kobe-bryant-apple-campus-endorsement-deal

It is always fun when we get celebrity Apple tips, but those usually revolve around Samsung endorsers using an iPhone. Today we received something a little more interesting.

An Apple tipster sent in an image of Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant with his wife Vanessa today on Apple’s Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. The pair met with Jony Ive’s team according to the tipster and the scuttlebutt is that the meeting centered around upcoming products. Apple’s campus is clearly recognizable in the background of the photo and the couple can be seen waiting for food. We can’t verify the topic of conversation with Ive but the picture is embedded with a geotag that confirms the photo was taken with an iPhone on Apple’s campus. Kobe’s watch matches a previous publicly available image you can see in the inset…

Speaking of watches, an immediate connection would be a possible endorsement deal with Apple on either the upcoming iWatch or Apple’s upcoming Healthbook product that Mark Gurman has covered extensively. We expect Apple to announce the Healthbook app at WWDC in June and the iWatch in the latter half of the year. On the topic of health and fitness products, Apple has been rumored to be working on partnering with Nike on future devices. Bryant happens to count Nike as his biggest endorsement deal on his extensive list of partnerships and Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Nike director.

Bryant signed a watch endorsement contract in March 2013 with Swiss watch brand Hublot, part of the LVMH luxury group, which sells watches in the 20-30K range and even has his own Black Mamba special edition model. The length of the contract and the exclusivity terms aren’t immediately available. Apple is somewhat connected to Hublot as an executive from the watchmaker recently accused Apple of attempting to poach employees from the firm. Bryant is also a sponsor for technology company Lenovo, and with Samsung having LeBron James as a close partner, perhaps Apple is looking to get into the athlete spokesperson game.

The Los Angeles Lakers deferred a request for comment to Bryant’s agent. Apple and Bryant’s agent did not respond to requests for comment.