In the competitive world of professional basketball, success is king. And while every player is chasing a championship ring, many NBA players also put a lot of time, attention, and money into their personal watch collections.
A good watch has long signified a successful career, and for many of these players, grabbing their first Rolex or Audemars Piguet is a tangible way to show that they’ve made it in life. Also, the NBA has a culture of fashion and personal expression. That’s why you’ll see photographs, articles, and even memes of certain players’ “tunnel fits” as they enter the arena before a game. With an emphasis on self-expression, it’s no wonder why many NBA ballers put extra effort into their wrist game. Let’s take a look at some of the league’s best watch collections:
It’s no surprise that King James himself has a watch collection fit for royalty. The NBA’s first active player to reach billionaire status has a lot of spending power, and he’s used it to amass a healthy horological arsenal. And no that he’s relocated to the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s only fitting that he shows some extra star power on his wrist.
LeBron was a brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet for some time, and he even has a special edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore named after him. A fan of watches with significant wrist presence, LeBron James has also been seen rocking a Richard Mille RM11-03 chronograph, a mighty expensive watch also enjoyed by athletes like Odell Beckham Jr.
At the 2022 Super Bowl, LeBron James was spotted with the most talked-about watch in the world, a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 with a bright blue Tiffany & Co. dial. This watch made headlines for adding a supremely hype collaboration with Tiffany & Co. to what is already the most hype (and hard to get) watch in the world. One of the 170 examples famously sold at auction for over $6.5 million.
LeBron James is also known to dabble in the world of Rolex and dabble he does. A few of the examples he’s been known to own include yellow gold Rolex Day-Date II, a yellow gold Rolex Sky-Dweller, and an Everose gold Rolex Day-Date 40 with the green dial.
D’Angelo Russell, Point Guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been known to bring some horological heat to the frozen north. Still a younger player, he hasn’t amassed the kind of firepower that some of his more seasoned counterparts have, but he’s still got a trick or two up his sleeve (pun intended).
The watch that Russell wears most often is a favorite among his NBA peers, and that’s the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The watch was a true gamechanger when it was introduced in 1972. Designed by Gerald Genta, it was the first luxury sports watch in steel with a price equal to a watch of solid gold. The octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet have achieved icon status over the following decades with seemingly every wealthy and famous person keeping one in their collection.
There are many styles available now, and D’Angelo Russell opted for a clean and sleek steel version with a matching silver dial. For something similar but much more cutting edge, Russell was also spotted at the NBA summer league wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in black ceramic. This watch is a stealthy take on a classic that’s lighter and more scratch-resistant. D’Angelo Russell’s model of choice also sports a tourbillon for a mesmerizing centerpiece on the dial.
You’ll start to notice a theme as we move to Draymond Green’s collection for he too is a noted fan of the Royal Oak. However, we should note that Draymond Green’s taste extends to the outer reaches of the model’s offerings.
Have you ever seen a purple watch designed after a superhero that costs roughly $500,000? Well, now you have. Draymond Green is the owner of one of the watch world’s biggest surprises in recent years, the Audemars Piguet Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Royal Oak Concept. It’s a big watch owned only by those with big imaginations and even bigger bank accounts.
For something equally eye-catching and complicated, Draymond has also been known to rock the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in white ceramic. This amazing watch can dive deep in the ocean and will also tell you the time, day, date, month, moonphase, and it even tracks the leap year too.
We’ll finish our list with one of the league’s fastest-rising stars. The Greek-Nigerian super athlete has earned himself a championship and MVP honors in a relatively short time, and that’s cause for celebrating with some serious watches on your wrist.
So far, the “Greek freak” has kept it fairly straightforward, although we suspect his biggest horological hits are yet to come. Giannis has been seen wearing an enthusiast favorite Rolex Daytona. His is the 116500LN reference with a steel case and black ceramic bezel. He’s also a noted fan of Rolex’s most complicated watch the Rolex Sky-Dweller featuring a beautifully integrated annual calendar function.
Finally, it wouldn’t be an NBA watch roundup without an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. And since Giannis is a substantially sized player, he opted for an equally substantially sized Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver when signing his contract extension worth $228 million.