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Kobe Bryant Immortalized: Never before seen photos sold as NFTs

A series presenting a rare view of the late NBA legend

Kobe Bryant Immortalized: Never before seen photos sold as NFTs

As the world's affinity for Crypto grows, an interesting project has popped up in honor of the late NBA star, Kobe Bryant.

Kobe digitized

 With Kobe Bryant day just recently passing on the 24th of August, many fans the world over are undoubtedly still looking for ways to remember and celebrate the life and career of the late NBA legend. In a unique development this week, one blockchain company has seemingly found an interesting way to do just that, honor the Mamba forever.

Los Angeles based Cryptograph, a digital collectibles enterprise, has unveiled - for auction - a limited series of eight never-before-seen photographs of Bryant as non-fungible tokens or NFTs as they are commonly known today. NFTs are becoming an an increasingly popular investment option for collectors seeking to own exclusive digital properties.

"NFTs can eternalize and immortalize," said Tommy Alastra, the co-founder of Cryptograph. They apparently can also support charitable causes. All proceeds of the sales from the "KOBE" collection of NFTs will be donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, according to Alastra.

The Shoot

Bryant who posed for the black-and-white images was in his early 20s at the time and worked with photographer Davis Factor. The shoot which occurred in 1999, was done in an an abandoned warehouse in downtown L.A. In the series Bryant can be seen in a variety of outfits as he quite openly plays to the camera.

"This shoot is special because you don't see him in a jersey," Alastra said. "He's Kobe Bean Bryant. You can see the father, the son, the husband come out. It's just him, raw, in everyday Kobe. It's special. ... They're really quite beautiful."

Alastra, who is both a producer and an actor founded Cryptograph in 2020 alongside Hugo McDonaugh. It was during a recent meeting with his long time friend Factor when the pair "stumbled on" the Bryant series that had been in Factor's archives for more than 20 years.

"I was like, 'Hey, man, this is a great time,'" Alastra recalled. "'In about two months it's national Kobe day [on Aug. 24th]. Have you ever considered what this could potentially do?'”

The images themselves are based on different emotions that Davis attributed to Bryant in each particular pose -- from "Easy" to "Style" to, even, "Sexy," describing a photograph in which Bryant can be seen laying down with his shirt unbuttoned."He was just the most focused, determined, smart, gorgeous athlete I had ever worked with at the time," Factor said in a video interview on Crypograph's website. "I think this shoot is special, because it's one of his first fashion shoots ... I love these photographs because they show a side of Kobe that you don't usually see. He was young, at the time, and really ready to play and kind of get into the character."

For more from around the NBA

Charity is the only way

Factor liked the idea but had one condition, 100% of the sales had to go to charity, to which Alastra enthusiastically agreed . "We are a for-profit company, but we make sure that every Cryptograph is anchored in philanthropy," Alastra said.  Additionally he also stated that Cryptograph has been in contact with Bryant's representatives, however, the venture was not an official partnership with Bryant's trust. Regardless his intentions are still to raise money for the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Cryptograph will also donate its proceeds from secondary sales as well.  "We always set our royalties at 10 or 20%," Alastra explained. "So 100% of that 10 or 20% -- wherever we decide to set that secondary royalty standard -- will go to the organization."

 The NFTs were put up for auction at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday 24th August and will be available for bidding on Cryptograph's website for 72 hours.