Point of Inspiration
Derrick Rose breaks into tears at the DRose signature collection launch in Chicago.
by Ryne Nelson / @slaman10
Derrick Rose couldn’t watch.
As adidas’ #TheReturn documentary trailer played, with pairs of his sneakers surrounding him, emotion got the better of DRose. He leaned forward in his black leather chair and covered his face with his tattooed hands.
Images of his season-ending ACL injury flashed across a screen in front of him, as Chicago’s Point God broke down in tears during Thursday’s launch of the DRose 3, his latest adidas signature sneaker, in Chicago.
The intimate crowd went quiet. Rose’s mother Brenda, to whom Derrick famously dedicated his 2011 MVP award, focused on her son from the front row. One of his three bothers handed him a tissue. Streaming the event live online, fans around the globe held their breath as the NBA’s youngest MVP sat speechless for what seemed like an eternity.
Rose composed himself before he raised his head and slowly choked out some words.
“It’s truly a blessing. All this stuff that’s going on in this city,” Rose said finally. “I’m here from Englewood. I got something positive going. It makes me feel so good. This shoe is great; all this is great. I can’t explain. Went through so much. To have true fans… That means a lot to me.
“I know that means a lot to my family because we’re not supposed to be here at all. But God made a way. This is truly unreal. I’m just happy I have true fans out there.”
The ACL tear he suffered during last year’s Playoffs left Rose with physical scars, and mental ones as well. But Rose was more than optimistic about his comeback, his newest sneaker, an iconic logo, and his first head-to-toe apparel collection.
“This is our most personal shoe that we ever did,” Rose explained. “It has everything that’s in Chicago. […] All of my apparel is premium. Even the leather on my shoe—you don’t really get that on basketball shoes. That’s why I think this shoe is really going to change the game. This is a rare shoe. That’s me. Derrick. That shoe right there is DRose.”
Authentic and real. Loyal and blessed. adidas began its quest to convey these elements when Derrick’s brother Reggie led a team of designers through the sites of Rose’s hoops upbringing.
First, it was the recently renovated Murray Park, an outdoor court that Rose remembers shoveling snow off of in the winter months. They then toured his old Chicago neighborhood and elementary school. The team later went to Rose’s high school, the famed hoops powerhouse, Simeon Academy.
Their goal was to continue to share Derrick’s story—where he came from and his upbringing, as well as the messages Rose wants to convey to his fans.
Involved in every aspect of the process, Rose worked side-by-side with the adidas design team. The result is what adidas bills as the “most premium and personal Derrick Rose signature shoe to date.”
“We knew it was an emotional journey for us and also for Derrick to create this shoe and to incorporate so much of his life in it,” said Rob Lee, Director of Basketball Design. “It was a journey to capture everything he represents.”
While the shoe contains many personal details, including hand-drawn depictions of his life, nothing is more personal than the new DRose logo, which we’ve seen before. An iconic Black Rose stamped atop the tongue features rough edges to reflect the style of play at Murray Park and the style that Rose has brought to the League. The number 1 in the middle represents not only Rose, but the importance of his mother, Rose’s best and closest friend. The three petals represent his brothers.
When adidas presented the logo graphic to Rose at an away game against Golden State last season, Rose recalled thinking, “All this is unreal to me. I couldn’t even dream about this… where I have my own logo.”
“I loved [the logo]. It was everything about me. Whatever I touch or be a part of, I try to make sure it’s legit,” Rose said.
The close relationship with adidas was built on trust, dating back to when Three Stripes first signed Rose during his rookie season in 2008. At the beginning, despite Rose wanting a signature shoe immediately, adidas told Rose that they wanted to wait to develop the first signature shoe together. According to Lawrence Norman, VP of Basketball, adidas told Rose to “focus on your game and we’ll build this together with you and bring it to life when the time is right.”
“We trust each other,” Norman said. “We trust each other from not only the shoes, but great campaigns like Slim Chin and #TheReturn. So that certainly helps the process. And we’ve set clear expectations.”
Derrick held his end of the bargain, winning the Rookie of the Year in ’08-09, and adidas held its end up as well, creating a signature shoe for Derrick, and now, an original apparel line, which Rose reps to the fullest.
“It was very personal. To the extent that he hand-picked the waffle fleece for the DMR hoodie,” said Travis Blasingame, Head of Basketball Apparel for adidas. “He’s involved in the details of product. The fitted hat that he wore on stage—one of his favorite hat companies is Mitchell & Ness. […] When we went to do the Black Rose hat, we did it at the same factories that Mitchell & Ness uses. The same fit, the same fabric. Everything.”
Rose had a hand in the apparel collection, which includes includes jackets, hoodies, tees, pants and accessories. The t-shirt features an incredibly detailed depiction of Rose’s life—from his roots (family) to the sky (the NBA). Like the sneakers, the collection features premium materials, textures and colors that represent his understated style and pay homage to Chicago. The new line will go on sale at the same time as the sneakers (October 4).
“You never have to spin anything with him. It’s always authentic,” Blasingame said. “It’s always straightforward. And it’s like that whether we’re talking about product or if he’s on stage talking about an experience. You can’t make that shit up. He’s not an actor who cries on queue. That’s real. In today’s world, with all the bright lights, that’s special.”
Rose said his knee gets sore sometimes, but has been fighting through the pain. He’s rehabbing five days a week in L.A., and adidas is filming every moment of his comeback. He’s recently began shooting and, just a few days back, doctors cleared him to jump again.
With three more parts of #TheReturn in the works, and a long-form docu set to release following the final episode, his comeback is inspiring fans around the globe. And his fans are pushing him to comeback even better.
“My only goal is to win a Championship. Hopefully soon,” Rose said. “I’m going to put my heart into whatever I do, on and off the court. […] With the players that we have and the coaches that we have, we’re just going to have to make due and go out there and try to win a Championship.”
He plans to come back better than ever next season, and DRose will do so in style thanks to his adidas family.
“This is that shoe that will increase your comfort and stability,” Rose said. “I love high-top shoes. You know I love clean-cut shoes, where you could wear it with anything. It’s a stylish shoe. I know I tell you all almost every year that every shoe that comes out is my favorite shoe, but I believe this shoe right here is about to change the game.”
The DRose 3 launches at adidas.com, Foot Locker, Eastbay.com, Finish Line and other retailers nationwide on October 4 for $160 in away (black/white/red) and home (grey/black/red) colorways and will release seven additional colors through the end of the year.