As Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose grimaced on the ground and clutched his left knee in front of the entire world in April, one could only wonder what his future would hold.
Rose, who tore his left ACL in the final minutes of Game 1 of Chicago's first-round NBA playoff series against Philadelphia, will be missing at least the beginning of this upcoming season. The Bulls point guard and the youngest MVP in NBA history will be facing a tough road to recovery, but those who know Rose's story understand that nothing will deter this young star from taking on any challenge.
With the latest iteration of his signature shoe, the adidas Rose 3.0, dropping on October 4, it is clear that D-Rose wanted to make sure the world knew what inspires him to fight each and every day.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Rob Lee, head designer of adidas' newest signature shoe. While the shoes were the main topic of discussion, I quickly learned that this version of Rose's signature shoe comes with more than rubber and leather—it comes with heart.
Rose, a Chicago native, has always been true to his roots. Playing for the Bulls, he carries the weight of his hometown on his shoulders every night while expressing that tough but humble Chicago mentality.
Now on to the shoes.
When you pick up the Rose 3.0, the first thing you notice is a brand-new signature logo. This is not just a logo—this is a symbol representing Rose and his life story.
As Lee explained, the logo is made up of three rose petals, each representing one of Rose's older brothers who helped steer his life down the right path as he grew up in Chicago. No doubt there were distractions, but Rose's brothers made sure he was focused on basketball and where it would take him.
These petals are not by any means smooth around the edges, as one would expect from a rose. They are edged and tough, representing "the aggressiveness of Derrick's play." It speaks volumes to who Derrick is, humble but a warrior on the court who fights his way to the basket night in and night out.
In the middle of these three petals, you will find a "D" with a "1" replacing the typical hole of the letter. While the number clearly represents Derrick's number on his jersey, on a deeper note it represents his mother, Brenda.
Rose has always been vocal about what his mother has meant to his career, and you could just see the strength of their relationship when he accepted his MVP award in 2011.
As Rob continued to dissect the new logo with me, you could really get the sense of impact that Rose had on the design. This isn't just a signature shoe, but something that represents who Derrick is and what it has taken to get him where he is today. As Rose stated in the Rose 3.0 press release:
The D Rose 3 signature collection is special to me because I worked side-by-side with adidas on everything from materials to fit to colors to make it the best we've done yet. I love the new logo that calls out the most important things to me: my family, basketball and the city of Chicago.
As one can tell, a lot went into the design of the new Rose logo, and as Lee explained, they plan on it becoming the everlasting logo that will represent Derrick and his brand on and off the court.
Anybody who understands the shoe game knows just how important a signature logo is to an athlete's image, as the greats can carry an everlasting impact. This is the first logo adidas has ever designed for Rose, and you could just tell in Lee's voice that they feel they have something that will fulfill that very goal.
With the new logo, adidas will be expanding Rose's brand beyond just shoes.
This means his fans will be able to wear clothes representing the young star. For a player like Rose, who has been an MVP and been in the playoffs four straight times, this is huge for his personal brand. This puts him on the same level as other elite NBA stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and of course Michael Jordan.
Aside from the logo overhaul, you also notice that the shoe is still incredibly light despite the added leather features. As Lee explained, they "wanted the shoe to be made of the highest qualities while maintaining its place as one of the lightest signature shoes on the market." The upper also features adidas' Sprintweb technology, which aids in keeping the shoe extremely light.
The shoes also carry one more major overhaul. These kicks are clearly made for on and off the court, as the shoe "captures all performance needs for on the court, but at the same time a consumer could wear them with jeans."
This was done by using materials such as leather, as well as an oversized tongue. This departure from the pure basketball design wasn't just intentional; it was a "key" goal in designing the Rose 3.0.
The shoes are clearly set to today's trends, but Lee also said one of his team's biggest goals was to make sure the Rose 3.0 would not only be relevant in 2012-13, but also down the line when they could be re-released as a retro.
Aside from the outside of the shoe, the inside continues to pay homage to Rose's family and his Chicago roots.
The tongue features a family tree and the street signs of W. 73rd Street and Paulina Street. While Rose has always had tributes to his hometown on his sneakers, this reference to his life and childhood is without a doubt the most personal route he has taken thus far.
While it may be uncommon practice to see an athlete get involved in online product reviews, Rose even went onto the adidas site and posted a review, letting every fan know how he feels about the shoes:
This is the most personal shoe I have ever had. It has my new logo and everything about the shoe is Chicago. Performance and style wise it's the best. In Chicago it’s all about style. When you are on the court you need something that looks good. Playing good and looking good add up to a great combination. We are trying to get to the next level with every shoe, and this one is going to change the game.
While many people would assume this is a fake review, according to adidas, this is very real and should come as no surprise given the kind of person Derrick is. He may be a superstar athlete, but deep down you can see that he is a humble person who appreciates everything in life and all of the opportunities he has been given.
The beginning of this season will feel incomplete with Rose off the court, but hopefully he will return and continue to work as hard as he has been off the court to make a timely return and sport his newest kicks for the first time on the NBA hardwood.
In the meantime, we will be able to follow Rose and his comeback as adidas takes on Rose's journey to his return.
Pictures courtesy of adidas