Throwdown Debacle: An Open Letter To Top Shot

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Dear NBA Top Shot,

I write to you not with the intention of destroying your brand, but from the perspective of a concerned fan. I think you have an excellent product with a ton of potential, but if we continue to see situations unfold like The Throwdown Pack Debacle, then I fear we could see this product go the way of the CryptoKitties.

The Throwdown set was an epic disaster by any standards. First off, I’m confused as to why you sold it as a Rare Pack when the so-called Rare Moments in the drop had an Edition Size of 1,800. Merriam-Webster defines rare as “seldom occurring or found / marked by unusual quality, merit, appeal,” so by definition, this was not a Rare drop. With the exception of the Rising Stars (2021), All-Star Game (2021), and the Conference Finals (999) sets, the previous standard for a Rare Moment was an Edition Size of no more than 499. You nearly quadrupled that. Why?

This was also the second-most expensive Rare pack drop ever, but the vast majority of people who purchased it wouldn’t be able to turn a profit even if they unloaded all the Moments that were included in their pack. I understand the concept of Top Shot maybe not wanting all packs to be guaranteed to turn a profit, but I disagree with this principle for the Rare and Legendary sets. I’m fine if a get a bunch of dumb CCs in my $9 Base Set – but we’re going to have issues if you ask me to pay $150 for Jeff Green – it shouldn’t be the norm to lose money on the most expensive packs. There are numerous players who were chosen for Rare Moments that make zero sense, but perhaps the most egregious were Edmond Sumner (really?) and Alex Caruso. Selecting those players to be the best Moment in a $150 pack feels like trolling.

And honestly, what is it with y’all and Alex Caruso? He has nine freaking Moments, only one of which is a CC. Do you not understand that he’s the backup point guard in Los Angeles, and he’d be third-string if L.A. even had more than two PGs? By contrast, starter and up-and-comer, Darius Garland, has a total of four Moments and he’s only had one Moment produced in Series 2. Explain to me how that makes any sense? Decisions like this make me question the validity of your entire product.

Why, for example, did you choose to go with Cam Reddish, who has been largely disappointing this season while only appearing in 26 games, instead of someone like, say, oh, I don’t know, De’Andre Hunter? Hunter, who was selected ahead (No. 4) of Reddish (No. 10) in the 2019 NBA Draft, and had a far superior season, often looking like the second-best player on the team before the knee injury. Meanwhile, Reddish has a total of 10 Moments compared to Hunter’s five. Why?

While we’re on the topic of strange decisions as to which players receive Moments, why in the world did you, NBA Top Shot, create any Moments at all of Ky Bowman? Four in total, three of which are Rares. Ky Bowman. Really? Sure, he had a few good games playing for a dumpster fire of a Warriors’ team last year, but you had to know that he was undrafted and on a two-way contract most of the season. Even when he ran out of games on his two-way deal and the Dubs were forced to convert him to a standard contract, you had to know that the years beyond that season were non-guaranteed. He was waived by the Warriors shortly after the 2020 NBA Draft, signed a training camp deal with the Clippers, and was released by L.A. before the start of the season. Like most G League call-ups, Bowman is already out of the league. Choosing him as a guy to create Moments of was an inexcusable decision – and I say this as an over-the-top Warriors’ homer.

I am also beginning to question why you choose the highlights that you do. As an example, in the Metallic Gold set, you chose 3-and-D rookie Desmond Bane for a Rare Moment, but his highlight was a garden variety layup. Bane has stood out this season for his gritty defense and excellent 3-point shooting, but you chose to go with a fastbreak layup? Only 19% of his total shot attempts have come as layups, compared to 72% of his FGA being jumpers, the vast majority of which are from distance. As an outsider, it’s decisions like these that make me question whether you really know what you’re doing. These stats I’m pulling aren’t hard to find either – I’m getting them directly from the NBA’s website.

So, do better NBA Top Shot. Stop making Moments of Alex Caruso and get over your obsession with Cam Reddish. If you’re going to sell us a “Rare” pack, then make sure that the quantity matches the name — and for us collectors — clearly, we can no longer blindly purchase Rare/Legendary packs. Moving forward, we will need to check the Edition Size of every pack to ensure we're not being sold fool's gold. It's unfortunate, but clearly, Top Shot can no longer be trusted. We're not buying Rare packs because of the brightly colored outline, we buy them — or at least used to buy them — because they were a great investment. Sadly, this is no longer guaranteed to be the case. And lastly, NBA Top Shot, do a better job of selecting the specific highlights for each player. You have access to the players themselves, perhaps ask them for their input, because whatever you're doing right now isn't working. A player's “Moment” should be representative of their game – and there appear to be many Moments out there where this is simply not the case. You have a great product – don’t let it die.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Collector