WNBA, NBA stars launch digital marketplace benefitting Brittney Griner Advocacy Account

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

A number of notable stars from the WNBA and NBA ranks have converged together to launch what is being described as a “first-of-its kind marketplace for sports fans to purchase unique digital experiences from their favorite athletes.”

The new app is called Daps and among its founders are the WNBA’s Lexie Brown in addition to Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond as well as the Brooklyn Nets’ Chris Chiozza. Jordana Codio of the Texas Longhorns and Doug Edert, who gained national notoriety for Saint Peters’ run in last year’s NCAA tournament, is also part of the initiative. Edert is now at Bryant.

I thought it was really cool to have a platform that is specifically focused on professional athletes reaching out to their fan bases and communities. I think athletes have a very unique relationship with their fans and Daps is the perfect platform to utilize that.

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

It also includes NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors Jonathan Kuminga, the Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado, Memphis coach and NBA all-time great Penny Hardaway in addition to North Carolina’s RJ Davis.

Daps allows me to interact with fans in a whole new way. When testing the app, I got to feel how easy it is to put a huge smile on a fans’ face and I can’t wait to keep doing more of that.

–Johnathan Kuminga, Daps co-founder, NBA champion with Golden State Warriors

The first set of players also included features Mia and Maya Pauldo of New Jersey’s Morris Catholic High School, Simeon Wilcher (a North Carolina commit who played at Roselle Catholic), UAB’s Jordan “Jelly” Walker, rising Cal star Jayda Curry who was last season’s Pac 12 Freshman of the Year and Lance Ware of Kentucky.

A portion of the proceeds from the app will benefit a Brittney Griner Advocacy Account set up by her wife, Cherelle, as well as her agent. Some of the proceeds will also benefit Everytown, an anti-gun violence organization established by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I think it’s huge that we are able to send proceeds to BG. She needs us more than ever and even though we all don’t play the same sports or are in the same leagues, we are all connected in a very special way. I’m very excited to be part of this project.

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

One of the reasons why Brown joined the Daps effort is because she sees how the app can grow and expand beyond its original launch. Brown sees opportunities for partnership as well as paid options.

I think that a subscription service could be a possibility. Also, collaboration between leagues, athletes, sports, etc. the opportunities are endless. I am very happy to have a chance to interact with fans in a positive and authentic way that’s not just on social media (which can get a little negative at times)

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

Brown played portions of her collegiate career with a pair of nationally-renowned basketball schools in Duke and Maryland.

Given the heavy NIL element to the Daps app, Brown knows how lucrative the money-making chances would have been if it were a thing when she was at the NCAA level.

It’s very important, going to Duke and Maryland I understand how big the fanbases are, I would have cashed out in college!

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

Being a WNBA player, Brown has had the opportunity to gauge the response to the app among her WNBA peers. By and large, she has received rave reviews among her fellow W equals – particularly in terms of how it will be a help to Griner and her family.

The reaction has been great, everyone loves the BG initiative. Can’t wait to get more W players on the app!

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

Brown is the signature WNBA player included with the app’s launch, but she definitely sees Daps expanding to where more from the W’s ranks get featured among its marquee stars.

I would love to add more W players to Daps. I feel like we are some of the most accessible and interactive athletes! This would be incredible for us.

–Lexie Brown (to Beyond The W)

Jake Klores, who previously played basketball at Columbia, is one of Daps’ co-founders. Klores also previously co-founded Workhorse, an organization that assists student athletes with finding NIL opportunities. He is 24 years old and was establishing Daps from the Columbia Startup Lab, a co-working space for its alumni located on the ground floor of WeWork’s Soho West building.

Daps is built to meet the demands of the modern sports fan who want a deeper level of access to and more exciting interactions with their favorite athletes. Our platform makes it easy for them to access previously unattainable experiences, either for themselves or as a gift for someone else.

–Jake Klores, co-founder of Daps

Another of Daps’ co-founders is Ryan Berger who is a former player at Ithaca and founder of The Berger Shop, his marketing platform. Berger, a father of three, also was a founding partner in HYPR, an influencer technology platform that is now under the Triller (most famous for its Verzuz music specials online) umbrella.

Being around sports my whole life, it’s clear today’s fans want direct access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and that includes young kids, college students, alums, moms and dads and everything in between.

–Ryan Berger, co-founder of Daps

According to a Daps release, it will offer state-of-the-art engagement with fans that can be in the form of Instagram comments, video games, video calls, fashion advice, game feedback or live games. The experience will determine its price.

Fans can download the app from the App Store, browse to find an athlete, click a “Book Now” button to see information on product and pricing and finish the purchase via Apple Pay.

Many a basketball fan will take particular notice of the fact that a portion of the proceeds will go to the advocacy account for Griner. An appeal has been set for October 25 by a Russian court against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession. She has been described as “wrongfully detained” by the U.S. State Department.

President Joe Biden recently had a meeting with Griner’s wife, Cherelle. Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of New Mexico, recently expressed “cautious optimism” that Griner and former United States Marine Paul Whelan could be released by the end of the year. The U.S. government is negotiating a prisoner swap with Russia that will likely include both Griner and Whelan.

Cherelle also expressed concerns about Griner’s mental state during a recent interview with Gayle King on CBS News.