Blanksoles, a decentralized sneaker company, has announced a partnership with former NBA champion Metta Sandiford-Artest—better known as Metta World Peace, and before that Ron Artest—to launch “Metta Designsoles,” a series of limited edition Solana-based NFTs and physical sneakers.
The goal, Blanksoles co-founder Raymond Dong told us, is “to have the sneaker to be a blank canvas for expression for partners in our network.”
Metta Designsoles is Blanksoles’ first inspired by Metta World Peace’s history as a player and his spirit animal, the panda.
There will be 450 unique Metta Designsoles in the mint that takes place March 14 to March 20 on Magic Eden, according to Blanksoles, and those who are redeeming a Designsoles token will unlock an exclusive physical pair of limited edition Metta Designsoles by shoe and NFT designer Marc Scepi, president of SNKR Project.
Dong said when people buy the Metta Designsoles NFTs, Blanksoles will collect their shoe sizes and send them the physical shoes about a month later. After the initial run of 450, Dong said production could be ramped up to make thousands more.
“Technology is something I’m interested in,” Sandiford-Artest told us. “Now that I’m retired, I wanted to do something for basketball players using the existing technology or building a platform.”
Sandiford-Artest, who won a title in 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, said part of his motivation for this project is to help players market themselves digitally, such as with NFTs.
“When I had the opportunity to do Blanksoles, I’m like, ‘Wow, I always wanted my own shoe,’” he added. “This is my sneaker deal for me.”
Blanksoles also allow for creativity—logos or personal messages can be included on the NFT sneakers.
“This is why I’m a big fan of Blanksoles,” he added. “I think more athletes should take advantage of what’s happening right now.”
Founded in December 2021, Blanksoles is built on Solana and offers limited edition physical apparel, and access to virtual and real-life experiences.
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Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal each made a recent foray into the Solana ecosystem, O’Neal going so far as to add a .Sol domain to his name on Twitter. In January, Jordan joined Multicoin Capital, Jump Crypto, Solana Ventures, and others to invest $46 million into the Solana NFT protocol Metaplex.
“Solana has been great partners to us from the beginning,” Dong said. “They’re the biggest basketball fans, and one of the fastest-growing blockchains for basketball players for NFTs out there.”