Look at the man. Head to toe, he’s dressed in red, black and gray. New sneakers on his feet. They’re calling them the D Rose 3. Cameras are flashing, recorders are playing, the room is buzzing. The lights dim.
The hometown kid. He grew up just a few minutes away. Englewood. Now he’s on stage, and there, in the front row, his momma. The one he calls his best friend, the one who did the chores around the house, and the one who raised him from a boy to a man. His brothers are next to her. The ones who made sure he got to school, did his homework, pushed him on the court.
“I could’ve easily went down that other road like some of the people in my neighborhood,” the man says, “But because of my family, I avoided it.”
Look at the whole damn city on his back. Englewood. Murray Park. Chicago.
In the center of it all is the man, his head bowed, hands across his face. He’s sobbing. Crying.
Finally, someone gets him to talk. He wipes the red out of his eyes, and stammers on.
“It’s truly a blessing. For all of this stuff that is going on… in this city… a kid from Englewood’s got something positive going on… that makes me feel so good… this shoe is great… this is all… this is great… I… I can’t explain this. I can’t.
“We weren’t supposed to be here… at all.”
Everyone knows the story of Derrick Rose, or at least what’s been written so far. But now as he makes the climb back from a freakish knee injury, there’s a new element: a signature line. Rose wasn’t ready for his own signature shoe early in his career. He even admits that. Now he is, and in Chicago earlier today, adidas officially launched Rose’s newest sneaker, the D Rose 3, as well as his first signature apparel line, which includes snapbacks, shirts, hoodies, shorts, socks and sweats. They also showed off Rose’s reflective new logo: rose petals dancing around the number 1.
Lawrence Norman, the Vice President of Global Basketball at adidas, says the company is always looking for certain characteristics in an athlete: honesty, commitment, inspirational and authentic. Then, there are the intangibles that you can’t measure, stuff like humility, a team-first attitude and the importance of family.
Finally, being a player who always has the ball in his hands, and is always on top 10 plays are bonuses. On top of that, to have it all be a homegrown story? It almost seems Hollywood-scripted because it’s so incredible.
“He checks all of those boxes,” Norman says about Rose.
Indeed, and all of those characteristics come pouring out of his new signature line. The D Rose 3 is his most personal sneaker yet. On the inside of the tongue are hand drawn memories from his past, and each sneaker features a different visual. The logo is prominently featured, with the importance of both his mother, Brenda, and his three brothers helping to give it depth. They are represented by the number 1 and the rose petals surrounding the numeral. The rough edges of the logo helps represent Murray Park, the playground Rose grew up at. As he says, the only difference between the NBA and Murray Park is that “In the NBA, there’s fouls.”
“I think we had to prove ourselves to him, and to everyone else in the marketplace,” says adidas’ Jack Gray, the Global Category Footwear Manager, “And now it’s time with the new logo to take it to the next level. It has to start with him.”
They worked closely with Rose to find a sneaker that was sleek, fit to his foot to absorb his quick cuts, and yet was still stylish enough to wear with jeans. Gray says personal aspects of his old adiZero shoes were brought back into the shoe – such as the Sprint Web and Sprint Frame – as redesigns. The Sprint Web now sports diamond shapes, while the shoe has a speckled midsole to give it more of a luxurious feel.
Even the collar of the shoe is slightly altered. Everyone enjoys protecting their ankles in different ways, while some differ between low and high socks. Because of that, adidas created a soft GEOFIT collar that can conform and stretch to engulf your ankles.
And once again, the iconic three stripes branding is on the heel of the sneaker.
“Rose has always had heel branding because of the idea of him being so fast,” Gray says. “No one’s ever really infront of him anymore. He does one head fake and he’s by you, so you see the branding.”
Rob Lee, the Director of adidas Global Basketball Design, says they’ve tried to capture Rose’s life so far, and believes they still have many more personal touches up their sleeves. But now it’s about moving forward and taking the next step performance-wise.
Still, even Rose was taken aback at times.
“There are so many elements in here that when Rose saw it for the first time, it surprised him,” Gray says of the personalized touch. “It took him time. He was like “Ah man, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that. I want a tattoo of that.’ He really wanted it as a tattoo.”
The new collection line will roll out to the public at the same time as the sneakers (Oct. 4) and for the first time in their association with Rose, adidas says it won’t be completely performance-based. Yes, that still plays a part. But as Travis Blasingame, the Head of adidas Global Basketball Apparel, says, they wanted something that could be worn from “breakfast to barbecue.”
The shorts are heavier. The hoodies are something anyone can wear in the winter, even in a place like Chicago. The t-shirt features an incredible drawing of Rose’s life – from his roots (family) to the sky (the Bulls and the NBA). And then there’s the new logo.
“Anything that the black rose goes on should be special,” argues Blasingame.
While Rose is still working to get back to 100 percent – he’s recently started jumping and while sometimes his leg is sore, he says he always works through it – he admits his only goal is to win a championship. Cliche? Yeah it is. But when you see the tears and the real emotion, you know he means it. You can feel it.
As Cormega once spit, “Look in my eyes. Stare at the realness…”
“It’s all about getting better and that’s what adidas is about,” Rose says. “We’re trying to get to that next level. We’re never satisfied and we are always working.”