In the early part of 2003, a kid from Akron was about to make one of the most consequential decisions of his life. His name: LeBron James. A basketball phenomenon that is now considered to be the GOAT. The behind-the-scenes images from the Big Game film give us a rare glimpse into his world, and are now immortalised in an NFT series.
Here is all you need to know about Crypto.com’s first-ever NFT drop with LeBron James. Read on to learn about the story behind it, the making-of, and who received the NFTs.
One Hidden QR Code in the Ad – 5,550 LeBron James NFTs Airdropped to Fans
The Crypto.com commercial shows young LeBron James on the verge of making the fateful decision to skip college and go to the League – with the help of his older self advising him to always call his own shots. And it hit the right emotions with both fans and industry professionals, becoming one of the most acclaimed ads of the 2022 Big Game.
Where was the QR Code?
Fans found many Easter eggs related to crypto and LeBron James’ life in the short reel: from DYOR cologne to Savannah’s mix and a seed phrase on his wall. But most importantly, at around 0:10 seconds, they zoomed in on the QR code appearing for a split second behind young LeBron.
This took fans to a secret webpage where they could input their email address for further instructions on how to enter for a chance to win a limited edition NFT.
The Making of: ‘The Moment of Truth’ NFT Collection
The NFTs capture key moments of LeBron James’ big decision, and the behind-the-scenes of the film.
The spot was directed by Calmatic, known for his work with Lil Nas X, Pharell, Jay-Z, and the soon to be released remake of 90’s cult classic, House Party. Calmatic is featured in two NFTs of the drop.
Bentley Green played young LeBron and was discovered by Calmatic through his role in ‘Snowfall’. While the resemblance between the actor and young LeBron James is uncanny, it was further enhanced by CGI developed by The Mill, capturing James’ expressions and transposing them onto Green. Parts of this process are captured in Tier 2 of the NFT drop.
The Story Behind the LeBron James NFT Drop
The short film is set in James’ bedroom in Akron. Here, he has to make one of the biggest decisions of his life: skip college to join the league, at only 18 years old. Besides LeBron James, only a handful of players made this daunting choice, most notably, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The hype surrounding LeBron James making this choice seems like a foregone conclusion, but it still represented a huge personal risk for him.
“We wanted to immortalise this very human story about making big decisions. We were initially quite nervous to present the storyboard to him, as it touches on a very personal moment in his life. But he loved the idea instantly. LeBron James is an icon, but his history and upbringing is the reason we can all connect with him, and what makes this story so powerful,” says Ben Lay, Creative Director behind the production at Crypto.com.
Behind-the-Scenes Snaps Capture a Piece of Film-Making Nostalgia
The NFTs capture moments from the making of the Big Game commercial. Their aesthetic is based on instant snaps done at film sets.
In the days before smartphones, a dedicated on-set photographer would capture the set-up of every scene and all outfits that actors wore. This was used for consistency – scenes are often not completed in a day and have to be rolled out again. The instant snaps ensured everything matched.
These images were only meant for the crew and talent, not for the public eye. Some would inevitably make their way into the world, unofficially or in the shape of an expensive coffee table book.
Often, they would fetch high prices, as “there’s an inherent value in seeing something that isn’t meant for us,” Ben Lay explains.
‘The Moment of Truth’ NFT Collection, in Detail
‘The Moment of Truth’ Collection consists of 15 NFTs in 3 tiers.
In total, 5550 NFTs were airdropped to the lucky winners. They were randomly selected among those who found and followed the QR code in the spot, and signed up to the Crypto.com NFT platform by Friday after the Game.
Tier 3 features on-set details and Easter eggs, reminding us to pay attention to the details of life. 5 NFTs with 1000 editions each.
Tier 2 captures the nostalgia of LeBron James roots: Details of his Akron room, and director Calmatic who authentically recreated the vibe of the time. 5 NFTs with 100 editions each.
Tier 1 includes exclusive glimpses of the GOAT himself, behind the scenes at the shoot. 5 NFTs with 10 editions each.
You Gotta Call Your Own Shots
In the film, current day James appears to guide young LeBron. His advice: “You gotta call your own shots.” But he adds, “I can’t tell you everything.” Code for confidence in your ability.
LeBron James’ decisions have made him a basketball phenomenon considered to be the GOAT. But as extraordinary as he is, his humanity is just as undeniable. James has consistently given back to the community he originated from. The LeBron James Family Foundation that creates generational change for children is part of this.
NFT Re-Sale Proceeds Will go to LeBron James’ Family Foundation
The NFTs were airdropped to 5,550 randomly selected winners among those who discovered the QR code. Royalties from secondary market sales will go to the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF).
Crypto.com is partnering with LeBron James and LJFF to support educational and workforce development opportunities focused on Web3. Building on a strong basis of educational empowerment, the partnership will give students and families connected to the I PROMISE program access to the tools and educational resources needed to participate and succeed in building Web3, the future of the internet.
“I want to ensure that communities like the one I come from are not left behind. Crypto.com and I are aligned on the need to educate and support my community with the information and tools they need for inclusion. I’m looking forward to working with them to bring these opportunities to my community,” said LeBron James.
More on the Big Game Commercial and the LeBron James NFTs
Learn more about Crypto.com’s partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation.
All NFTs were airdropped for free to the winners and are not for sale by Crypto.com. Some might appear for re-sale on the Crypto.com NFT platform. 5% of sales will go as royalties to the LeBron James Family Foundation.