Over the years, the National Basketball Assn. has inked marketing deals resulting in a range of “official” products, from an official league timekeeper (Swiss watch brand Tissot) to an official motor fuel (ExxonMobil). Today comes news that the NBA has its first official trophy travel case provider. It’s French luxury house Louis Vuitton, which has crafted a travel trunk for the safe transport of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, presented to the team that wins the NBA Finals.
Covered in LV-monogrammed canvas and accented with brass fixtures, the case is the first visible manifestation of a multiyear partnership between the league and the LVMH-owned brand that, according to Wednesday’s announcement, will eventually include “an annual limited-edition capsule collection,” with details on that coming at a later date. The deal was announced in advance of Friday’s game — in Paris — between the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks, which will be the first-ever regular-season NBA game to be played in France.
Bragging rights aside, the notion of having an official trophy carrying case for the Larry O’Brien Trophy is a bit over the top. (There’s only one, right? It’s not like consumers — even well-to-do ones — are in need of trophy-toting hard-case luggage.) However, the deal does give us a small glimpse into how LVMH might synergize the $16.2-billion takeover of storied jewelry nameplate Tiffany & Co. that was announced in November and is set to finalize sometime this year (subject to approval of regulators and Tiffany shareholders).
The connection being that the trophy itself is actually a Tiffany product — a fact that Tiffany touted with the release of its new, expanded men’s jewelry collection back in October by displaying an archival version at a pop-up store at the Grove shopping center. Also on display were the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the USTA’s Men’s U.S. Open Trophy — all products of Tiffany’s holloware workshop in Rhode Island.
Which means we won’t be the least bit surprised if there are more trophy-toting trunks on the horizon.