LSU basketball student athlete, and son of NBA hall of famer Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal has signed a long-term deal with NFT Genius to launch a new line of NFTs. The series of NFTs that will be created will not only tell Shareef’s story but also the whole O’Neal family and their shared love of sports, family and inspiring others.
“I see NFTs as an innovative medium to bring fans along my life’s journey — to join me and my family through our own successes and struggles and bring awareness to causes that are important to me,” said O’Neal. “We want to reward everyone who secures my first NFTs that will reflect those things I am most passionate about — basketball, music, and giving back. We have a lot of surprises in store including winning signed memorabilia, free air drops, and access to some cool experiences with me and my family.”
Asked how he felt about NFTs when approached with this deal, the LSU forward said he was excited to try out the medium.
“I am here for it! I think NFTs are that new wave and it’s really a way give power to creators that want to innovate. I can’t wait to use my NFTs to connect with fans and raise funds for a cause that I care about through my partnership with American Heart Association.”
His collection will include an exclusive NFT to celebrate American Heart Month in February. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will be donated to the American Heart Association
“It’s a monumental undertaking—arguably the first time in the NFT space where an athlete is showcased not only for their work on the court, but also for important causes and personal hardships they may be facing off the court,” said Jeremy Born, CEO of NFT Genius. “It’s the story of Shareef and his family—only instead of books, tv, or movies—we’re using NFTs as the medium.”
The partnership with NFT Genius will mark O’Neal’s first foray into NFTs.
“This is my first time, my NFT debut! I’ve got all sorts of exclusive experiences and prizes for the fans that join me and my family Day 1 in this journey. It is just the beginning for the O’Neal Family.”
The long-term deal with NFT Genius includes releases of NFT series chronicling his junior season at LSU, recovering from a life-threatening heart defect and will also expand into his outside interests in music and lifestyle.
O’Neal says he’s also recently started collecting NFTs.
“For me it’s all about the art work and the community. I recently joined Ballerz and the #BallerzNation family! It was my first NFT but for sure won’t be the last. I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next NFT I pick up.”
Last month, NFT Genius launched Ballerz, a collection of 10,000 basketball-themed NFTs that sold out within three hours. Shareef has his own Ballerz NFT.
O’Neal’s collection with NFT Genius launches December 13 and is the first of more to come from the O’Neal family. Shareef’s mother and “momager” Shaunie O’Neal has a collection that will launch later in 2022.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to be working with Shareef and the O’Neal family,” said Born. “Their stature among the worlds of basketball, Gen Z, and pop culture will allow us to truly unlock the storytelling power of NFTs, as we bring their fans even closer to the family.”
Born says the company’s work with O’Neal and his family serves as an example of what these partnerships can look like for other athletes going forward.
“Our goal is to set the standard on how athletes, brand, and influencers can enter the world of NFTs, with a thoughtful long-term strategy that rewards holders and offers unique opportunities that can’t be found on other platforms.”
NFT Genius is backed by notables in the investing world, including Dallas Maverick’s owner and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, CEO of Dapper Labs Roham Gharegozlou, Madonna and U2 manager Guy Oseary, actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher and investor Anthony Pompliano.