Naomi Osaka Calls Tom Brady a 'Role Model' as She Partners with His Company to Release NFTs
The 23-year-old tennis star recently joined the advisory board of Autograph, an NFT platform Brady, 44, cofounded with the aim to curate a digital collectibles experience from some of the biggest brands and celebrities.
On Wednesday, Osaka's NFTs dropped as part of The Preseason Access collection, in hopes of giving fans an additional way to connect with her and she tells PEOPLE that teaming up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was a no-brainer.
"It seemed like a very cool opportunity, and when Tom Brady asked me to join the Advisory Board and create my own NFTs, I knew I couldn't say no," she says. "There are some real sports legends working with Autograph — Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky — it's pretty awesome to be in their company."
NFT, which stands for nonfungible token, is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as "a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership (as of a specific digital asset and specific rights relating to it)."
Osaka's NFTs with Autograph range from $12-$100. She reveals that she's always had a growing interest in them, which she shares with her sister Mari, and believes NFTs and sports can go hand-in-hand.
"NFTs bring together art, design, and technology in a way that really speaks to the way we consume media these days. The more I work with and experience the crypto and NFT space I see how easily they can be bought, sold, and gamified," Osaka explains, noting that she's "excited" to share this directly with her fans.
She adds, "NFTs and sports are a natural fit — it's the new wave of collecting digitally on your phone and devices. Autograph is also making NFTs much more accessible with various price ranges, so I think mostly anyone that wants to be a part of this ultimately can, which I find really appealing."
Both Brady and Osaka agree on the potential of NFTs in the sports world. Osaka tells PEOPLE that throughout the experience, the seven-time Super Bowl champion has given her more than just guidance as an athlete, calling Brady her "role model."
"Tom inspires me in so many ways as an athlete and an entrepreneur," the tennis star says. "He's always rethinking the playbook and pushing boundaries while remaining so true to himself, which is something I try to do as well."
She continues, "He has led himself both on and off the field with grace and has been a great role model. I am excited to be a part of this and to continue to learn and grow in other areas of my life."
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