The 2017 NBA All-Star weekend is now well underway and we have already seen fair share of exciting basketball from some of the world’s best players. The weekend ends tomorrow when we will have the opportunity to enjoy the best of the best. I am of course talking about the East vs. West all-star game tomorrow night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
A few days ago, prior to the event, I saw an interview with the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook. Naturally, the reporters were curious about him playing in the same team with his former teammate Kevin Durant, the first time since KD left Oklahoma. And Russell Westbrook, being Russell Westbrook, just avoided the questions and instead of talking about basketball, talked about…fashion? Yep, that’s right, fashion . Oh Russell, don’t ever change . Ok, but on a serious note, watching that interview gave me a thought: What do NBA players wear, specifically what kind of watches do they prefer? Do they wear them solely because they’re paid to do so, and are there any genuine watch enthusiasts among them? In this article we’ll go through some of the most known watch ambassadors as well some players who are known to be watch collectors.
We’ll start with the King himself – LeBron James. Since 2011, “The Kid from Akron” has been the Global ambassador for the legendary Swiss manufacture Audemars Piguet. He can often be seen wearing his signature watch – the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Limited Edition LeBron James. Another well known watch ambassador is the Chicago Bulls’ shooting guard Dwyane Wade. He and former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant are brand ambassadors for Hublot. Other notable ambassadors include Tony Parker (Tissot) and Kyle Lowry (Citizen).
And while the above-mentioned players are mostly “just” ambassadors and can rarely be seen wearing something other than their respective brands, there are a couple of players who are genuine watch enthusiasts. The most known among them is the Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. The 32-year-old NBA superstar owns more than 20 high-end pieces including such iconic brands like Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Hublot and of course Rolex. He is very proud of his collection and often points out that he is “one of the first guys (in basketball) to embrace the world of timepieces and watches”. Carmelo is also the co-founder of a watch magazine called Haute Time and brand ambassador for IWC Schaffhausen.
Another interesting player is the Los Angeles Clippers’ J. J. Redick. The 32-year-old shooting guard is one of the most, if not the most, passionate watch collector in the NBA. He began his interest in watches in 2006 when he bought himself a 36mm stainless steel Rolex DateJust. This is the watch he wore on the 2006 draft and the piece “guilty” for his love for fine watchmaking. J. J. has a very refined taste in timepieces. When buying a watch he looks for pieces with a more vintage, classic design. He also doesn’t like big watches and says that 42mm is the perfect fit for him. Keep in mind, we are talking about the man who is 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) . He also likes to keep it simple in terms of number of watches he owns. For him, a collection of 12-15 pieces is ideal. Throughout the years, J. J. Redick has owned some extraordinary models including the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic, Patek Philippe 5170G and one of his personal favorites – the F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu.