Bulls

Sam: Adidas taking Rose's brand global

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Sam: Adidas taking Rose's brand global

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
4:54 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSN Chicago.com

It's no surprise that Derrick Rose's combination of on-court success and aesthetically-pleasing game has resulted in the Bulls All-Star point guard. However, his low-key demeanor wouldn't seem to lend itself to the role of traditional corporate pitchman. Nevertheless, the Chicago native is literally everywhere these days and while his humble persona might not fit the stereotype of a star athlete, adidas--the sneaker brand that Rose endorses--fully embraces the third-year pro's unique charisma.

"For us, it started watching him at Simeon and then at Memphis. We knew he could play, but when it came down to the draft and after the draft, we sat down with him and our other draftees, as well--we had a very good draft class that year, with Derrick, with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, Toronto Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless, the Lopez brothers centers Brook of the New Jersey Nets and Robin of the Phoenix Suns, respectively, Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon--we had a really good draft class. so we were just talking to them at dinner and asking them what their expectations were and we went around the table, and we got to Derrick," Lawrence Norman, Vice President for Global Basketball at adidas, told CSNChicago.com

"Derrick's answer was very unique, in a sense that he just wanted to make his mom happy and his city proud. that was all he said and he said it with such a serious look on his face that we knew that he was a different kind of player, a different kind of person. So we knew that from the beginning, but then, as he's really grown over the last couple of years and shined on such an international stage at the FIBA World Championships, he came back with even with more swagger and confidence, and you can see that with the way that he's playing, the way he's becoming more vocal on the court, the way that he's becoming more vocal, even in marketing with us."

"We're all happy that he's becoming an MVP candidate so fast, but it's been gradual steps," continued the Portland-based Norman, who oversees adidas' global basketball business and manages the partnership between the company and the NBA. "He was Rookie of the Year, he was an All-Star his second year and I think he has high expectations for himself, and he's living up to those expectations."

Rose to complete in All-Star Skills Challenge

Norman went on to expound on why he and adidas believe Rose, whose jersey was the league's fourth best-seller last season--and rising, if the "M-V-P" chants and sights of Rose jerseys at Bulls road games are any indication--is so marketable.

"I've thought about this a lot and I think that his story is real. He's homegrown, he's from Chicago, he's true to his roots, but on the court, he's very team-first. As good as he is, he's always putting the team before himself, which is important, and kids are resonating towards him because he's authentic, of course, but he's also fast," said Norman, alluding to adidas' "Fast Don't Lie" ad campaign, which centers around Rose. "The fastest player in the game, that means a lot to kids from Shanghai to Chicago. In Chicago, he's obviously a hero and he's becoming a bigger hero all over the country, but his style of play and his swagger and his confidence and his reckless abandon when he's going to the basket, that's credible in Shanghai, as well, because players can aspire to be a guard--a fast guard--and they love the way that he plays. So that's why he's becoming a bigger icon all over the world."

In addition to his popularity amongst fans, Rose's individual brand is also making headway, according to Norman.

"His business is already becoming very successful. The adi Zero Rose 1.0 Rose's first signature sneaker launched in October and sold very well. The adi Zero Rose 1.5 is launching on Monday. He's going to wear that in the second half of Sunday's All-Star Game and we have high expectations for that," Norman said of Rose, who frequently gives credit to adidas for their aggressive marketing of him, such as their successful push, along with the Bulls (featuring placards on every United Center seat and actual roses left for courtside fans at a January home game), to garner the votes that led to his eventual starting nod in Sunday's All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "We see his business continuing to grow at a fast pace and we know his main accounts that he's been selling at--Foot Locker and Eastbay--both accounts do well and we know from their orders for next season, 2011-12, that these orders are going to go up substantially."

Beyond profit margins, however, Norman knows adidas is in an excellent position to have Rose--who, along with Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, is one of the brand's most visible endorsers--on its roster.

"On the court, the sky's the limit. He's already defining--I think, 10 years from now or 15 years from now, when people look back and say, 'What is a Chicago point guard? What is that style of play?'--he represents it the best," Norman, who played professional basketball in Israel, told CSN Chicago.com. "They're going to be mentioning his name probably before they mention Isiah Thomas or Tim Hardaway. He represents the city in the way that he plays, in such a gritty way, and he takes every practice and every game so seriously."

"It's so personal, the whole city is embracing him for that reason," he continued. "He's got tremendous upside, his team is very good, he's playing in one of the basketball capitals of the world in Chicago, so what's not to like?"

Not a thing.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Wendell Carter Jr. gets early 'learning experience' against Embiid, Sixers

Wendell Carter Jr. gets early 'learning experience' against Embiid, Sixers

PHILADELPHIA – Picture yourself at 19 years old.

Maybe you were in college. Maybe you hit the job market early.

What you likely weren’t doing was guarding one the NBA’s best centers in your first professional game.

That was the task charged to Wendell Carter Jr. in the Bulls’ 127-108 loss to the 76ers in the season opener at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday.

Carter Jr. was the seventh overall pick in the NBA draft after just one season at Duke. He earned the start in his NBA debut after an impressive preseason, but nothing could’ve prepared him for going up against Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” Carter Jr. said when asked if Embiid was as impressive as he thought he’d be. “He’s a phenomenal player. He’s one of, or the best, big man in the league. Very skilled, very poised. He knows his spots on the court.

“I didn’t go out there with my best effort. It’s just a learning experience for me.”

Carter Jr. had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and a block in 20 minutes. He also picked up four fouls, which the rookie attributed to the physicality and craftiness of Embiid.

But he did flash the impressive and varied skill set that made him a high pick and such a coveted prospect. He was also able to garner the praise of the Bulls’ veterans.

“Even though Wendell got in foul trouble he was still playing (Embiid) solid,” Zach LaVine, who scored a team-high 30 points, said. “That’s a tough first game right there. But he didn’t lack for confidence. Made him take some tough shots, but he’s going to make them. He’s that type of player.”

To his credit, Carter Jr. was candid about his performance. He admitted that his emotions ran the gamut from nervous to excited to happy.

In a season that will have its ups and downs as the young Bulls develop and learn, there will likely be more games like this against other elite NBA competition. It’ll be how Carter Jr. responds that will define his career.

“It’s the first game so I don’t want to put too much on myself,” Carter Jr. said. “It would be different if it was like the 50th game or 60th game. It’s the first game. We’re just going to move on from it. We’ve got our home opener on Saturday (vs. the Pistons). That’s where my mind is right now.”

See, he’s learning already.

Could Ryan Arcidiacono be in line for more minutes?

Could Ryan Arcidiacono be in line for more minutes?

The Bulls backup point guard situation will be in dire straits all season, with no established veteran behind Kris Dunn. And although the front office has seemingly committed to Cameron Payne as the backup PG (for at least this season), Ryan Arcidiacono showed enough in the season opener to justify giving him meaningful plying time in the rotation. 

Here are the stat lines of Arcidiacono and Cameron Payne from the season opener in Philadelphia:

Arcidiacono: 8 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 2-for-3 from the 3-point line

Payne:           0 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, 0-for-1 from the 3-point line

With so many capable ball handlers and score-first players on the Bulls, point and assist totals aren’t as important as the rebounds and 3-point attempts. To provide the necessary space needed for driving lanes, there has to be openings in the defense caused by defenders sticking close to player they believe are a threat to shoot.

And that is where the problem lies with Payne.

Ryan Arcidiacono—while by no means a dominant scorer—showed a willingness to attack off of the pick-and-roll, even showing off an impressive ball-fake:


Payne, despite coming into the league with the reputation of a scorer, has yet to be aggressive enough to make teams think twice about leaving him wide-open on the perimeter. And he is not one to attack the basket with purpose, averaging less than half a free throw per game for his career. Payne's general lack of aggressiveness when on the floor is often times made worse by his occasional poor post entry passes that seem predetermined:

Even if the above play was designed to get the ball to LaVine in the mid-post, Payne chooses a terrible time to make the pass. When he starts the motion to give the ball to LaVine, Ben Simmons is positioned in front of LaVine to force a tougher pass, as rookie Landry Shamet gambles over the backside to get the steal.

Had Payne chose to swing the ball around the perimeter, or give it to Bobby Ports and then get it back, he could have created an opening for the LaVine pass.

Obviously, the Bulls 19-point loss can’t be blamed on solely on Payne, the terrible defense was a group effort, as was the sometimes questionable shot selection. But with the defense already appearing to be perhaps one of the league's worst units, Fred Hoiberg would be wise to put Arcidiacono in more.

Hoiberg is in a crucial year where he needs to show that he can be the head coach of this team when they finally become competitive.

And for Hoiberg to show that type of growth as a coach, he needs to set the tone that minutes are earned not given, something he has already started with his moving of Jabari Parker to the bench. Payne only received 22 minutes, compared to 28 minutes for Arcidiacono, and it is tough to see that changing if things continue on like they did on Thursday night.