Sports Strength

Unicorn Imani McGee-Stafford on Building a Culture of Women’s Sports

Imagine: It’s a Friday night and we’re all headed over to a friend’s watch party. They’ve ordered food, snacks and liquor. We’re all chatting away until someone yells, ”Quiet down y’all. She’s up!” We follow directions and crowd around the television to watch Simone once again annihilate the competition. This watch party was to witness and appreciate the greatness that is US gymnast, Simone Biles. However, in this reality, watch parties aren’t limited to boxing matches, NFL games and NBA playoffs. In this reality, we appreciate the competition, no matter the gender. We gather because we are fans of athletes and we respect them, no matter their sport. A girl can dream, right?

I am often approached by what I affectionately call “WNBA Economists” explaining to me why the WNBA is unsuccessful and not a staple of major platforms such as ESPN, TNT, ABC or the like. They say it boils down to profitability. However, I counter with culture. There is no culture of consumption of women’s sports. No sports league can survive and build without the casual fan. As far as I can remember, there has always been an event surrounding male sports. It is ingrained in us. From Friday Night Lights to College Football Saturdays and NFL Sundays—we are gathered around to support. It is an event. I remember being so confused during my first college football Saturday when I attended the University of Texas at Austin. The game may have been at 7pm but the festivities started at 11am. The entire city of Austin shut down, because it was football Saturday. 

Culture is the piece missing from the consumption of women’s sports. It is a fairly new phenomenon of parents encouraging their daughters to play sports and women being allowed to be both powerful and aggressive in the space. While I could logically point to all the -isms female sports have to combat, because sports are a microcosm of the real world, we will always face those. While I believe sports are powerful, that is a battle for another day.

I am a feminist through and through. I am a second-generation WNBA player. I am one of the first generations to grow up with a professional women’s basketball professional league. It would be dishonest of me not to acknowledge my deep roots and personal reasons for wanting women’s sports to be celebrated and consumed. But there are actually many other reasons, outside of my selfish ones. According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, “80% of women identified as key leaders in Fortune 500 companies played organized sports in their youth, while nearly 96% of women holding C-suite positions did so. Most of the executives point to sports participation earlier in life as elemental to their business achievement.” Numbers don’t lie. 

We are currently watching the biggest global spectacle of sport, the Olympics. The Olympics is also another time when sports are celebrated and not gendered—a rare moment when women are given the same amount of support and television coverage. The WNBA was started in part by the excitement that took place following the 1996 Olympic Women’s Team in Atlanta. The Olympics specifically prove that there is an audience for women’s sports, that fans are available when a product is shared. So how do we take the excitement we experience for women’s sports every four years and make it a regular thing?

1. Encourage your daughters to play sports.

I already mentioned the statistics of professional success when women play sports as children. But everything starts in the home. It starts with personal connections and investment. A culture is built around women sports when you put your daughter in sports; you become invested and also want her to find stars that look like her, promoting the consumption of professional women sports. 

2. Consume women’s sports.

Being a fan of women’s sports is largely a community effort. So it is important to consume women’s sports when they are aired, while demanding for more. Simple things like asking the local bar to put on a women’s game or asking your cable network why they aren’t covering women’s sports can make the difference.

3. Tell the story.

People don’t buy the what, they buy the who and why. It is often hard to engage with women’s sports because the only thing being marketed is the sport itself and not the stories of the litany of multifaceted athletes on that team. People need someone to connect with and root for; the only way we can do that is by humanizing the sport and telling these women’s stories. 

Sports are a microcosm of real life. When we uplift women in sports, we inherently uplift women in society as well. 

Culture Trading Cards

Analyzing The Latest Panini Prizm Gold NBA Sales

When it comes to identifying and recognizing the key rookie cards of a modern NBA player, Prizm Gold is almost always in the conversation. Prizm Gold variations are numbered to just 10 copies in a set, and while there are a few other variations with shorter print, they are very rare, popular, and command significant price tags for the top rookies of a class. 

In this analysis, we’ll look at Prizm Gold sales of top NBA players over the past few months. Many of these sales occurred on the Goldin Auctions platform, which caters to a higher-end audience that is seeking these types of rare cards. 

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
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The Giannis Antetokounmpo Gold Prizm PSA 10 sold on Goldin Auctions on May 23rd for $420,000: 


Giannis most notably won back-to-back MVP awards, but he does not have a championship ring. He is, however, the 27th ranked all-time NBA player according to ESPN

His Gold rookie parallel sold for 15.85x of the most comparable Prizm Silver PSA sale:


There are just 2 copies of the Prizm Gold while there are 75 copies of the Prizm Silver card. 

The Prizm Silver is about 37 times less rare in pure population comparison, which provides some context for the significant price difference in two key rookie cards of a rising star. 

However, Giannis’ gold prizm, despite being in a PSA 10 copy, sold for $90,000 less than a BGS 9.5 copy via Goldin Auctions in early April: 


This represents a 17% drop, and it’s even more significant considering that a PSA 10 typically commands a premium over BGS 9.5s. 

The Prizm Silver PSA 10 sold for $30,700 on April 21st. The Prizm Silver PSA 10 dropped 13.7% between the April and May sale listed above. The card has further declined in price, with a June sale of $18,100. In just two months, that’s 41% of value lost. 

However, in April of last year, the Prizm Silver sold for around $17,300 in April of 2020 consistently, so year over year, the card is up 4.6%.

And in October of 2019, the Giannis Gold Prizm BGS 9.5 sold for $33,800, which is significantly less than what it would trade for in today’s market. 

2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
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On May 23rd Joel Embiid’s Gold Prizm PSA 10 sold on Goldin Auctions for $50,400, or about 8x less than Giannis’ Gold Prizm. 

Embiid finished 2nd in MVP voting for the 2020-21 season. 

His Silver Prizm PSA 10 is currently valued at $3,000: 


The Prizm Silver PSA is valued at 16.8x less than its Prizm Gold counterpart. This multiplier is within the same ballpark as Giannis, which helps us start to understand the price relationship between Prizm Silver and Prizm Gold. 

Embiid’s Prizm Silver PSA 10 has 66 copies, whereas his Gold PSA 10 has 3 copies. Embiid’s Prizm Gold is 22x more rare than the Silver. 

3. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
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On March 7th 2021, during a growth period for the hobby, Anthony Davis’ Prizm Gold PSA 9 sold for $181,200. There are no PSA 10 copies of this card and just 2 copies in PSA 9. 

Davis was ranked the 45th best NBA player of all-time according to ESPN


In March, Anthony Davis’ Silver Prizm PSA 10 sold for $24,000, which means the Gold variation was sold at a multiplier of 7.55x. While this is about half the multiplier as Embiid and Antetokounmpo, it’s likely due to the fact that there are no PSA 10 copies of this card. 

Davis’ Silver Prizm PSA 10 last sold for $8,600, a 64% decrease in value, so it’s likely a sale of the Gold Prizm today would sell for significantly less.

4. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
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On March 6th, Damian Lillard’s 2012 Prizm Gold in BGS Pristine 10 sold for $87,330, and on May 23rd Lillard’s 2012 Prizm Gold BGS 9.5 sold for $74,400. 

Lillard’s currently ranked the 72nd best player of all-time according to ESPN


Lillard’s Prizm Silver PSA 10 sold for $5,762 on May 24th, the day after his Gold Prizm BGS 9.5 sold. The Gold Prizm sold for 13.23x of the Prizm Silver PSA 10. 


The BGS 10 copy of the card sold for $87,330 in March, a 14.5% premium from its BGS 9.5 counterpart, which is expected as it’s in a higher grade. 

There are a total of 12 copies of the Gold Prizm in PSA 10, BGS 9.5, BGS 10, which is 2.2x more rare than the Prizm Silver PSA 10 with 32 copies. 

Lillard’s Prizm Gold BGS 9.5 sold for as low as $1,150 in February of 2017. 

5. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
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On January 31st, the 2018 Luka Doncic Prizm Gold PSA 10 sold for $780,000 on Goldin Auctions and on April 7th, it sold for $645,750. 

Doncic was ranked the #1 NBA Player under the age of 25 by ESPN two years in a row. 


The pop 3 Gold Prizm PSA 10 has lost 17.2% of it’s value since the January sale. 

On January 31st 2021, Doncic’s Prizm Silver sold for $8,120.71. In this case, the Prizm Gold sold for 96x of the Prizm Silver counterpart, likely due to a higher population of silver Prizms. 

The Prizm Gold PSA 10 is 685 times more rare than the Prizm Silver PSA 10. 

On April 8th, the Prizm Silver PSA 10 sold for $7,700, a 5% decrease from the January 31st sale. 

The Prizm Gold lost 12.2% more value in that time period, but as of June 13th, Doncic’s Silver Prizm is valued at $4,742.50, a 38% loss in value. 

In the last month alone, there have been 20 new copies of the Prizm Silver graded in a PSA 10 copy. 

In July of 2019, the BGS 9.5 Prizm Gold Luka Doncic sold for just $8,500 in a private sale while the current predicted value is $111,920, 1,216% growth in 2 years. 

6. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
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On March 7th, the Trae Young Prizm Gold PSA 10 sold for $111,930 at Goldin Auctions. 

Young finished 6th in All-Star voting for Eastern Conference Guards. 


Young’s Prizm Silver PSA 10 sold for $1,650 on March 8th. Like Doncic’s Gold Prizm, Young’s Gold sold for 67.8x of the Prizm Silver in a similar time frame. 

The Prizm Silver PSA 10 has a population of 2,061 with 36 new PSA 10 copies issued in the past month. The Gold Prizm is 515 times more rare than the Silver, which is less rare than Doncic’s Prizm Gold and may clue us into why the Gold didn’t sell at a similar multiplier. 

Young’s Silver Prizm PSA 10 has increased in value since the sale in March to $1,673, 1.39% growth. 

7. Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers
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On April 6th, the 2012 Prizm Gold Lebron James BGS 9.5 sold for $571,200 on Goldin Auctions. 

Lebron James was ranked #2 on ESPN’s All-Time Basketball rankings

While this isn’t a rookie card, 2012 Prizm was the first year the product was introduced for NBA players and carries some historical significance in the hobby. 


On April 7th, Lebron James’ 2003 Topps Chrome Refractor (Rookie) sold for $147,600. 

That means that the non-rookie, non-PSA 10, Gold Refractor sold for 3.86x the value of a PSA 10 rookie refractor in the same time period. 

The 2003 Topps Chrome Rookie refractor has lost 36% of its value since the March sale, with it’s latest value at $94,470. 

At the current predicted value of the 2012 Prizm Gold BGS 9.5, the card is still worth 1.8x of it’s Topps Chrome rookie refractor counterpart. 

The 2012 Gold Prizm BGS 9.5 is 19x more rare than the Topps Chrome rookie Refractor PSA 10.

Culture Trading Cards

Basketball Hall of Fame Induction 2021: How Did It Affect Card Prices?

The 2020 Hall of Fame Class brought nine inductions on May 15, 2021, headlined by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. Enshrinement in the Hall of Fame cements a player’s career and legacy, but what does that mean for their card prices? 

Does it become the moment where their cards rise in value due to the permanence of their induction? Do they fall because of an influx of supply? How do rarer cards behave after the induction versus the more common, flagship rookie cards?

Let’s dive into the data to find out! 

1. Kobe Bryant
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Bryant’s induction carried the most significance in the hall of fame class, given his passing in early 2020. His cards have had a tremendous increase in value, but after peaking in February, they have fallen in value in the recent months. 

While certain popular cards like his Topps Chrome Refractor have not had any recent sales, Goldin Auctions does have two copies for sale currently, and one copy is above the most recent sale value of $270,600:

Goldin Auctions

The current $280,000 bid is a 3% increase from its previous sale, and there are 5 days left in the auction. 

Up next is his 1996 Topps Chrome Base PSA 10:


On 4/19/21 this once $45,100 card hit its lowest valuation since early January at $22,950, a 49% dip. It’s worth noting, however, that while the card significantly dropped in value from its record high, it could have been purchased for under $10,000 as recently as November 2020. 

On 5/10/21, just a few days prior to his induction, the card rebounded to $23,500, for a 2% gain. 

On 5/12, the card increased in value again, this time to $25,000:


This represents a gain of 6% in value from the previous sale. It’s worth noting that the card got as high as $27,500 on 4/30, but has generally declined in value since its record sale on 2/14. There are currently twenty-two copies of this card available on eBay (2.6% of the total population), two copies listed on MySlabs, and four copies at Goldin Auctions currently. 

The same general pricing pattern is occurring with the Kobe Bryant Topps PSA 10:


The Topps base card is in a decline with a number of peaks and valleys but has found a bit of upward momentum with its recent $5,300.99 sale, a gain of 4% over 48 hours. There are about 50 copies of this card listed on eBay currently, indicating an abundance of supply for ready buyers. 

It’s clear that the hall of fame induction didn’t automatically drive prices back up to their late-winter highs, and even lower pop, autographed cards haven’t yet rebounded: 


This chart shows recent prices for his 2012 Prizm auto (first year of that set, pop 78). The latest sale on 4/22/21 represents a 20% drop in price since March. We don’t yet have any sales post Hall of Fame induction, but given the patterns of Bryant’s other cards, we wouldn’t likely see a major jump in price.

2. Tim Duncan
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ESPN ranked Tim Duncan one spot ahead of Kobe Bryant on its best NBA players of all-time list. However, Duncan’s cards have generally commanded significantly less value. 

It’s been attributed to his quiet demeanor and fundamental style of play, as he’s also known as “The Big Fundamental”. 

Cultural relevance matters more than just a rank, and it’s reflected in Duncan’s Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 prices: 


The card is a pop 106, compared to Bryant’s pop 63 refractors PSA 10, but is worth about 10 times less

However, Duncan’s refractor has been less volatile than Bryant’s: 

Tim Duncan 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10: 22% drop from peak value on 2/14 

Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10: 46% drop from peak value on 2/2/21. 

There are currently 3 copies (2.8% of the population) of Duncan’s rookie refractor PSA 10s on eBay. 

Leading up to Duncan’s enshrinement, his Topps Chrome base PSA 10 hit a low of $1,462.50 on 5/8:


The card rebounded to $1,950 on 5/11/21, a 33% increase from the low, but it still hasn’t neared its peak prices from February. There are 77 copies of this card currently listed on eBay (3.2% of the population). While it’s a small portion of the population, buyers likely don’t feel a sense of urgency to purchase given the number of active listings for the card. 

The PSA 9 version of this card hit $402.50, on 5/12, an increase of 26% from 5/9/21:


While we aren’t looking at record-breaking prices, and this analysis is contained in small windows, there is a general trend of small, upward momentum in the days leading up to the Hall of Fame induction. Supply is abundant, indicating that an influx of demand would be needed to push prices up further.

3. Kevin Garnett
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Garnett’s flagship rookie is Topps Finest, given that the Topps Chrome set didn’t hit the market until 1996. Much like Duncan and Bryant, his cards have generally been trending downward since February and March: 


Garnett’s Topps Finest Base PSA 10 dropped by 5% from 4/29/21 to 5/6/21 and hasn’t seen a sale since. There are currently 17 copies of the card listed as “Buy It Now” options on eBay. 

Since its peak on 3/11, this card has dropped 57% in value, the largest drop out of all three Hall of Fame inductees. 

The 1995 Topps Kevin Garnett has also seen similar declines:


The card dropped 4% from 5/2/21 to 5/6/21 and is down 62% since its high on 2/14/21. 

4. What’s the conclusion?
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The data shows that the hall of fame inductions did not produce significant price increases for these three player’s cards. However, the typical explanation for this behavior is that there’s a flood of supply, with sellers knowing that the Hall of Fame or any other significant career moment might be a good time to capture the most value. 

While we are mostly seeing 2-3% of the total population of cards listed, the absolute numbers are fairly high and it does appear that a flood of supply has entered the market from sellers hoping to capitalize on the announcement. 

On top of the influx of supply, it’s likely that the average 46% price drop across these cards since February / March may have buyers a bit more cautious during this cycle of the market. It’s possible that the Hall of Fame anticipation started much earlier and as a result, these cards hit record prices months prior to the actual event taking place. 

Post Hall of Fame induction, there’s plenty of copies to go around with many recent listings. We saw the same thing happen in football, with a flood of supply hitting the market after a Superbowl win, and it drove prices down. This is likely the same behavior – it might be a time for a buyer to take advantage of the available supply! 

NFT Sports

Looking at the NBA Top Shot Market Before the Playoffs, with Jack Settleman

With the NBA Playoffs right around the corner, I think this is a good time to look at the NBA Top Shot market. 

Finally, it appears that the market has stabilized. 

Obviously, it came out guns blazing. But then a market correction did happen. It feels like this is the first time where we are seeing some stability. This doesn’t mean that the prices won’t drop, but it does mean that the days of a 10 percent decrease a day are most likely over. 

Since the market was crashing, what have we seen?

  1. Users have now seen access to withdrawals, which was an early that we addressed in the first couple of Top Shot blogs. 
  1. Dappers also made a lot of new hires, some coming from the NFL. The emphasis seems to be on building out the business with high level marketing members and having a strategic focus. 
  1. Top Shot has done a good job of responding to feedback. Whether it be the requirements on pack drops or removing bots from the release pool. Listening to the community will be massive for Dapper and even though it is early in their career span, they’ve seem to be receptive to feedback. 
  1. A new “King” has come forth in the NBA sphere. “Dingaling” has quickly become one of the more invested consumers of the Top Shot community. In the last few weeks, he has risen to the top ten most valued moment ranks. The “King” came in and purchased these moments “off-market” which factored into his large investment. 

I also have some thoughts/predictions about the market as the playoffs roll through… so let’s take a glance into the crystal ball.

Buy the rumors, sell the news.

Let’s say you think the Bucks will have a great playoffs. And you decide to invest in Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday…

BE PREPARED TO SELL. I do think the market will react to player performances so don’t be afraid to sell just a pinch earlier than you think.

Don’t overthink about who matters.

Don’t get fancy with Joe Harris. Stick to the basics. Buy Durant. Buy Harden. Buy Irving. The odds of a non-superstar becoming the face of a team are remarkably unlikely. Andre Iguodala winning the finals MVP is HIGHLY unlikely and shouldn’t be your model.

Avoid FOMO.

While the playoffs are the most electric time of the year… you don’t need to “FOMO” in. There will undoubtedly be a market dip during the off-season, and the NFL will ramp up. Again, this is no different than the sports card market. Keeping that cash in hand for a few months from now is not a bad idea. Once the season ends, I expect a market dip.