With Carolina Panthers player Russell Okung doubling the 6.5 million in salary he converted to bitcoin less than 2 months ago, athlete interest in the volatile asset has exploded across multiple professional leagues. NBA star CJ McCollum recently tweeted at one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, in a complaint that they had denied his request to raise his daily purchase limit to $25,000. McCollum assured the exchange that he could afford the transactions and pleaded, “please stop playing with my paper & let me get to this money.” However, before Coinbase could respond, fellow NBA player Tobias Harris jumped in, tagging a popular cryptocurrency trader to see if he could help. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong showed up and personally resolved the issue, letting CJ “get to this money.” McCollum concluded the saga by giving props to Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard, who told him about the currency “years ago.”
But McCollum was far from the first NBA player to publicly discuss Bitcoin, with Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie not only purchasing the currency for the first time in 2017 but attempting to tokenize his $37.6 million contract on the blockchain. Dinwiddie also opened a GoFund listing that promised fans an opportunity to choose his next team should the campaign raise the required 24.6 million dollars. Unfortunately, the campaign failed to garner much attention and was closed after raising just $1100, 100% of which was donated to charity.
But outpacing all three of the NBA’s cryptocurrency fans is future NFL Hall-Of-Famer Richard Sherman, who had been accepting Bitcoin payments for items purchased on his online store as early as 2013, calling it ‘the currency of the future.’ While there is no way to predict whether Sherman’s prophecy will ultimately be proven accurate, it seems clear that this won’t be the last time we hear about the intersection of cryptocurrency and professional athletics as Bitcoin prices recently crossed $50,000 per coin** and an increasing number of players looking to grow wealth outside their chosen discipline.
(**Bitcoin prices fluctuate daily/hourly.)