Never-before-seen Kobe photos to sell as NFTs

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LOS ANGELES — As fans look to find ways to remember Kobe Bryant this week — with the late Lakers star’s birthday Monday followed by the date on the calendar that commemorates his uniforms Tuesday, 8/24 — a blockchain company has found another way to honor Mamba forever.

Cryptograph, a digital collectibles enterprise, is releasing a series of eight never-before-seen photographs of Bryant as non-fungible tokens, an increasingly popular investment option for collectors seeking unique digital properties.

“NFTs can eternalize and immortalize,” said Tommy Alastra, the co-founder of Cryptograph.

They can also support charitable causes. All proceeds of the sales from the “KOBE” collection of NFTs will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, according to Alastra.

The black and white images, which Bryant posed for in his early 20s during a magazine shoot for photographer Davis Factor at an abandoned warehouse in downtown L.A. in 1999, show Bryant wearing a variety of outfits as he preens for the camera.

“This shoot is special because you don’t see him in a jersey,” Alastra said. “He’s Kobe Bean Bryant. You can see the father, the son, the husband come out. It’s just him, raw, in everyday Kobe. It’s special. … They’re really quite beautiful.”

Alastra, a producer and actor who founded Cryptograph last year with Hugo McDonaugh, is a longtime friend of Factor’s. He recently met with the photographer to review Factor’s personal book project when Alastra says he “stumbled on” the Bryant series that had been in Factor’s archives for more than 20 years.

“I was like, ‘Hey, man, this is a great time,'” Alastra recalled. “‘In about two months it’s national Kobe day [on August 24]. Have you ever considered what this could potentially do?'”

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