Iowa basketball star Luka Garza made history as the first Hawkeyes player to win the Wooden Award, making him the consensus college basketball player of the year, and now he is making history off of the court.
During an appearance on CNBC’s Power Lunch, Garza revealed that he has become the first college athlete to sell his own NFT card.
“I’m an economics major, and I’ve been following the tech world closely,” Garza said, via USA Today. “Blockchain technology is something that really interests me.
“My dad was also into the tech world as well, so I think both of us talking about it and seeing other athletes … do this, I thought it was a really cool and unique opportunity to be able to start pushing my branding.”
An NFT, which stands for non-fungible token, is a one-of-a-kind digital item that can be verified through blockchain technology. The digital code gives proof of value and, because it is one-of-a-kind, the value can skyrocket.
“I’m very thankful for the NCAA and the opportunity to get an education while I’m in school and to pursue a degree in economics,” Garza said.
“I don’t want to take anything away from that, but obviously we’ve seen the great work of a lot of college athletes around the country. One of my teammates, Jordan Bohannon, is huge in pushing these kind of issues. I stand with the change in times. I think this is something that athletes in the future could do to make money off their name, image, and likeness through something like an NFT. This is something that could provide an example if the name, image, and likeness (bill) is passed.”
The Hawkeyes star will not be keeping all of the profit from the auction. He will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“It’s really important as well that some of the proceeds go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital,” he said. “That’s something I’m really passionate about. I think it’s going to make it so it’s for a good cause.”
It’s great to see Garza putting his interest in technology and his economics major to good use.