Some of My Favorite & Least Favorite NBA Top Shot Moments and Lessons Learned From Them
I started buying NBA Top Shot moments primarily because it looked cool, it was the shiny new thing, and it seemed liked a great way to make money. But, only a month in and I've fallen in love with both the moments and the community. I am a holder at heart; whether that be stocks or moments, and I've been finding it harder and harder to part with any of my moments as I keep on upgrading to those that I like. Like anyone else, I've made great choices and great mistakes. To celebrate one month since buying my first ever pack, here are some of my most notable moments--from my favorite to my biggest regret, and the lessons I've learned along the way.
Note that the market has been very volatile today so prices on screenshots of the moments may be different from screenshots from evaluate.market. Prices are as of 9:10 am, February 24, 2021.
LeBron James (Series 2) 3 Pointer
This was a pull from one of my first packs. At the time, the market low price for it was around $300 before plummeting to around $70 a couple weeks later. I didn't really care since LBJ is my favorite player, and this moment, in my opinion, is the sickest one out there, so it was one for the collection. A little backstory: Dennis Schroder on the bench bet that LeBron wouldn't make the shot. LeBron turned around to look him in the eye and make the bet official, and thus was born this legend of a moment. Watch LeBron's interview on this event here.
Not selling this moment paid well, since after the dip, it has risen a crazy amount. It was already selling higher than any /15000+ moment before the conversion of all moments to LE, but the conversion has pushed this moment's price even higher.
Lesson learned: packs will remain one of the best value buys, if you can get your hands on it. Never miss a chance at one. More info on packs and drops here.
Vince Carter (Series 1) 3 Pointer
This moment is my favorite because of two things: its value of scarcity and sentimentality. Sentimentality: the moment showcases Vince Carter shooting his last shot on the last game of his NBA career. It still gives me chills watching this moment.
Scarcity: there are only 3,336 of these moments minted, and looking at the data, it is even scarcer than that. There are still 626 of these in S1 packs, which Dapper has said they cannot distribute with S2 moments, but have not yet declared a plan for them. There are 226 of these minted, but not in packs. This leaves 2,484 in circulation. Looking at the data again, there are only 1,150 owners for those the moments that are out, meaning some owners are holding multiples.
I bought this moment at $400 a couple of weeks ago when I thought it was very undervalued. Turns out, I was right.
Lesson learned: Looking deeper at the data beyond the circulation count can give more insight on scarcity. Sentimental moments are gold.
Last S1 Purchase
Kawhi Leonard (Series 1) Block
Kawhi's finger block is a fun moment to hold. When the market was at its apparent peak, I decided to consolidate some higher serial S2 base moments and buy a lower-ish serial S1 moment with only /3287 circulation count.
I bought this moment for $995, and at the time of this screenshot (and when the market was already in a downturn), it was holding steady at its price. Now that the market is at its lowest in days, it has lost some value:
However, this is still faring well compared to others which we'll dive deeper into with the next moment.
Lesson learned: Of course, buying at the peak is never ideal, but who knows when that is? I still think this moment is a tad undervalued, and I like the moment, so I'm okay seeing it red.
Worst Performing Moment & Last S2 Purchase
Jonas Valanciunas (Series 2) Dunk
When I sold moments to buy my Kawhi, I had around $40 left. I didn't want any funds sitting in Dapper when the market was mooning so I decided to do the next best thing: look at moments I can afford and pick one. The market is in an upswing anyway. What can go wrong? Narrator: A lot went wrong.
In the next days after this purchase, the market started eclipsing and the first moments to lose value were S2 moments with the current highest circulation count (15000).
Lesson learned: You cannot predict the market. Yes, we all know it's a cycle with ups and downs but the exact timing is unpredictable. But, looking at the loss on this moment (66%) versus that of Kawhi's (6%), it's pretty clear that S1 and more limited moments have a lot less volatility in price during market swings than S2 moments.
Least Favorite Moment
Maxi Kleber (Series 1) Dunk
I say this is my least favorite, but I hold it dear to my heart as it has now become a running joke to people who know me in the Top Shot community (shout out to my Filipino Top Shot group). When Mark Cuban posted about Top Shot and his Maxi Kleber S1 moment, Kleber's moment got pumped. The lil noob that I was, I went in on the craze since I thought Kleber might continue to go up. After all, Mark Cuban tweeted about it, and there must be a lot of Mavericks fans out there. I was wrong again. I bought one at $69 (lol) when it was sitting in the market in the low $20s. I got left holding the bag as it went back down shortly after.
However, joke's on everyone else because this moment is now $380. I'm still not sure why this particular moment of Kleber's is getting ridiculous pumps, but I'm not complaining. I just saw it climb to $800 one Sunday morning with seemingly no apparent reason.
Lesson learned: don't get caught holding the bag, but if you do and you lose value, HODL. Do not sell at a loss.
Biggest Sale Regret
Brandon Ingram (Series 2) Holo Icon Dunk
I was one of the lucky ones to get a Holo Icon pack. I pondered for a long time whether I wanted to hold the pack or open it. I even made a spreadsheet with pull chances that you can see here. Ingram's card was around $3,200 at the time. Since I didn't want to hold this moment, I decided to sell it. I was very impatient with the sale and started undercutting with others, driving the moment down to $2,800. It was definitely not my proudest moment. My thought process was that although this moment was part of a challenge, there must only be a few people trying to complete it because at the time, completing the challenge cost around $21,000. Besides, I thought Anthony Davis selling for over $5,000 would be a bottleneck.
Again, I was wrong. I underestimated how many whales are out there with the capability to make moves to buy these moments. During the recent market peak, this moment even reached over $8,000.
I say this is my biggest regret, but I don't really regret selling it per se. Selling this moment gave me the capital to purchase other moments which I liked more, and those moments also happened to increase in value with time. It's easy to look back and regret something--and, don't get me wrong--it is sometimes healthy to look back to see the lessons learned, but it's important to not dwell on them. There is nothing we can do to change the past, but we can take what we learn moving forward.
Lessons learned: don't underestimate the number of people who would complete even a ridiculously expensive challenge. DO NOT UNDERCUT. For shame (looking at you SilentBang).
I made the mistakes so hopefully you won't have to...
Looking at all these, it is true what they say--time in the market is better than timing the market, and that in itself is one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned. Other than that, if I were just starting Top Shot, here's a recap of some of the things I wish I knew:
Never miss a chance at packs.
Moments that are sentimental and scarce are gold.
S1 moments with lower mints are less volatile than S2 moments.
Don't get caught holding the bag.
Do not underestimate the number of people trying to complete challenges.
Do not undercut.
Do not sell at a loss.
All else fails, hold.
Hope this post provides some insights and lessons you can use in your own journey. Have any advice for new collectors? Comment below or holler on Twitter @topshotnoobie.
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