For Celebrity Icons, Kobe Bryant NFT Highlights 'Gold Rush'


Kevin Lynch, a celebrity photographer, sees a great opportunity for artists in the realm of digital assets.

In a world where popular non-fungible tokens (NFTs) often feature cartoon apes, Kevin Lynch is offering an alternative based on his renowned photography. 

A Los Angeles, California-based visual artist, Lynch is perhaps best known for his celebrity photography, with a portfolio featuring shots of Benedict Cumberbatch, Adepero Oduye, Emma Stone and Rihanna. 

In February 2022, he launched the Kobe Bryant Experience, a series of NFT “packages” inspired by his iconic images of the late basketball star.

With this move, he added digital assets to his portfolio and gave investors and sports fans new Kobe Bryant NFTs

For Celebrity Icons, Kobe Bryant NFT Highlights 'Gold Rush'

Lynch first released his classic Black Mamba portrait of Bryant as a one-of-one NFT to kick off this series. 

The buyer also receives an interactive 3D card, access to an exclusive interview with Lynch, and a collection of other high-resolution photographs of Bryant, making this an NFT "package." 

The photographer will soon provide NFTs of the image Kobe in Sequence in what he describes as a "special selected collection" of his work with Bryant. 

As part of this series, NFTs of three further photos will be released.

Lynch acquired Black Mamba in 2012, at the beginning of his connection with the NBA phenomenon. 

Although he has photographed many other athletes and movie stars subsequently, when it came time to enter a new digital market he saw influencing the art world, he realized Black Mamba had to be the starting point. 

He launched this series in collaboration with Masterpiece Digital, an online auction business he co-founded.

Kobe is a cultural icon, He's certainly one of the most interesting guys I've ever had the pleasure of photographing.

According to a press release, "Kobe left us with his lasting legacy, therefore these particular iconographic images of him are an attractive prospect for collectors and fans."

Lynch claims that the first time he photographed Bryant, he observed the athlete's "eternal game face." Bryant initially granted the photographer eight minutes to work with him, but Lynch assured him that he could complete the task in four.

"I knew in that moment that I had to get those [shots] in four minutes because I wanted him to know that I was on my end, so he respected me," Lynch says. 

This first admiration led to several additional opportunities to photograph the star in the years that followed.

Fans who followed Bryant's 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers will know the resulting Black Mamba right away. 

Lynch's digital products now provide them with a new avenue to interact.

By acquiring the 3D basketball card and the supporting materials, the collector or viewer has the option to have both an artist's perspective and the subject's perspective, Lynch explains.

Kobe Bryant NFTs Dive Into Digital Assets

Lynch has no prior exposure with decentralized finance (DeFi) or blockchain technology before establishing this collection. 

He did, however, want to be a part of the new "gold rush" that he witnessed sweeping the art world.

Lynch stated that because of Bryant's global appeal, pictures like Black Mamba were a natural choice for him to begin his endeavor into NFTs.

"I wanted to get in before I missed out," Lynch explains. "Just jump on a blockchain and get [his] feet wet," he said.

As the popularity of NFTs in general has grown, so has the tendency of celebrity-inspired NFTs. 

According to The Business of Business, the NFT market increased last year, with celebrity-inspired works playing a significant role. 

"Celebrities have turned to peddling bitcoin and non-fungible tokens at a rate previously reserved for viral dance trends," the Washington Post's Sonia Rao observed.

Artists such as David Lynch are changing the game.

So, what drew artists like Lynch to NFTs in the first place? One argument is that digital asset sales eliminate the need for third parties in art transactions. 

"The ability to exchange and trade art using bitcoin opens up a whole new revenue stream for artists and collectors alike" .

In other words, NFTs represent a new opportunity for artists to commercialize their work.

Lynch intended to solve one specific issue: artists rarely benefit directly from the price appreciation of their work; instead, auction houses, collectors, and investors benefit. 

Lynch, on the other hand, has integrated a 10% royalty charge via a smart contract in his new NFTs. 

Lynch will essentially earn automatic dividends on each secondary sale of his NFTs. 

This permits him to profit from the sale of his work indefinitely, regardless of how many times the NFTs change ownership.

The fact that Lynch is not the first to create an NFT collection depicting Bryant demonstrates the magnitude of the movement. 

In 2021, Andy Treys and Sako Waves founded and published KB24. 

This collection was produced to aid the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization Bryant started to assist impoverished youngsters.

'Black Mamba' Starts a Movement

Lynch sees the Kobe Bryant Experience NFT collection as simply the beginning of a new chapter in his career. 

"I'm only getting started," he explained. "Right now, I'm putting my stake in the ground wherever I can."

So, what's next? Lynch claims he's seeking for a new Ethereum (ETH-USD)-based platform for NFT sales as he prepares to launch additional NFTs. 

In collaboration with Masterpiece Digital, he created the first Black Mamba NFT on the Ravencoin (RVN-USD) network. 

The first auction took conducted on the project's RVNFT.ART marketplace towards the end of February 2022.

In addition, the photographer is preparing to issue 200 copies of the Kobe in Sequence packaging, and he has hinted that he may re-sell Black Mamba on an Ethereum-based platform. 

Regardless, it is evident that his involvement with digital assets is far from ended.


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