Now that Super Bowl XLIX is behind us and we set our sights on a new season of athletic milestones, we’re also presented with a far more sartorially advanced athletic association (sorry, Colin Kaepernick): the NBA.
NBA players have long been known for a more advanced level of style achievement, both off and on the court (you’ll never see us trying to rob Dennis Rodman of his credit for experimentation), and luxury watches have a storied role in that tradition. Pre- and post-game press conferences have historically provided an initial platform for ballers to establish their personal fashion personae with the general public—with one Russell Westbrook positively crushing that opportunity—but as pro athletes continue breaking the barriers that stand between them and the rest of celebrity culture, we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing a style revolution among these men whose grace, skill, and strength is by no means limited to the court. Let’s examine some of the more notable timepiece passions among the gents of the NBA, shall we?
Everybody knows that hometown hero of the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James made a meteoric rise to become one of the most powerful basketball players in history, and his sartorial evolution has followed suit. LeBron is an official ambassador for Audemars Piguet and is seen wearing an AP nearly all the time. His preferred model is the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, and he even has his own model. Other brand ambassadors for Audemars Piguet in the athletic world include Tennis world champion Novak Djokovic, Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher, soccer great Lionel Messi.
Kobe Bryant & Dwyane Wade
Another brand ambassador with his own signature model, living legend Kobe Bryant represents for Hublot. The King Power Black Mamba 48mm was designed with purple and yellow accents to celebrate Kobe’s L.A. Lakers and a “24,” above 6 o’clock calls out Bryant’s jersey number.
With the sheer human size to optimally rock the Hublot’s collossal modern designs, the brand is popular among basketball players. So popular, in fact, that they’ve also enlisted Dwyane Wade—three-time NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, Olympic Gold Medalist, nine-time NBA All-Star, and current Miami Heat point guard—as a brand ambassador (seen below in a limited edition Classic Fusion).
Known watch enthusiast and fashionisto, Carmelo Anthony is a superstar baller AND watch collector. The New York Knicks power forward has regularly been spotted spotted wearing Panerai watches but told Watchtime that his collection includes watches by Breitling, Ernst Benz, Patek Philippe, Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Rolex, and more. Melo, who is even a columnist for Haute Time, has said that a Breitling watch he was given as a gift while in college—his very first luxury timepiece—is still his most beloved.
Competing with Carmelo Anthony for the title of NBA’s biggest watch enthusiast is Mr. Chris Paul, pint guard for the L.A. Clippers. In an interview with Maxim, Paul admitted that he has 12 luxury watches that he brings with him everywhere he goes (we assume he has a thick security detail as well).
Like Melo, Chris has also professed his favorite to be a $50K limited edition Breitling, of which only 3,000 were made. He was presented with number 3 of 3,000—his number on the court.
Unapologetically hip and undeniably charismatic, Blake Griffin can be seen just about everywhere (on your TV, at least) when not on the job as the Clippers’ fashion-forward power forward. Blake has been seen looking sharp in a Panerai and was photographed for a GQ cover last year in Cartier.
Parker later parted ways with IWC and now represents Tissot.
He of crazy-patterned-polo fame, the ever sartorially progressive Russell Westbrook has never failed to make a splash with his avant-garde fashion. Representing an ¨ber-hip generation of ballers, the OKC point guard was made an official Zenith brand ambassador in 2014 and given his own namesake timepiece design, the Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar Tribute to Russell Westbrook.
He has also been known to sport gold bracelet-style watches of the Rolex and Breitling variety, as he did with his famous LaCoste fishing lure shirt.