PUMA Taps LaMelo Ball & Gutter Cat Gang for NFT Sneaker Drop

Credit: Puma

The German sportswear brand PUMA is back in Web3 headlines with its latest collaboration between NBA star LaMelo Ball and the Gutter Cat Gang NFT collection.

The three entities are teaming up for an NFT collection linked to a limited-edition physical sneaker called the “GutterMelo MB.03.” The digital collectibles go on sale June 29th on the NFT marketplace OpenSea for a price of $175. Then, between July 18th and August 20th, holders can redeem their digital assets for the physical sneakers.

A promo video for the sneaker was released by Gutter Cat Gang on their website, showing the new sneaker’s vibrant colors resembling a heat map. There is also a Gutter Cat Gang image and a 1:1 inscription on the tongue of the sneaker, as well as the text Gutter Cat Gang on the heel. According to the report, there will be no set number of tokens that can be minted.

Ball was chosen third overall in the 2020 NBA draft and currently plays point guard for the Charlotte Hornets. In 2020, he signed a multi-year endorsement deal with PUMA, reportedly for $100 million. During the 2022-23 NBA season, Ball became the second-youngest player to note 1,000 points, rebounds, and assists — only trailing LeBron James.

This is Ball’s third partnership with PUMA for a line of sneakers. So far, all have been released under the “MB.03” name. Ball has also dabbled on his own in Web3. In June 2021, he launched the ‘LaMelo Collectibles’ on Ethereum, and he released his second collection in February 2022.

Gutter Gang Cat is a generative NFT PFP collection featuring 3,000 cat characters that dropped in June 2021. It embodies a gritty, unapologetic aesthetic and according to its site, attracts “rebels, misfits, and underdogs.” As a young, scrappy player still earning his reputation in the NBA, Ball seems like a a good fit for the rising NFT collection.

Puma Continues to Make Moves in Web

For fans of LaMelo Ball, the latest edition of the MB.O3 dropping as an NFT is exciting and novel. But the fact PUMA is launching another Web3 project is no surprise. At Rarity Sniper, we’ve covered several articles about the sports apparel brand investing time and money in the space. Here are the top stories.

First, four months ago, PUMA celebrated its 75th anniversary with a PFP NFT collection called “Super PUMA.” The collection was influenced by the Super PUMA Comics, and comes with tokenized access to exclusive products, immersive experiences, and links to PUMA’s most iconic designs.

Next, nine months ago, PUMA launched its Web3 portal “Black Station” for New York Fashion Week. The metaverse destination was built using Unreal Engine 5. It contained immersive experiences, and gave users the chance to burn a Nitropass NFT for a physical pair of sneakers.

Lastly, ten months ago, PUMA teamed up with Manchester City football club to launch a metaverse kit on Roblox. The kit provides a skin of Manchester City’s third jersey, which is designed based on street art with “Fizzy Light” and “Parisian Nights” as themes.

PUMA may not be involved in Web3 as heavily as adidas or Nike, but the company is certainly making measured moves. The announcement of its “phygital” sneaker the “GutterMelo MB.03” is another strategic move to reach its younger, more digitally-inclined fanbase. At Rarity Sniper, we’ll be following up on PUMA’s NFT drop to see if it’s a success.