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NBA Top Shot: Is Completing the LeBron James Seeing Stars Challenge Worth it?

Matt LaMarca breaks down the new Seeing Stars 2 Challenge on NBA Top Shot, which features a LeBron James dunk as the reward.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Top Shot continues to make waves. Not only is everyone on Twitter talking about it, but they just conducted a fundraising round to help raise $305M. Michael Jordan was among the investors, and his name has a smidge of traction in NBA circles.

If Jordan isn’t the NBA GOAT, that designation probably belongs to LeBron James. LeBron is the focus of the Seeing Stars 2 challenge that was just released on Top Shot, which gives collectors a chance to acquire a moment that will never be released in packs. If you’re unfamiliar with challenges – or NBA Top Shot in general – make sure to check out some my primer article.

The thought of getting an exclusive LeBron James moment is appealing, but is it worth it? You’ll need to collect 12 separate “Seeing Stars” moments in order to unlock LeBron, and those individual moments can be pricy.

Let’s dive into some of the data and determine if this challenge is worth your time.

How much will the LeBron moment be worth?

This is obviously the most important question to answer when deciding whether or not you’re going to go after the challenge, and unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. That said, we can do a bit of estimating to try to come up with a ballpark figure.

LeBron is the driving force on Top Shot at the moment. Most of the priciest Top Shot sales to date have involved LeBron, and he has 21 individual moments on Top Shot currently. The lowest ask on his 21 moments is $98.00, and it’s for a common assist moment from Series 2. It’s a CC moment, meaning there are 35,000 copies that have already been minted and there could be more coming in the future. That makes it easily the most common LeBron moment, which is why it’s the cheapest.

Next up for LeBron is another common moment from Series 2, this time of a 3-pointer. That moment is an LE moment, and there are only 15,000 copies in existence. The low asking price on that moment is $529.00.

The only other common LeBron moment from Series 2 is a dunk, and that moment was capped at 7,500. The low asking price on that moment is currently $710.00.

Essentially, this tells us that the scarcity is going to determine how valuable the collection reward ultimately becomes.

Each of the 12 moments that you need to collect to complete this challenge was minted to 10,000, so that is the maximum number of challenge rewards that will ultimately be minted. That said, it will likely be far lower. This is the second “Seeing Stars” challenge, and Kevin Durant was the first reward. There were 4,182 people who completed that challenge, which was also out of a maximum of 10,000.

I would guess that more people are going to complete the LeBron challenge than the Durant challenge, but I would still put the number somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000. Over 3,400 people have already completed the challenge (courtesy of Own the Moment):

Regardless, this moment will likely become LeBron’s most valuable common from Series 2. I would put its approximate value at around $1,000 in the current market.

How much will it cost to complete the challenge?

The answer to this question is going to vary depending on when you purchase the 12 individual moments. The good news is this challenge is getting cheaper to complete by the day.

The moments that you need to collect are all from the “Seeing Stars” set that was released around the All-Star break. There were 24 moments sold in packs from that set: 12 from Team Durant and 12 from Team LeBron. You need to collect the 12 moments from Team LeBron in order to complete the LeBron challenge:

· Luka Doncic

· Steph Curry

· Giannis Antetokounmpo

· Anthony Davis

· Damian Lillard

· Nikola Jokic

· Jaylen Brown

· Paul George

· Chris Paul

· Domantas Sabonis

· Rudy Gobert

· Ben Simmons

The prices on these moments are a bit inflated, which is what happens when they are a part of challenges. If you were looking to spend the bare minimum on those 12 moments currently, it would cost you approximately $2,011.00 as of 4/2/21.

That’s a nice chunk of change, but those same 12 moments would have cost you $3,085.00 on March 24th and $4,055.00 on March 17th. Just by waiting, the price has nearly cut in half.

The deadline to collect the moments needed to complete the challenge is Monday, April 5th at 1 p.m. ET. Expect the price to continue to drop leading up to the deadline. People who own these moments and are not looking to complete the challenge will become more and more desperate to sell them. Once the challenge passes, the price of these moments is going to plummet, so the low ask will continue to decrease before Monday at 1 p.m. ET.

If you are looking to complete this challenge, waiting until the last possible moment seems like the most +EV strategy.

Is this challenge worth completing?

If you want this LeBron James moment, you have two options: complete the challenge yourself or wait for someone else who completed the challenge to list it on the marketplace. Assuming that you have zero interest in keeping any of the individual moments needed to complete the challenge, which route is preferred?

We can take a look at the first “Seeing Stars” challenge to get some insight. The current low asking price on the Kevin Durant challenge reward is $450.00. If you purchased all of the required moments right before the challenge was complete – which was as low as those moments had been listed on the marketplace – it would have cost you approximately $1,557.00. If you were selling those same moments today, the total low asking price is just $682.00. That means that you would have spent approximately $875.00 to secure the Durant moment, which obviously worked out to be an overpay.

This tends to happen with challenges. The required moments just don’t hold their value well enough to make chasing the reward worth it, so you’re often just better off buying the challenge reward after the fact. Of course, you don’t have to sell the moments required to complete the challenge. Holding the underlying moments and waiting to sell in better market conditions could make completing the challenges very profitable in the long run, but I’m focusing solely on people who want to secure the challenge reward as cheaply as possible.

That said, I do think the LeBron challenge could be a bit different. For starters, the LeBron moment will almost certainly be more valuable than the Durant moment. Even though Durant is an all-time great player, he can’t hold a candle to LeBron on Top Shot.

Remember those three LeBron common moments from Series 2 that I listed earlier? Interestingly enough, Durant also has three commons from Series 2: one minted to 7,500, one minted to 15,000, and one CC (35,000+). The low asks on those moments are $455.00, $109.00, and $27.00, respectively, which make them much cheaper than the LeBron’s with the same run count.

If the LeBron challenge reward ends up going for more than the Durant – which is a safe assumption – we have more room to play with in terms of selling the individual moments needed to complete the challenge.

Additionally, the moments from Team LeBron should hold their value a bit better than the moments from Team Durant. This isn’t true of all the players – guys like Gobert, Sabonis, and George will likely dip to around $35.00 – but the overall skill level on Team LeBron is higher overall. Doncic, Curry, Davis and Antetokounmpo should still be worth something after the challenge is complete, while Zion Williamson is the only player from Team Durant whose “Seeing Stars” moment is still over $98.00.

If the price to complete this challenge continues to dip – my target price range would be below $1,800 or so – grabbing the 12 moments could end up being the correct decision.

Are there other incentives for completing the challenge?

This is another aspect that makes completing the challenge appealing. So far, we’ve only talked about the low asking price for all of these moments. That said, you could get a challenge reward that is worth significantly more.

Essentially, each person that completes the challenge gets randomly assigned a different serial number for the reward. With the Durant challenge, that means that each person who completed the challenge had a one in 4,182 chance of getting the coveted No. 1 serial number for that moment. The same goes for the jersey number serial, which is another extremely desirable moment. Getting a chance at a No. 1 or No. 23 LeBron is extremely tantalizing, and it does provide some extra incentive for completing the challenge.

Additionally, there could be the potential for completing challenges to serve as a prerequisite for certain pack drops. There is nothing definitive in that regard, but most Top Shot users would like to see a greater barrier of entry on pack drops. One of the biggest “issues” with the site is that a large majority of users simply want to get the packs and immediately sell all of the moments for a profit. There’s nothing wrong with that philosophy — who doesn’t want free money? — but it has kept those packs from landing in the hands of people who see the long-term value of Top Shot.

With that in mind, expect something to be done regarding pack drops moving forward. There’s no guarantee that completing a challenge will give you any special priority, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. In the 4/2 edition of office hours, the Top Shot team discussed making the “Seeing Stars” challenge more relevant in the long term. This could incentivize collectors to hold on to the moments well after the LeBron challenge is completed.

This is more art than science, but feel free to check my math using some of the great tools available across the industry. I leaned on Own the Moment, evaluate.market, and Add More Funds to track the price movement on the “Seeing Stars” series. Good luck!