On Sunday, April 18, the much anticipated NBA playoffs will begin. The two hottest teams in the NBA right now are the Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors. However, once the playoffs begin, records will all start at zero. Throughout the year, many players have set themselves a part from the competition, making for an interesting and much anticipated decision regarding the regular season MVP. Many of the playoff bound teams have star players who earn a spot as a team leader on the court. Off the court, more and more professional athletes are involved in the fashion world. Many men would claim that two of their favorite things are sports and watches. To bring together the world of professional basketball and luxury watches, let’s talk about some of the star players from playoff bound teams and their luxury watches.
Cleveland Cavaliers have one of, if not THE, best players in the league in forward, LeBron James. The Cavaliers have clinched the Central Conference and are guaranteed a spot in the NBA playoffs. They will be seeded second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Atlanta Hawks. In 2014, James played for the Miami Heat. The Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the final round of the playoffs. “The King” had a great post-season, scoring 27.4 points per game and a field goal percentage of 61.6%. Off the court, James is a brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet watches. Like James, the Audemars Piguet Chronograph LeBron James is a high-quality, high-performing watch. The watch is a limited edition watch of just 600 pieces, making it a rare watch, much like James’s talent.
The Chicago Bulls have clinched a spot in the playoffs and will either be a number two or three seed, depending on whether or not the Bulls defeat Atlanta. Point guard Derrick Rose is finally healthy and can help propel the Bulls through the playoffs. Rose is known for his quick rise to fame, drafted first overall in the 2008 NBA draft and named Rookie of the Year, the youngest in twelve years. With three knee surgeries in four years, Rose has been sidelined for a significant amount of time. He has finally become healthy, just in time for the playoffs. During his injuries, he spent a lot of time on the bench during games, donning a suit and often a luxury watch, rather than his red and black Bulls jersey. If you were paying attention to Rose as he was on the bench, you might notice that he was wearing a yellow gold watch, which appears to be a Rolex watch. Rose has been photographed before wearing luxury watches, most notably in a spread in GQ in 2012. In the images in GQ, he wore an OMEGA watch, Panerai watch, and an IWC watch.
After clinching the American division of the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors are heading to the NBA Playoffs. Kyle Lowry, guard for the Raptors, has lead the team to a 48-33 record thus far. Last September, Citizen acknoledged Lowry and his impressive 2013-2014 season by signing him as an official ambassador. Lowry shared the news about the new partnership Instagram last September.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is on the brink of making the playoffs. If the Thunder beats Minnesota and the Spurs win at New Orleans, the Thunder will be playoff bound. With 2014 MVP Kevin Durant missing most of this season with a broken bone, the Thunder has relied heavily on point guard Russell Westbrook. He leads the league in triple-doubles and is likely to be the scoring champion at the end of the season. In early 2014, Russell Westbrook was named as a brand ambassador for Zenith watches. In honor of the partnership, Zenith introduced the limited edition Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar, which included 5 watch designs. The watch was only available at Westime, which is the brand’s Los Angeles distributor.
Update: The Thunder was eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night.
The Los Angeles Clippers are playoff bound, led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Clippers point guard, Chris Paul, is known for his alley-oops, fast paced offensive play, and stellar post-season play. Many refer to him as the greatest point guard in the league. Off the court, Paul is recognized for his CP3 foundation and other charitable work, and for his extensive watch collection. His watch collections consists of Audemars Piguet, Breitling, and Rolex watches.
Defending NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs are once again heading to the playoffs and are currently the hottest team in the league. Just one game behind the Clippers, the Spurs have quickly made their way up the standing in the Western Conference. One of the key players for the Spurs is veteran player, Tony Parker. Parker has been in the league for fourteen years and has spent all fourteen in San Antonio with the Spurs. In addition to his play for the Spurs, Parker has an extensive international basketball career with FIBA. Tissot, who is the official timekeeper of FIBA, can also claim Parker as a brand ambassador. In 2014, Tissot introduced the T-Touch Solar Tony Parker Limited Edition watch. The watch has an enlarged “9” numeral, which is Parker’s jersey number. The watch has an altimeter, barometer, chronograph, and touchscreen.
More now than ever, the worlds of fashion and professional sports are colliding as many fashion brands, specifically luxury watch brands, are signing professional athletes to be brand ambassadors. The above players are excelling both on and off the court, as they have helped their teams reach the playoffs and they also have exceptional tastes in luxury watches.