Back in 1997, Sports Illustrated caught up with Cincinnati Bengals running back Elbert (Ickey) Woods. Ickey came on the scene as a rookie by creating a fun little dance after he scored touchdowns eponoymously named the “Ickey Shuffle." Nine years later, when SI interview him, he was going door-to-door peddling frozen foods.
Ickey lamented his financial decisions, saying he’d be in better shape if he didn’t listen to agents.
“One thing I never do is ask, What if? Things happen for a reason,” Ickey told SI. “With a wife and six kids, I'll do whatever it takes to keep food on the table and clothes on my babies' backs.”
Even though I read the story as kid, the memory of Ickey's rise and fall is etched into my mind. In this special series, we’ll look back at some of my poorest financial decisions and catch up with projects — some that have rugged and some that are still trying, still doing whatever it takes.
Untamed Elephants got off to a slow start. It officially began minting on July 3, 2021 but didn’t sell out its 7,500-edition collection until July 11 after dropping the mint price to 0.03 ETH and awarding one free mint to each holder.
In August, while almost every PFP project started taking off, Untamed Elephants was at a crossroads with its pseudoanonymous founder.
The community was frustrated with the lack of communication from the founder, who now goes by @LurkingIsToxic after several handle changes. In response to this, the founder reportedly banned several community members from the Discord.
Despite this tumult, a buyer for the project emerged: Adam Ghahramani, a partner at ICv2, a media group that covers “geek culture.” Lurking agreed to the unknown terms and Ghahramani took over, hired some previously banned community members and things appeared to be looking up.
In late December, Untamed Elephants got a boost from Zeneca, who endorsed the project’s charitable giving (the website says it has donated more than $74,000 to three elephant charity partners). Zeneca also released some DMs of a conversation with Lurking, where Lurking says that “it’s okay to realize when a project is dead.”
“U seem to be attached to it like I was attached to elephants and it’s clearly holding u back from being rich,” Lurking allegedly said to Zeneca in direct messages.
Zeneca asked the community to “show some freaking elephant jpegs some love” and that he would end up sweeping the floor. He later bought 12 at the floor around 0.039 ETH.
The project continued to build releasing Untamed Matriarchs (floor currently 0.02 ETH), updating the art and even creating a physical bottle of rosè called Pink Elephant Parade. They also held a two-week-long mission trip in Sri Lanka. Legendary musician Peter Frampton also rocks an Untamed Elephants PFP.
Still the floor on the original collection has settled to around 0.015 ETH (and hasn't changed much in the last eight months). The only conversation in the Discord over the last two days is about the benefits of pellet grills. The new project leaders did announce they were planning a weekly voice chat to just “hangout and bullshit” in a June 28 announcement.