at showcasing that duo first.


Once you have a nice collection of moments (or in my case, 2) you can show them off to the world. Been collecting lobs? Name your showcase ‘Look Out Below’! Or watch as I create a Bulls showcase that is only going to grow as I continue to add more players from my favorite team. What’s nice about this is if you have a good collection you can use the moments in multiple showcases. So a great Zach dunk could go in both showcases and would let me show off his talents over and over!


The other thing you can look to do is completing challenges. The one I look into in the video below is the current challenge related to Seeing Stars set that I purchased a card from. As you’ll see, Jaylen Brown wasn’t one of them needed to complete the challenge which hurt it’s value. But if you can manage to complete this challenge you would get a Kevin Durant moment that I can only imagine is going for a massive value once it hits the marketplace. 

How To Make an Account and Purchase Moments

With account creations currently limited, the first step is catching the sign-up window open – which has proved to be tricky for many who are interested in joining the Top Shot movement. Once you do that and get your Top Shot & Dapper account set up, you’ll find you’ll find the Dapper wallet in your profile. You can fund your wallet via credit/debit card with Visa and Mastercard or with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Buying crypto is easy on user-friendly exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, and countless others. Make sure to do your research on fees and transfer waiting periods so you don’t miss the next pack drop while you’re waiting for your new cryptocurrency to hit your wallet!

If you sell moments in the marketplace and yield a profit, there is a $25 fee for every withdrawal into your bank account, so you have to factor that into your asking price to hit a target profit. Still, it’s been a great value for me so far along with enjoying something similar to a link to my childhood which has been a win. Give it a look and see what you think at!

About Trey Hill: Podcast host over at Charity Stripe Commentary, scouring NBA Twitter content over on @finalfinally, and of course writing for HoopSocial!

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Podcast host over at Charity Stripe Commentary, scouring NBA Twitter content over on @finalfinally, and of course writing for HoopSocial!