Unseen Kobe Bryant photos to be released as NFTs

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Aug 25 2021 09:19 AM

Former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant attends a promotional event organized by the sports brand Nike, for the inauguration of the infrastructure improvements of a local basketball playground at the Jean-Jaures sports hall
Former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant attends a promotional event organized by the sports brand Nike, for the inauguration of the infrastructure improvements of a local basketball playground at the Jean-Jaures sports hall "Le Quartier", in Paris on October 21, 2017. File photo. Philippe Lopez, AFP

A blockchain company converted eight never-before-seen photographs of the late Kobe Bryant into non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) and will auction them off to benefit a charitable foundation in his honor.

The company, called Cryptograph, plans to honor Bryant's memory with the NFTs of eight unreleased photos taken of the Los Angeles Lakers star during a 1999 magazine photo shoot.

Proceeds from the auctions will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to Bryant and his late daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, that aims to help young underserved athletes, particularly women.

The enterprise is not officially aligned with Bryant's family or estate, Cryptograph co-founder Tommy Alastra told ESPN.

The NFTs are up for auction for 72 hours starting Tuesday, which the Los Angeles area celebrates as "Kobe Bryant Day" because Bryant's jersey Nos. 8 and 24 align with the date Aug. 24.

Bryant, who would have been 43 years old Monday, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020 along with 13-year-old Gianna Bryant and seven other victims.

NFTs are stored on a blockchain as a unique digital file, making them valuable to collectors.