The NBA is having a Rough Time with “The Association” NFT Collection

As reported by, the NBA just recently introduced its new dynamic NFT collection, “the Association”. For those who don’t know, a dynamic NFT is an NFT that can change if certain trigger conditions are met. Depending on how well the players do, the NFTs will change their appearance. As the season progresses, a player’s NFT will change. The NBA hoped that such new technology would improve their brand, but not all has gone as planned.


“The Association”, the NBA’s newest NFT project, was originally introduced with 18,000 NFTs, representing all 240 of the league’s playoff-assigned players this year. Chainlink VRF (a randomizing utility) is also used to distribute 75 NFTs to each of the 16 participating teams at random. Players will be able to change their NFT appearances via Chainlink Oracles. 

The look of the dynamic NFTs change, depending on the player’s performance. This means that as the 2022 NBA Playoffs progress, fans should expect to see the NFTs change.

The NBA’s first NFT collection, NBA Top Shot, was a great success. The collaborative venture between the NBA and Dapper Labs (the company behind the CryptoKitties NFTs) has grown exponentially since its launch in 2020. Top Shot has since developed a forum for those interested in NFTs, collectables, and, most importantly, basketball, to come together and trade NFTs. 

As a result, fans felt more connected than ever to the clubs, players, and sporting experiences that they enjoyed the most. This made them confident enough to invest in their new NFT collection, “The Association”.


The NBA’s “Top Shot” NFT project is a blockchain-based virtual trading card platform. The platform was built on the FLOW Blockchain, which Dapper Labs established to enable “the next generation of games, applications, and digital assets.” The system works like trading cards, but with NBA highlights and visual design. The NBA licenses reels to Dapper Laps, who turns them into Moments. Each moment has a digital serial number that certifies its authenticity and reflects its rarity. 

However, these NFTs (like most other NFTs) don’t change their properties over time. The main selling point of “The Association” NFT collections is that they can change their properties based on real-life events, giving them life and making them a more interesting piece to own or to invest in.


According to, the NBA’s next NFT collection, “The Association”,’ was introduced last Friday, with 18,000 NFTs of the 2022 NBA Playoffs participants available, 75 for each of the 240 rostered players. Almost 2,000 of those NFTs were distributed to Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot NFT owners.

Except for the Top Shot reserved tokens, most of the NFTs were distributed to people on an “allow list.” Fans were eligible on a first-come, first-serve basis if they joined the NBA Discord group early and linked their digital wallet to the initiative’s website. The list quickly filled up.

In some ways, “The Association” NFTs were simpler to sell. Consumers who follow and understand what it means to perform well on the court were likely to be entertained by the dynamic changes based on player performance. 


The NFT launch was going well for a while, until some people discovered a vulnerability of the smart contracts the collection was built upon. They then exploited the contracts to mint thousands of NFTs for free and sell them on the open market.

According to, BlockSec, a blockchain security firm, disclosed the discovery of this critical flaw. According to the company’s official blog post, the primary cause of the fault was the misuse of signature verification.

This indicated that the contract did not ensure that the user (and only the user) will pnly be able to utilize the signature once. The flaw also enabled the attackers to use a privileged user’s signature and generate tokens for themselves.

According to the firm, they were astonished that such a vulnerability existed in such a well-known NFT project, and they said the NBA and its community must pay more attention to contract security. According to reports, the attackers were able to mint 100 NFTs and sell them on the OpenSea marketplace.

Blockchain security is becoming a more and more important topic as of late. Not only is revenue lost when a smart contract is exploited, but community trust in a brand can be damaged as well. Other companies will most likely see the NBA’s blunder as a reason to bolster their platform security and test their smart contracts more thoroughly.

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