23 Sep In partnership with Adidas, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose set to introduce another signature shoe
It’s been more than 500 days since Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose last played in an NBA game.
Judging by the crowds that have turned out for his promotional appearances for Adidas over the summer in Europe and Asia, however, it would seem he just stepped off the court days ago.
“It’s amazing to me and I also think it’s amazing to him,” said Lawrence Norman, vice president of global basketball for Adidas, the footwear and apparel company that signed Rose out of the University of Memphis.
Norman spoke Sunday morning from Chicago, where he would attend an event Sunday afternoon at the United Center featuring Rose and to be attended by about 6,000 Chicago school children. The event coincided with the introduction Sunday of Rose’s seventh signature basketball shoe since he joined Adidas after joining the Bulls out of the University of Memphis.
After Rose went down with a torn ACL in his left knee in a 2012 playoff game, Adidas saw its top basketball player — perhaps its most globally recognized athlete — potentially vanish from the world stage.
That wouldn’t do.
Adidas enlisted the advertising agency 180 LA to work with Rose, chronicling his rehabilitative work in a series of YouTube videos called, “The Return.” The series has been credited with keeping the one-time NBA Most Valuable Player in the public eye — most importantly in the eye of 14- to 19-year-old, sneaker-buying males.
Adidas continued to produce Rose shoes and introduced a Rose line of apparel, complete with a distinctive logo, as if he’d never left the competitive arena. Rose’s Chicago Bulls jersey remains the No. 2-selling jersey in the NBA.
Norman, who is based at the Portland headquarters of Adidas America, accompanied Rose on his world travels this summer. That included a visit to the Adidas global headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Croatia. In Asia, stops included China, Japan and the Philippines.
“Every city he went to he’s as popular there as he is in Chicago,” Norman said.
On the trip to Europe, the Chicago Bulls trainer accompanied Rose, Norman said, an indication of his focus on recovery. Norman said Rose has put on about 15 pounds of muscle from his previous playing weight.
“He looks a lot stronger,” Norman said. “He had never worked this hard on his core. He really looks impressive. His attitude has never wavered.”
As for the product introduction — the D Rose 4 signature basketball shoe and apparel collection — it will be available ($140) for worldwide sale Oct. 10, two days before Rose’s Bulls face the Washington Wizards — led by John Wall, also a key Adidas basketball player — in an exhibition game in Rio de Janeiro. Rose and Wall are among 65 to 70 NBA players under contract with Adidas.
The D Rose 4 shoe is available for pre-sale at adidas.com. The shoe, was designed by Kohei Kanata, who has created the majority of Rose’s signature shoes. Kanata, who is based at the Adidas America headquarters in Portland, has been with Adidas for three years. Previously, he worked six years with Reebok, an Adidas AG subsidiary based in Canton, Mass.
Norman has worked with Rose since 2008, when he first signed the future NBA Rookie of the Year to an Adidas contract.
Rose hasn’t changed in that time. “Still very humble,” Norman said. “When his mom (Brenda Rose) tells him to something, he does.”
— Allan Brettman