“I don’t ask questions,” Eric Kettani said then. “I just say, ‘Thank you, Robert.’”
A few weeks leader, another D.C. team leader passed out another round of gifts to another group of teammates. During a road trip to Portland, everyone on the Wizards got a Samsung Galaxy II Note, personalized with the team logo and uniform numbers. During a trip to L.A., they all got Beats By Dre headphones, and the Beats Pill, a Bluetooth speaker audio system. Both giveaways were John Wall productions.
“I feel like more opportunities do come my way, and I feel like instead of me just getting it, why can’t I see if my team, or some of my friends can get it?” Wall said Wednesday morning. “It finally worked out that both of those partners, Samsung and Beats, wanted to collaborate with my team, and we made it work.”
Of course, there are huge benefits to the company. Their associations with LeBron James earned both Beats and Samsung huge plugs in the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine.
“So here now is LeBron on his Samsung Galaxy Note II, flexing his DJ muscle as trainer Mike Mancias works him over,” my Post colleague J. Freedom Du Lac wrote. “Tonight, the custom-designed pair of Beats by Dr. Dre that James wore into the arena have been replaced by a Beats by Dr. Dre speaker, which several teammates are trying to tune out by covering their ears with their own Beats….Tune into any sporting event and you’re likely to see a team getting off the bus with half the roster crowned in Beats, individual players doing warmups in Beats, guys sitting in locker room folding chairs, in uniform, in game-prep mode, in Beats.”
And indeed, the Wizards players weren’t hurting for Beats, even before the latest giveaway.
As for the phone, Temple said NBA players all have two or three different phones, and the Galaxy thus came in handy. Samsung also arranged help for the Wizards in setting up and customizing their new phones. “S/O to the homie @john_wall,” Temple wrote on Instagram, when he posted an image of his new phone. “May have to see what the android world talking about.”
“Samsung wanted to do a deal,” Wall explained. “They contacted my people and just set it up to get them a gift while we was in Portland… It was good. They were excited. They was happy. A lot of people switched their phone to that service.”
“Shout out to @beatsbydre and @gwpresents for lacing my whole team up with fresh new mixers,” Wall wrote, when he posted this image of the headphones.
Is this the responsibility of a team leader in 2013, to spread the corporate largesse to players who might lack endorsement deals?
“No, I don’t think so. But I think it’s good. You keep the team together,” Wall said. “I’m just enjoying my teammates, appreciating them as much as possible, and just surprising them without them knowing they’re gonna get a gift.”
“It was surprising, a blessing,” Temple said. “I guess that’s the perk of having a guy like John on your team…I mean, I don’t think that’s part of his role. But if it’s possible, if it’s something he definitely can do, he’s gonna do it as a leader of the team.”
And no, the gift giving doesn’t always go in both directions.
“Nobody gave me a gift,” Wall said.
“I haven’t given anybody anything yet,” Temple admitted. “Trying to get wins, that’s what I’m trying to get.”