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NBA union executive leads talks to help players make more money from NFTs

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Joi Garner, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of THINK450, the licensing and marketing arm of the National Basketball Players Association.

Source: Joi Garner

The National Basketball Association and its players union will soon benefit from the rise of NFTs, and union executive Joi Garner is leading one side of the talks.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association are in negotiations with Dapper Labs to redo a licensing agreement formed in 2019. Dapper is the creator of the famous NFT brand “NBA Top Shot”. Garner is the executive vice president and general counsel of Think450, the licensing and marketing arm of the NBPA. She said the renewal talks sparked interest from players.

“This is probably the most requested license agreement [among players]Garner told UKTN.

Garner, who is the lead negotiator for the NBPA deal discussions, could not reveal details of the talks with Dapper due to confidentiality concerns. But she said the union will maximize value for players as popularity around NFTs increases.

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The NBA licenses the clips to Dapper Labs, which digitizes them and turns them into a limited number of NFTs to create a rarity of its Top Shot product. Some NFTs feature highlights from different angles and digital artwork. And many of the NFTs are sold out.

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In licensing agreements, leagues and unions typically receive a percentage of revenue from sales of a corporate product that includes intellectual property. And it is also not uncommon for an equity stake to be included in transactions.

In 2017, the NBA granted players their name, image and likeness rights, allowing the NBPA to coordinate the rights money as well. Therefore, companies must enter into dual agreements with the NBA and NBPA in licensing agreements.

Dapper Labs is valued at more than $ 7.5 billion after a recent fundraiser, according to a report on blockchain news site CoinDesk. In a UKTN article in February, the company said more than $ 230 million was generated from NBA Top Shot products.

With those numbers out there, the NBPA gets a good look at the revenue generated. Garner joked that she had to come to that deal, adding that the union had hired technical advisers to offer commentary on the future of NFTs.

“The pressure for this deal is to make sure we get as much value as possible for the players,” Garner said. “What we don’t want to do is end up having schmuck insurance,” or take less money now for a product that will generate more in the future.

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Aim for $ 200 million

With a background in contract negotiation, Garner joined the NBPA in 2018 under the leadership of Think450 President Payne Brown. The unit was created to increase the income of players using licensing and marketing agreements. More recently, Garner has entered into union deals with companies such as Kia and DoorDash.

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The plan is for the Think450 unit to generate $ 200 million over the next few years, and Garner will play a big role.

“Payne’s goal when he joined in 2018 was that he wanted to double revenue in five years. It’s a huge goal, but he hasn’t forgotten it, and I haven’t. forgot either, “Garner said.

Garner said the NBPA is reviewing content distribution agreements for three projects, including a documentary on Vince Carter’s final season and the 2020 pandemic season. This documentary will feature behind-the-scenes footage of the NBA’s Orlando campus, taken by a production crew used by pop star Beyonce.

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“This story we are finishing and we will be heading to the market with it, soon,” Garner said, adding that the film project will end with the April 2021 verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of George’s murder. Floyd in May 2020.

Garner is also monitoring the CBD industry for licensing deals, but added that the NBPA should consult with the NBA because the products could include marijuana, which is still banned by the federal government, even though states are allowed to legalize.

She said Think450 is in “hyper-growth mode” for the remainder of 2021. Before looking to the future, however, completing the renewal with Top Shot is her top priority.

“Messing up this one wouldn’t be right for me,” Garner said. “Everyone is watching. I think the industry is also looking at how it works and whether NFTs are here to stay.”

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that former cop Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd.

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