Sometimes you set out to write something with the intentions of the article going one way, only to have it take a big U-turn in the middle and go somewhere else. That’s the case with this post. I was initially going to make some light hearted jokes about how LeBron and Kobe teaming up to give away headphones to their fellow All-Star members was a sign that LeBron and Kobe would soon team up on the Lakers. After all, isn’t that what all the kids are saying these days?
However, as I started working on my outline and doing some research, I realized just how frequently LeBron gives away “Beats by Dr Dre” Monster Headphones as gifts. And for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, lets start there. Chris Broussard wrote an interesting little tidbit on ESPN’s TrueHoop about Kobe and LeBron’s gesture:
James and Bryant decided to buy each member of the 2010 NBA All-Star team a pair of custom-made “Beats by Dr. Dre’’ Monster headphones. James bought them for his 12 Eastern Conference teammates, while Bryant did the same for the 14 other Western Conference all-stars.
Speaking via blackberry, James and Bryant settled on getting Dre’s $350 “Studio’’ version headphones. They then contacted Dr. Dre and asked him to customize each set of headphones by making them in the All-Star colors (blue for the East, red for the West) and putting each player’s number on them. That cost an extra $100 per set.
James and Bryant presented their gifts in the locker room before the Feb. 14 game. I’m told their stunned teammates “went crazy.’’
This story may be deeper than a nice gesture. It shows that James and Bryant have a legitimate relationship, not one that’s just fabricated in puppet commercials or pushed by Nike’s shoe salesmen.
So, yeah, you can probably see where I was initially going with this. But then I stumbled upon Rob Mahoney’s take on this story over at ProBasketballTalk.com:
Headphones! Brilliant! I mean, everyone loves music, right? And players travel all the time, so they’re constantly plugged into their iPods and laptops!
Nevermind the fact that, well, everybody owns a pair of headphones. I guess you could always stand to upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, the gesture is certainly a nice one, but for some reason the idea of a bunch of NBA stars going “crazy” over some headphones is just a tad ridiculous to me.
I have to admit, Rob is right.I mean, far be it from to suggest anyone should be ungrateful for the nice gesture put forth by Kobe and LeBron, but this story has been played out before.
You might remember that LeBron previously bought a pair of Dre Monsters for each of his comrades on Team USA. And maybe you will recall that LeBron also once bought all of his Cavalier teammates a pair of them for Christmas in 2008. Oh, and let’s not forget about the time that he made sure he was wearing a pair of Dre Monsters (different from the Custom Cavaliers model) in this NBA ad:
By now you may be saying, “so what?” And in the grand scheme of things, maybe LeBron James really does just love these headphones and wants to share them with the world. But the fact that LeBron insisted he wear them in the NBA ad and the fact that LeBron is frequently seen wearing a pair wrapped around his neck makes me wonder a little what’s in this for LeBron? Is this an unspoken advertising partnership? And if so, does that cheapen the gesture between Kobe and LeBron at all?
1) To point out that Kobe and LeBron certainly did a nice thing together in buying their teammates a (supposedly) nice and (literally) expensive pair of headphones, but that nobody should be surprised anymore to receive a pair of them from LeBron – heck, if I met LeBron on the street I would probably half expect him to give me a pair of them at this point
2) To point out that if you look closely at the Cavs model, in the center of the gold section, you can make out what looks like the #6. Interesting that these headphones came out in 2008. Hmmm, perhaps this whole number change wasn’t on such a whim after all, huh*?
(All photos courtesy of Gear Live)