An NFT by tennis star Naomi Osaka is set to be resold to raise awareness about athletes’ mental health. The rare NFT is a part of a collection of six NFTs that Osaka created with her sister Mari on April 2021.
The first five NFTs had fetched nearly $600,000 in an auction on Basic.Space. Meanwhile, the sixth NFT was sold in a public raffle. The winner of the raffle is now putting it up for auction.
The seller will donate a part of the proceeds from the sale to Athletes for Hope. The donations will go to the non-profits’ initiative, ‘Whole Being Athlete’, which aims to raise awareness about athletes’ mental health.
More on Naomi Osaka NFT resale
The NFT going up for auction is titled “Finding What Was Lost”. According to Mari, this is Osaka’s favourite piece among the six NFTs. The description of the NFT on the website, written by Mari, reads: “While she may occasionally lose her way, Naomi always manages to find herself back on the path she has been searching for”.
The auction will go live on Basic.Space at 9 am ET on July 26. Those who wish to place a bid can head over to the website.
“This is an extremely unique piece, and the story behind it brings a lot of value to the future of sports collecting through NFTs,” CryptoStache.com Founder Shea Newkirk said in a press release. Newkirk added that while recently there have been many NFT sales by professional athletes, Osaka’s “persistent and positive presence in the public eye will probably push this auction to a new NFT record”.
Both Osaka and Mari have signed all the NFTs in the collection. They were built on the Flow blockchain, which also hosts NBA Top Shot.
The need for mental health awareness
Osaka had stepped away from this year’s French Open and Wimbledon to take care of her mental health. While her bold move resulted in criticism, it highlighted the importance of professional athletes’ mental health and the need to openly speak about it.
“Now more than ever, athletes are struggling with their mental health,” said Athletes for Hope COO Jason Belinkie. “With one in five people being diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s become the number one requested cause from our athlete network for advocacy, connection and support”.
Amid this, the Osaka NFT auction will help fund Athletes for Hope’s initiatives to support athletes. Belinkie added that the organisation was “honoured” to continue Osaka’s “vital work in the mental health space.”
In the last couple of months, we have seen more and more athletes entering the NFT space. This month, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had also announced a landmark interim rule allowing college athletes to sign business deals. With this, a new wave of college athlete NFTs will also hit the market.