The evening would be rife with unintentional metaphor, as an ebullient watch executive and a weary basketball star shared the makeshift stage in a South Beach parking garage. The jet-setting LeBron James seemed jet-lagged from his just-ended European honeymoon as he interacted Friday with Audemars Piguet CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias and took some friendly audience questions.
The Miami Heat star revealed that he wanted the LeBron James Royal Oak Offshore to be "exclusive"—just 600 made—so that "people will gravitate towards it," which sounds like the way people gravitate toward elite NBA players like himself.
When asked if it would be less than another decade before he put his name on another watch for AP, he joked that Bennahmias "absolutely shouldn't have to wait that long," which is how the world felt about James' pursuit of his first NBA title.
Oh, and he spoke of wanting the watch to be transparent from behind, "so you actually get to see the mechanism that goes with the watch, which is actually keeping the watch moving and going."
"It's not always the external; it's also about the internal," James explained, which sounded a lot like what many have said about him, especially before his mental growth began to complement his physical gifts.
Yet, while James took no direct basketball questions, when asked a softball about his teammates'—specifically Dwyane Wade's—love of designer watches, James did say something that can be taken into the 2013-14 season, as the Heat set out to win a third straight championship.
"My teammates, they've got a lot of class," James said. "They love style, they love fashion and love time. We're trying to figure out a way to stop time, I guess."
Some more than others.
That's the story of this Heat season, the one that unofficially opens with media day in Miami on Monday, followed by training camp from Tuesday through Friday in the Bahamas.
It's about making the most of now.
Thirteen players come to camp with guaranteed contracts. Of those, six (Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Greg Oden, Rashard Lewis, James Jones) are in the last year of their deals, with Battier and perhaps Allen likely to retire. Six (James, Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony) have player options. One (Norris Cole) is subject to a team option.
This is a group that has become unusually close over the past couple of years. That was evident when so many made the wedding rounds this summer, first attending Haslem's to Faith Rein in Palm Beach and then James' to Savannah Brinson in San Diego. That was evident when Allen and Andersen stuck around for less money, rather than testing the market.
Sooner rather than later, though, they will be separated.
That's as sure as the ticking, which sounds about the same from every timepiece, no matter how stylish.