The power for­ward

One of the NBA’s most tal­ented play­ers, LeBron James has striven for ex­cel­lence not only in bas­ket­ball, but also in his phil­an­thropic and cre­ative pur­suits

Revolution (Hong Kong) - - WATCH CULTURE - EM­I­LIE YABUT-RA­ZON (text)

On his web­site, LeBron James de­scribes him­self as a phi­lan­thropist, busi­ness­man and ath­lete. In the 11 years since the Cleve­land Cava­liers drafted him out of high school, this na­tive of Akron, Ohio, has proven him­self both on and off of the bas­ket­ball court. “A lot of peo­ple fo­cus on LeBron’s statis­tics, and cer­tainly they are re­mark­able. But what re­ally sets him apart as a player and a team­mate, you can’t find in the box scores: things like at­ti­tude, work ethic, and a com­plete com­mit­ment to win­ning,” said Gor­don Gund, for­mer prin­ci­pal owner of the Cleve­land Cava­liers, in 2004 when the team an­nounced James as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. James, then 19, be­came the youngest player in the NBA to ever re­ceive the award. He also broke nu­mer­ous records dur­ing that first sea­son, one of which was the youngest player in NBA his­tory to score 40 or more points in a sin­gle game. In high school, James led his team to the state cham­pi­onship in three of the four sea­sons he played, earn­ing him the nick­name

“Mr. Bas­ket­ball” from the As­so­ci­ated Press. Dur­ing his ju­nior year, he landed on the cover of Sports Il­lus­trated, who dubbed him “The Cho­sen One.” “When LeBron came into the NBA, he came in with an un­prece­dented amount of an­tic­i­pa­tion, ex­cite­ment and ex­pec­ta­tion. He met all of our ex­pec­ta­tions and just kept rais­ing the bar,” says Gund. By the time the Cleve­land Cava­liers drafted James in 2003, Nike had al­ready signed him to a US$90-mil­lion con­tract. In 2008, he reached an ex­tra­or­di­nary mile­stone, as the youngest player in his­tory to reach 10,000 ca­reer points. He went on to be­come a four-time NBA Most Valu­able Player awardee and led the Mi­ami Heat to back-to-back cham­pi­onships. James also holds three Olympic medals—a bronze from 2004, and two golds from 2008 and 2012. Given how cru­cial tim­ing and pre­ci­sion are in the game of bas­ket­ball, James has fos­tered a keen in­ter­est in watch­mak­ing. “I’ve loved watches for as long as I can re­mem­ber,” James says. “The me­chan­ics have al­ways in­ter­ested me.” He first be­came aware of Aude­mars Piguet through a friend and men­tor, and when the brand in­vited him to visit their man­u­fac­ture, he read­ily agreed. “Get­ting to visit the Aude­mars Piguet man­u­fac­ture in Switzer­land was a once-in-a-lifetime op­por­tu­nity for me and my fam­ily. It was re­ally cool to see the whole watch­mak­ing process from start to fin­ish. You don’t re­al­ize how much goes into ev­ery de­tail of the watch un­til you see one made.” In cel­e­bra­tion of his achieve­ments, Aude­mars Piguet in­vited James to col­lab­o­rate on a very spe­cial limited edi­tion time­piece: the Royal Oak Off­shore Chrono­graph LeBron James. “I’m very pleased how my vi­sion and that of Aude­mars Piguet came to­gether in this watch,” he says. The 44mm time­piece comes in an 18K pink gold case with a ti­ta­nium bezel. A grey mega tapis­serie dial com­ple­ments the rich com­bi­na­tion of the pink gold case, nu­mer­als and hands, and grey metal. The watch is fit­ted with the self-wind­ing cal­iber 3126/3840, which is partly vis­i­ble from the sap­phire crys­tal case back (signed by James) with a 22-carat par­tially open­worked os­cil­lat­ing weight. James had a vi­sion of a watch that was mas­cu­line yet lux­u­ri­ous, so a sin­gle di­a­mond was set into the chrono­graph push piece at two o’clock, with both push­ers and the crown made in black ce­ramic. The choice of grey for the strap gives the watch a de­cid­edly unique feel, which James is par­tic­u­larly proud of. “I love the strap—we talked about a lot of pos­si­bil­i­ties and I thought grey would be the per­fect color. At first, you re­ally don’t think pink gold and grey will work to­gether. But when you match it up with this watch and this style, it’s a per­fect com­bi­na­tion.”

Help­ing Hands

Be­ing one of the most rec­og­nized play­ers in the NBA has al­lowed James to gather support for the causes he be­lieves in. He founded the LeBron James Fam­ily Foun­da­tion (LJFF), which

helps at-risk chil­dren stay in school from the third grade to high school and ex­cel aca­dem­i­cally. “We are most for­tu­nate for the peo­ple who have sup­ported us through our lives,” says James. “From sup­port­ive teach­ers and pas­sion­ate men­tors to my awe­some mother and my fam­ily, my gift was cul­ti­vated by the en­tire Akron com­mu­nity. My mother and I cre­ated LJFF so that, re­gard­less of where I was play­ing, I’d be giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.” Based in James’ home­town, the foun­da­tion works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions to ad­dress one of the most alarm­ing statis­tics in Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion—that ev­ery 26 seconds, a high school stu­dent drops out. The core of the foun­da­tion is The Prom­ise, a com­mit­ment made by each par­tic­i­pant and by James ev­ery year. “They prom­ise that they’ll do well in school, they’ll lis­ten to their teach­ers, they’ll be out in the com­mu­nity and they’ll stay in shape,” he says. “And I make a prom­ise to them, too—that I will con­tinue to be a men­tor to them, and that I will hold my­self to the high­est stan­dard as a role model, on and off the floor.” Whether it’s through ath­let­ics pro­grams, after-school study support, or the pur­chase of books and other ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial, the LJFF and its part­ners con­tinue to ex­pand and help make sure that kids stay in school and on track, with the tools they need to grad­u­ate so they can build a strong foun­da­tion for suc­cess in life.

LeBron James paid a visit to the first self-owned bou­tique at IFC mall and was pre­sented with a cus­tom­ized stamp in pre­cious stone by David Von Gun­ten, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Aude­mars Piguet Hong Kong and China

The Royal Oak Off­shore Chrono­graph LeBron James; LeBron James sign­ing au­to­graphs

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.