The Top Shot Zone. A guide to be immortalized on NBA Top Shot and the blockchain.
Want to be immortalized on blockchain as part of NBA history on NBA Top Shot? With some careful planning, and a bit of luck, it’s possible.
First, NBA Top Shot captures video highlights of the best plays from each player or team throughout a season, or in some cases, celebrates past historical achievements. A finite supply of each highlight (referred to as a Moment) is created (minted) on a blockchain. Collectors from around the world then buy/sell/trade/collect their favourite Moments.
Moments themselves focus on the player or team, but in some cases can capture peripheral views of fans celebrating in the stands. Consequently, if you can somehow make it into the camera view during a noteworthy play, it’s possible to be captured and immortalized on blockchain as part of NBA history.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the game, it’s hard to predict exactly when and/or where the next awesome highlight will happen. I don’t know which opponent Anthony Edwards will posterize next. I don’t know when LeBron will hit his next buzzer beater. It’s like predicting a bolt of lightning, you never know when or where it’s ever going to strike.
As unpredictable as the game is, there are specific instances where NBA Top Shot will mint a Moment in a predictable fashion: the first points/stats recorded by a Rookie in their rookie game will be minted as a Moment.
If you ever want to be in a Moment, that is likely your best shot. Either that, or be drafted by an NBA team in the first round.
NBA Top Shot Moments we were in:
Scottie Barnes’ first Moment as a Rookie
Dalano Banton’s first Moment as a Rookie
Precious Achiuwa’s first Moment as a Toronto Raptor.
I’m happy to share our strategy below. That said, there are no guarantees of success. You might be sitting in the perfect spot, but if a Rookie doesn’t play or record a notable stat, then a Moment will not be minted.
Also important to note that every arena is different, so sections/rows/seats will be different. You will need to put in a bit of work to determine the ideal seats that will be visible on camera. I call this the “Top Shot Zone”.
Here’s my strategy/checklist for making it into the “Top Shot Zone” for a Rookie Moment:
1) How likely is it that the Rookie will play in the first game of the season?
The likelihood needs to be high, otherwise you will have limited success.
For Scottie Barnes, he was a high profile draft pick (Round 1, Pick 4) who was expected to play meaningful minutes. The likelihood of him playing in the first game was high.
2) Will the Rookie play in the first half?
High profile Rookies drafted in the first round will likely play in the first half of the game.
For Scottie Barnes, the likelihood of him playing in the first half of the game was high.
3) Is the first game of the season home or away?
It was a Raptors home game against the Wizards.
4) Which basket will the Rookie’s team be shooting for each half?
After reviewing past games, we determined that Raptors shoot on the basket nearest their home bench in the first half, and nearest the visitor bench for the second half. Interesting tidbit, Libruary thinks that “coaches like to be close and yell at their players in the second half when they are on defense”, which also makes sense.
5) Given a typical camera angle, determine the visible area in the stands.
After reviewing past games, we determined that Section 118 behind the home bench was ideal, and also determined a typical visible area in the stands for each side of the court.
6) Given the visible area, determine the best/worst (ie. high visibility/low visibility) rows/seats to sit
Since the camera zooms in/out during the game, sometimes the first 7 rows were visible (best case), other times the first 4 (worst case). In the end, we decided first 4 rows was best in order to not be cut from view (we ended up just making it into Scottie’s Moment at row 4, row 5 would have been cut-off).
7) Eliminate seats that are possibly cutoff from backboard
After reviewing past games, we noticed that the backboard and rim might obstruct the camera view with certain seats, so in Section 118 we avoided:
Row 1, Seats 1–5
Row 2, seats 1–4
Row 3, seats 1–3
Row 4, seats 1–2
Final result was a map of high/low visibility, giving us our “Top Shot Zone” and areas to buy our tickets.
8) Wear something easy to spot
If all goes well, you should wear something that you can easily spot/recognize. We decided to make custom Top Shot shirts for the occasion, Libruary with the Scottie Barnes Holo legendary shirt, and me with the triple badge rookie shirt.
In the end, we calculated that Scottie would likely play in the first half of the home opener, and that the basket he would be shooting on would be in front of the home bench.
We sat in Section 118, Row 3, Seats 11–12 and had great success.
Here’s a grainy picture of us in our seats. (masks lol)
I would like to eventually do this again with more NBA Top Shot collectors, but the tickets for home openers aren’t cheap. If this guide is at all helpful, and you manage to make your way into a Moment, please let me know. I would love to hear your story.