In a grand gesture, LeBron James presented brand new Apple Watches to his fellow Cleveland Cavaliers players. His intention was to "inspire and motivate the team" ahead of the NBA finals, but not everyone saw it that way.
A Samsung spokesman handing out Apple Watches just doesn’t sit well with his endorsing company. It’s actually not a crime to buy, use or gift someone a brand you do not endorse. But seeing it from Samsung’s point of view, he did turn his entire team in to an endorsement for their competitor.
"I've been fortunate enough to work with some great partners and whatever I get, I like to share with my teammates...It's just my way of showing them that I care. That's it. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time," James says in his defense.
Not only has James been a Samsung spokesman since 2012, he is one of their most famous and prominent celebrity endorsers.
His fans definitely noticed, but care more about the man than the watch:
Sort of funny that the Samsung spokesperson, Lebron James, gave Apple Watch's to his teammates a gift.— Mounir Gad (@MounirGad) June 9, 2015
Lebron James gave all his teammates #AppleWatch . If he had given them samsung smartwatch, they might return it :)— Ryan (@ryanr8) June 9, 2015
To give LeBron his due, the star did what any ace would do for his team facing the NBA finals. The team needed all of the support and motivation it could get against the favored Golden State Warriors.
James also planned a party for his teammates at their hotel, the Four Seasons in downtown San Francisco, and gave them a pep talk for the competition, motivating them to take it all on and achieve their goal of victory.
"He was like, we're here for business and to be prepared," says center Tristan Thompson. "All the media attention, all the hoopla stuff is cool and what not, but we're here to take care of business."
He then proceeded to give his team an evening filled with food and music and even brought in a barber for players to get haircuts.
"'Bron is the best teammate you can ask for, because on the court he's going to give you everything and off the court he's always going to be considerate and do whatever he can to show his gratitude," says another teammate James Jones.