Sam: Adidas taking Rose's brand global


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.

As injuries mount, Bulls' rotation gymnastics will continue against Suns


As injuries mount, Bulls' rotation gymnastics will continue against Suns

As the Bulls work back a litany of battered bodies, expect lineup and rotation gymnastics to continue. 

In the team’s first game back from the All-Star break against the Charlotte Hornets, Ryan Arcidiacono made his first start of the campaign (and logged a season-high 28 minutes) for an injured Chandler Hutchison. Head coach Jim Boylen confirmed Arcidiacono as a starter for Saturday’s bout with the Phoenix Suns and laid out his rationale.

“[Arcidiacono]’s an additional ball-handler, he creates spacing on the floor, he's a good shooter," Boylen said. "We can have him handle and Zach (LaVine) and (Tomas) Sato(ransky) can play off the ball, which I think is important for them, especially with a team that is down numbers, maybe they get a possession where they can rest or play off the ball." 

Arcidiacono started 32 games for the Bulls in 2018-19 — another injury-ravaged season — which he said has made this adjustment a familiar one.

Boylen also elaborated on how that decision is impacting the team’s development plan for rookie Coby White. The hope is White’s spark-plug scoring and creation (he’s averaging 28.5 minutes, 11.5 points and 4.7 assists in his last six games) can be a boon for a Bulls bench drained by injury, while he also grows as a decision-maker and leader.

“[Arcidiacono starting] keeps Coby in that backup role, where he's finding his voice and he's learning to play that (lead guard) position,” Boylen said. “And I think that's important too. Coby has more of a voice with that second group, and we're asking him to run that group as efficiently as he can and learn.”

The Bulls deployed a nine-man rotation for Thursday’s game against Charlotte, and Boylen said that will again be the case tonight. The one tweak: Luke Kornet, who sprained his ankle at Friday afternoon practice, will be inactive, and Adam Mokoka is back from the G League. Boylen said he expects Mokoka to play tonight.

Daniel Gafford will start in Kornet’s place, with Cristiano Felicio the primary big off the bench. Tonight will mark Gafford’s fifth career start and first since Jan. 15, when he gruesomely dislocated his right thumb a minute-and-a-half into a game the Bulls eventually won over the Wizards. Kornet started 14 games at center in his stead. Gafford has been gradually working his way back from a sprained ankle he sustained against the Raptors Feb. 2 (his first game back from the thumb). 

“I love his energy. He tries, I think he's grown as a young, developing player. I like having him out there. I know Daniel is gonna embrace his role, he's gonna compete on every possession,” Boylen said of Gafford, who will have his hands full with Suns center Deandre Ayton tonight. “We're still trying to get [Gafford’s] wind up, get his legs back. It's hard, our [centers] in our system do a lot. We have an active defense and they're involved in a lot of our offense, so the conditioning piece for all of them is really important.”

Gafford’s re-introduction to heavy minutes should help a reeling Bulls defense. His 1.2 blocks per game and 42 total blocks are both second among rookies, and, per Cleaning the Glass, Bulls opponents shoot 1.6% less frequently and 8.1% less accurately (96th percentile) when Gafford is on the floor. The Bulls have allowed 70.2% shooting in the restricted area (dead last in the NBA) since Wendell Carter Jr. went down on Jan. 6. 

As for others on the mend: Hutchison suffered a setback in his nicked up right shoulder just before the All-Star break, and said on Friday that he received a cortisone shot in it — a strategy he says has worked for him in the past. Hutchison is listed as doubtful, but with Boylen revealing the team will use a nine-man rotation, it’s safe to assume he won’t play.

The same is true for Carter, who did some sprinting with Otto Porter Jr. (already ruled out) after shootaround. 

“Target dates are floating,” Boylen said of when he expects those with ambiguous recovery timelines to return. “We discuss them after every ramp up — a little bit more this day, a little bit more the next day. There’s a conversation that happens: ‘How you feeling? How’s it going? What do you think, a little sore today? Ok we’ll back it off a little.’ That might change when a guy’s coming back or I feel pretty good and you know what I’m going to ramp it up again today. That’s just the process.

“I do feel some guys are close, I feel they’re closer than they were two days ago. I feel they’re closer than they were after we got back from the All-Star break. I don’t spend a whole bunch of time worrying over when they’re going to be back, how’s it going to happen, I have to coach the guys I have now in the moment and prepare them to have success.”

That optimism has been consistent from Boylen through adversity — injury-related and otherwise — all season. Now, entrenched in a season-long seven-game losing streak, the team needs something positive more than ever.

“Jim's a positive guy, and he always wants guys to be ready for the next situation at hand,” Arcidiacono said. “I think that with all the injuries that are happening it's next-man-up and he still expects us to win and go out there and compete every single day.”

“I don’t wake up saying, boy, this is a tough moment, this is a tough day, or we’ve got eight of our 17 not playing. I don’t do that. It is what it is,” Boylen said. “My job is to teach and coach this team. I think my staff’s doing a great job of getting us ready and staying positive and organized, and I just don’t go there. I’m not going there. I’m not going there for the team, I’m not going there for my staff, I’m not going there for the organization.

“Our guys have been great. Our guys have been very resilient, our staff’s been very resilient. Front office has been very supportive. It’s a difficult moment, that’s the way it is.”

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Nick Nurse passes Steve Kerr to become winningest head coach in NBA history

Nick Nurse passes Steve Kerr to become winningest head coach in NBA history

The Bulls and the city of Chicago have their fingerprints all over the list of winningest head coaches (by win-loss percentage) in NBA history but a new name is atop the list as of Friday night.

Chicago-native Doc Rivers is currently 41st on the list with a W-L percentage just under 58%. Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is 33rd on the list with a 58.9% W-L percentage, and of course, Bulls Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson has long held a firm place within the top-5.

Jackson is currently third on the list of winningest coaches in league history as he has since been passed by Nurse and another former Bull, current Warriors coach Steve Kerr. But on Friday Nurse officially passed Kerr and became the winningest head coach in league history.

The Raptors took down the Phoenix Suns on Friday night behind a 37-point performance from Pascal Siakam and a great all-around defensive effort to lift Toronto's record to 41-15 on the season. Nurse has done an excellent job of leading the Raptors to a great post-NBA title-winning season despite a ton of adversity.

Nurse, an avid Cubs fan, has the Raptors playing some of the best basketball in the league, sitting at No. 2 in the Eastern Conference despite having lost 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in free agency and missing almost every player on their roster to injury at some point this season. 

Nurse enters Saturday with an NBA head coaching record of 99-38 over 138 games. 

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