Two-time WNBA champion Renee Montgomery is launching five NFTs or non-fungible tokens Friday in partnership with HEARTLENT Group. Montgomery has hand-selected five moments from her basketball career for the collection.
“I started with the NBA Top Shots, and I was like, this is really cool that you can own an NBA moment, an actual moment from the NBA. Then I started to hear about NFT’s, and they’re almost the same, but it’s your moment,” Montgomery told me in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
She began to brainstorm moments in her career that would work for the NFT market. The Starting Five collection will emphasize Montgomery’s Moments Equal Momentum philosophy. They will include her WNBA record seven three-pointers in one game, her decision to opt-out of the 2020 season, and her retirement announcement on her weekly show Remotely Renee.
Montgomery embraces the opportunity to change minds about the present and future of technology, as well as a Black woman’s place in that future. Business leaders have taken notice.
“Renee is one of the most influential former pro athletes in the world right now, and HEARTLENT Group is honored to create her first NFT collection,” said Jonah Ballow, Managing Partner and Head of Content Strategy + Production for HEARTLENT Group.
The foray into NFTs aligns with Montgomery’s belief that women should embrace the tech space, especially Black women. You are hard-pressed to listen to Montgomery speak anywhere without a reference to NFTs, cryptocurrency, and other tech-related business trends. The more Montgomery talked about tech, the more she realized she needed to practice what she preached.
“In my TED talk, I talked a lot about tech and being tech-forward. The Black and Brown community, we have to dive more into that field,” said Montgomery. “You have to be what you can’t see sometimes, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The opportunity also opens up the potential to work with diverse artists and global creators. Barrow and Elliot Gerrard joined Remotely Renee to discuss today’s launch and what fans can expect next.
“We wanted to make this 3D gallery that sat above the NFT court, almost like jerseys in the rafters, but it’s artwork in the rafters,” said Gerrard on the podcast. Artists created digital designs from around the world.
The exploding NFT market, like many other things in society, often lacks diversity. Wasserman and re_inc are among the first NFTs for women athletes. Wasserman’s NFTs known as The Collective Series include WNBA athletes Sue Bird, Aari McDonald, and Charli Collier. Bird’s NFT has attracted a $300 bid.
Christen Press, one of a handful of Black women on the U.S Soccer Women’s National Team, had her NFT sell for 1.2 WETH or $3,308.66. As a comparison, a LeBron James Top Shot moment sold for over $387,000, and NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ debut collection of NFTs sold for $3.7 million. As more women enter the NFT sports memorabilia space, Montgomery hopes sports fans follow.
“A lot of male athletes, when they put things out, automatically the price tag rises because they’re an NBA player, or they’re an NFL player. When women or female athletes are trying to do different things in different spaces, I would love if people supported the same way because that’s how growth happens.”
A portion of the proceeds from Montgomery’s NFT sales will benefit the Renee Montgomery Foundation.