Mitch from The Bulls Show drops by to report from Rose's shoe party -- Ricky
Derrick Rose the basketball player looks to be in midseason form. And the sales skills don't seem to be far behind. Fresh off a 27-point performance in St. Louis on Friday and a 30-point breakout earlier in the week against Cleveland at Ohio State, Derrick Rose headed back home to Chicago to introduce his newest shoes, the D. Rose 5 Boost.
The event was hosted at the downtown State Street Foot Locker and lacked the spectacle of previous launch parties. There was no Benny the Bull, no cheerleaders, no Big Sean. Just Derrick, a few members of his Adidas team, some excited Foot Locker employees, a small media gathering and a DJ inside. In fact, the venue was downright cozy compared to its previous venue, the United Center
Outside though, a small army waited outside to meet Derrick. The love, the excitement, the popularity is still there. Children screamed with excitement, women swooned, and grown men were decked out in Bulls gear from head to toe. A sign reading "Flew in from LA for the DRose" perfectly summarized the excitement of people lining up for the opportunity to meet Derrick.
The intimate setting inside allowed all to see how comfortable Derrick is. This is a man that is dripping with confidence of an athlete that knows that he is returning to an MVP level of play very, very soon. There were no signs of the anxiety of re-injuring his cursed knees or the difficultly meeting the lofty expectations of his hometown.
Maybe it's all the practice that has allowed him to portray an air of confidence. Derrick has a ton of experience swashbuckling through the world doing this sales stuff, especially Asia pushing his brand, which has remained relatively healthy, especially noting that he hasn't played a full season in forever.
Derrick worked in full sales mode, gushing over the Boost shoe technology and the fact that the this shoe would be the first to abandon the signature three stripe style of every Adidas shoe before it. Sneakheads have made a big deal about both of these things, I have no idea of the significance. But the shoes look good and apparently play even better.
The featured colorway is mainly red, outlined with black and white. The DRose logo sits prominently on the back and the light blue shoestrings give the shoe a splash of contrast from the traditional Bulls colors. They are high tops in their truest form, standing tall on the ankle and feature text on the side paying homage to his city, his family and his path.
The three stripes are replaced with the now familiar DRose logo, just as Michael Jordan's signature kicks are devoid of any Nike markings. Derrick is obviously no Jordan when it comes to hawking shoes, but he's coming into his own as a brand spokesman. He adeptly flipped a question about the high price of the shoes into a mini-lecture on how his shoes represent a pretty good deal; the same high quality guts of any other major offering with a price much lower than much of the shoes competition. The price tags of the LeBrons' and Kobe's weren't specifically mentioned, but the point was well taken.
The event was short on basketball talk, after all these events are much more about selling shoes than selling dreams of another Grant Park parade. But when asked about whether he had a chip on his shoulder because of commentators ranking him as a player that may of regressed to a top 30 player, Derrick gracefully shrugged off the question.
He stated everyone has a right to their opinion but he knew who he was, A player that is much better than top 30. But he wasn't mad, wasn't bothered. In this sense, Derrick is the anti-Kobe. He genuinely doesn't seem to care what people think about his game and pays little mind to his standing in the basketball world. He seems pretty immune to everything going on around him.
And for all of the critiques of his brother, who lurked behind Derrick the entire time, a la Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard, keeping Derrick focused on the game and away from the sideshow of the internet, Twitter, the streets, and everything else seems to be a pretty useful job.
There were just a few other basketball questions (the media was limited to only a few minutes with him) and many of them were pretty unimportant. But he was asked on whether his signature speed was still tucked away in the arsenal.
His answer skipped the original premise, he seemed to be unconcerned about athleticism . He was happy to point out that the game was now much slower to him and how he feels more comfortable controlling the entire game, not just his own performance.
He talked about the importance of working in bursts in the preseason and taking that strategy over to the regular season. Decoded from athlete speak, it seems like he meant that he doesn't always need to work hard and fast enough to go through a brick wall. Some situations call for a Tasmanian Devil like pace, while others need a more measured approach.
In the end, observing the event you'd never know that this was Derrick's second show at a triumphant return. Everyone from the fans, to Derrick, to the excited Adidas and FootLocker officials seemed convince that the same old Derrick was already here, not coming back. The excitement was contagious. Let's hope the health and winning follows suit.