Ed O’Bannon, Shawne Alston, Johnny Manziel, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) Part 3

2 min readMar 25, 2021

Here is the fundamental problem with student-athlete compensation. The university says that they are fairly compensating the athlete with an education. BUT the reason the athlete is there on campus is because the athlete’s prime directive is to PLAY THE SPORT, and getting an education is a secondary option. The current structure for most people is that college degrees are for people like me who have ZERO athletic ability, and sports is a secondary intramural option.

Colleges will also argue that there is merit in having players develop in college, especially for certain sports like football and track, where player development and progression is heavily related to structure and environment. However, that does not justify the university using the definition of amateurism and compensation to profit off of athletes at the college level without proper licensing and compensation.

Fundamentally, NILs are really about the current structuring of personal rights. NFTs provide a better and more liquid valuation attached to those rights. Rob Gronkowski did an NFT drop last week for $1.8 million in collaboration with OpenSea.

It’s not just athletes, but musicians, artists, and other content creators that benefit from NFTs by controlling there NILs. Elon Musk turned down an offer of over $1 million for his tweet, with a theoretical auction price estimate of $5 million. I participated in a comedy writers forum recently with people from the industry including the Executive VP of Lionsgate Entertainment to discuss NFTing comedians and writers’ scripts for IP purposes, but there are many union and contractual roadblocks to this pathway.

Finally, we come to Rickie Fowler — if he NFTs this photo, he will make a fortune and solidify the eternal meme “No One To Kiss”:


But now he is married to Allison Stokke, so it looks like he has two lottery tickets.

Edward Kim is co-founder and General Partner at 3LA Ventures. You can contact him at ed@3lavc.com

March 23, 2021