NBA Top Shot is an unprecedented project to archive sports history as it unfolds in real-time. We’ve done this thoughtfully and accurately through three NBA seasons thus far, inching ever closer to a logical and intuitive library of content.

But much of the sports fan experience is re-living the nostalgia that brought you here in the first place.

For that reason, establishing how NBA Top Shot handles historic NBA content – an inherently finite resource – is one of the most important things we’ll ever do as a platform.

While we’ve run the clock back to previous seasons twice already, we’ve iterated at each stage, adding layers to better honor – and contextualize – the stories we’re trying to tell. 

In Series 4, that process is seeing its most ambitious iteration yet.

  • By establishing more suitable resting places for grail-worthy plays and performances, we’ve carved out space for iconic moments to feel iconic in product.
  • We’re tightening the narrative of the year we’ve chosen to celebrate by tiering and tethering multiple single-season deep dive sets together.

Consider this a peek into our approach as we embark on a decades-long journey to logically and responsibly re-live the history of the NBA.

Intuitive scarcity front and center in historic NBA content framework

While the thesis of our single-season historic content remains the same – to tell the story of NBA history one season at a time – we’ve introduced and refined additional layers to ensure that we’re doing that as intuitively and sustainably as possible.

At the core of this approach remains the recurring Rare set we introduced in Series 1: Run It Back. This set, the meat and potatoes of our historic product, explores the most memorable plays and storylines of a given season.

What’s new are the complementary sets we’ve established to add further texture around it.

Let’s start at the top. 

At the beginning of Series 4, we introduced our player-focused, multi-tier Anthology Set. These white-glove greatest hits albums, reserved exclusively for indisputably memorable plays and performances from cultural icons, will exist at the pinnacle of our product just as they exist at the pinnacle of NBA lore. Cherish them. We will.

But cultural icons aren’t the only ones who’ve made lasting impacts on the game of basketball. The introduction of Run It Back: Legacies, a season-focused Legendary set released in tandem with its Rare counterpart, allows us to elevate select plays and performances that stand apart as undeniably significant to the season we’re exploring.

On the other end of the spectrum is our Common tier Archive Set, first seen in the Summer 2021 series. This set returns as a foundational component of our historic strategy but this time with a single-season focus in line with Run It Back and Run It Back: Legacies

Combined, the three season-focused sets give us the flexibility to separate the good from the great and the great from the grails, to explore a sweeping range of plotlines for a season in NBA history while still carving out premium space at the high end for the best of the best.

Into which set each play falls is driven by a myriad of factors, not least the contextual significance of the play or performance itself, so expect plays from players to appear across different tiers over the course of their careers as the natural ebb and flow of NBA history comes to life in product. 

Additionally, expect players who have or may one day earn Anthology Sets to also exist within the framework of our single-season content.

Above all, expect the game of basketball to do the talking. None of us would even be here if it didn’t come calling in the first place.

Will historical content appear anywhere else in NBA Top Shot?

While our three single-season and ever-exclusive Anthology Sets make up the core of our flagship historic content, these won’t be the only places where plays from the past appear in Top Shot. 

Returning as a reward-exclusive, multi-season historic set in Series 4 is our Fandom tier Vintage Vibes set. This time, Vintage Vibes will consist solely of NBA content, without specific narrative ties to other content. More on this in due time.

Additionally, as was the case in Series 3, historic content may also appear in thematically curated niche sets, details of which will come at a later date if necessary.

Finally, while we spoke of this iterative process at the top, it’s worth repeating: establishing the best way to serve NBA history in an unprecedented manner is a process

We’re passionate and optimistic about how our historic plans in Series 4 allow us to tell the stories of the game the way they are meant to be told. That being said, we’ll remain vigilant and agile ahead of future serieses in the event that further changes would better serve the game and this community.