The calculated reintroduction of Derrick Rose after a lost season continued on Tuesday, when Adidas released its latest ad starring the Bulls point guard, entitled "Basketball is everything."
In the minute-long ad, Rose contemplates a life without the riches and the notoriety that comes with being a professional athlete, as the visual switches back and forth between shots of him working out in a gym and enjoying the finer things of life at a club, a video shoot and at a jewelry store. Rose's conclusion? That he needs nothing except for the game.
"Let me tell you something," Rose narrates. "If you took away the money, if you took away the fame, the spotlight, if you took away the lifestyle and all the things that come with it, if you took away all the flash, what would you have left? Everything."
The commercial then fade to black with the "Basketball is everything" tagline.
This latest offering follows up another recent ad, in which Rose pledges his allegiance to his hometown of Chicago.
“Do I deserve my name on a shoe?” Rose asks in the ad, which was released in September and touts his new "D Rose 4" Adidas sneaker. “Did I deserve the world lifting me up when I was down? Will I be able to give my city the ultimate thank you? Can I do what it takes to be remembered? It’s time to prove to my fans that I’m still focused. It’s time to show the world that I can still do this. I’m all in for Chicago.”
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Put the two commercials together and you've got a subtle, but effective, counterprogramming package, one that pushes back nicely on the most intense criticism that he endured his year-plus rehabilitation from knee surgery. Think Rose was selfish in taking his time working back? Here he is taking nothing for granted and looking to make things right with his fans. Think money, or corporate marketers, played a role in his decision to shut it down last year? Here he is explaining that he would play the game for nothing.
The "Basketball is everything" ad works because it fits the reputation Rose has established for himself over multiple years. He's been seen as the quiet, family-oriented guy, whose nickname is "Pooh" and who refused to dance at the All-Star Game when LeBron James and Dwight Howard were breaking it down all around him. It also fits with Adidas's previous campaign, which focused on Rose's relentless rehabilitation program following his injury; the newly-healthy Rose is simply realizing what he spent the last year working to achieve.
Basketball, his everything, was taken from him, and now it's (almost) back.