Intersection of Sports, Celebrities, and Cryptocurrencies

Written By: Kenichi Yamaguchi | June 10 2021

The past weekend was a big one for the Internet. Social media sensation, Logan “the Maverick” Paul was able to fight an eight-round bout with one of the all time greats, Floyd Money Mayweather at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Throughout the entire weekend, especially the post-fight conference, Mayweather has always emphasized that he was fighting for the money, calling the entire fight “legalised bank robbing”. Well, he did just that — he earned 30 million dollars just for the advertisements on his trunk, especially his promotion on Ethereum Max, just another token sponsored by many celebrities. The questions now lay ahead: Is cryptocurrency for athletes just another quick way to earn money, or a financial opportunity with a feasible future? How many athletes are truly open to this new way of investment?

Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing match fit 'legalized robbery'

(Source: USA Today)

Though many athletes started to test the waters of the crypto market a long time ago, it really started to become a reality in 2021. From Russell Okung — Seattle offensive lineman getting paid half of his salary as Bitcoin in late 2020, to Kansas City tight end Sean Culkin converting his entire salary to Bicoin in April, many more athletes started to see the potential of cryptocurrency. The sports world started to take note of it, and began to be involved in the market in various different ways. The NBA and its player association created Top Shot, a digital collection of player cards. Individual athletes chose to dip their toes in the blockchain market by creating their own NFTs and fan coins. Some succeeded, some did not.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin becomes first NFL player to  convert entire salary into Bitcoin

(Source: KMBC)

Many players, however, took the cautious route and decided to enter the space, but are taking it slowly with professional guidance. In a recent interview/speaker event between LA Rams kicker Kai Forbath and Tulane University’s premier Blockchain student organization, Tulane Fintech, Forbath shared that he has been working with several financial advisors with his friends in the league to continue to find success off the field financially. While he is paying someone to help in trading cryptocurrency, Forbath emphasized his cautions, and shared that he has far safer investments elsewhere with stable returns. This could be the equalizer here — when will the social media influences and celebrity dominance on crypto market maneuvers be over? People like Elon Musk have proved to the market to have huge influences in the trends of cryptocurrency because of his financial status and social influence, but the experts question whether they are with financial purpose, or simply disrupting the market. 

Rams' Kai Forbath has ankle injury, questionable to return Sunday

(Souce: USA Today)

I was able to talk to a basketball agent about the potential impact of financial investments for future athletes this past weekend, who wishes to be kept anonymous. The agent told me that many of their clients — everyone from All-Stars, to G-League rookies — have started to learn about the crypto market. The NBA as an organization even understands that digital collections like Top Shot would not be the only way to be involved in the blockchain market for the association and the players. Many teams hold financial literacy lessons for the rookies during their summer camps after the draft, but it is up to the management whether they are willing to include the crypto market as a segment of the literacy advice. After all, cryptocurrency is such a new and exciting project that many older executives have not yet been keen to adapt to the ideas. 

The future of the cryptocurrency market in the entertainment and sports industry is, in my opinion, brighter than any other collaborations of two industries. The adoption of digital currency in real life would have to be pushed by these social media influencers under the current media climate. This would forever be a win-win for not only the financial benefits of professional leagues and associations, but more importantly, the athletes and the fans. There is no doubt that future collaborations and negotiations around the crypto market will continue to be discussed in the near future. 


Browning, Kellen. “How ‘Put That on Top Shot!’ Became a New N.B.A. Mantra.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 May 2021,

Ryan, Danny. “Floyd Mayweather Lived up to ‘Money’ Nickname in Shameless Interview after Logan Paul Fight.” GiveMeSport, GiveMeSport, 7 June 2021,

Teicher, Adam. “Kansas City Chiefs’ Sean Culkin Becomes 1st NFL Player to Convert Entire Salary to Bitcoin.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 26 Apr. 2021,

Warner, Jonathan. “Former Seattle Seahawk Russell Okung Puts Half of Salary in Bitcoin, Considered Highest Paid in the League Now.” RSN, 22 Feb. 2021,