DES MOINES, IOWA — Luka Garza’s basketball career at the University of Iowa has come to an end, but he’s leaving a farewell gift on his way out of Iowa City.
On Tuesday afternoon Garza appeared live on CNBC to announce that he is auctioning off an NFT that he created, with some proceeds going to the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The winner of the digital auction will also win a pair of autographed sneakers, get to play a game of HORSE against Garza and have dinner and a movie with him.
An NFT is a unique digital image or video. The one-of-a-kind artworks have sold for millions (here’s a helpful explanation of the digital investment craze). Garza is an economics major at Iowa. He says the NFT is an opportunity for him to extend his personal brand while also supporting charity.
“Seeing other athletes like Rob Gronkowski and Patrick Mahomes doing this, I thought selling this was a really unique opportunity to be able to start pushing my branding and it’s really important to me as well that some of the proceeds go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital,” Garza said during a live interview with CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen and Kelly Evans.
With the end of the NCAA basketball season with Monday night’s championship game, Garza’s collegiate career is now officially over – meaning he’s now allowed to earn money off his name and likeness. Garza told the CNBC hosts that personal profit was not the driving force behind the decision to create and sell the NFT.
Garza has swept every ‘Player of the Year’ award so far this basketball season. He is the favorite to win the Wooden Award on Tuesday evening, cementing himself as a unanimous choice for the best player in the nation. He leaves the University of Iowa as the Hawkeyes’ all-time leading scorer.