LeBron James and Dr. Dre teamed up to be on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, which hits newsstands this week. The photos were shot by Peter Yang for ESPN. Here’s an excerpt, and a link to the full article below…
“F— SNEAKERS, LET’S make speakers,” Iovine is said to have told Dr. Dre in 2006, when the rap legend was thinking about getting into the celebrity-shoe game. Iovine had another idea, centered on the pair’s core competency: sound.
In 2008 James and Iovine had gotten together with their shared financial adviser, Paul Wachter, to discuss a documentary film project. Iovine was simultaneously developing the headphones, and he knew that James was fanatical about music, that he’d grown up listening to Dr. Dre’s proffer, that he was an ascendant cultural influencer. He was the perfect Beats test subject.
So Iovine gave a prototype of Beats Studio headphones to James’ manager, Maverick Carter, to pass to James while he trained for the 2008 Olympics. James asked for more, to outfit the entire U.S. Olympic basketball team before it left for Beijing. The hype was immediate. TMZ noted that Dr. Dre “influenced the USA Olympic basketball [team] as much as Dr. J.” Other media coverage followed. So did queries from other athletes, James says. “I started hearing from people who wanted to know: What are they? Where did I get them? What’s that ‘b’?”
Then they asked how they could get their own.
Eventually James, Iovine and Dre entered into a formal business relationship; the details have never been disclosed, and the company, which is privately held, will say only that James “has a business stake in Beats.”
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