Although the Portland Trailblazers are officially out of the NBA Playoffs after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round out of the Western Conference, rising star Dame Lillard had a year for the books. After being named Rooking of the Year last season and hitting one of the best game winning shots of the year during the first round of the playoffs, Lillard really elevated his game for the playoffs and put his team on his back. He did so while wearing shoes provided by Adidas Basketball. Back in late February, it was reported that the Portland Trailblazers guard would opt out of his sneaker contract with Adidas Basketball and look at offers by other brands. Although opting out of his Adidas contract didn’t necessarily mean that he was going to leave the brand, it just meant that it would create a bidding war for him between his current sponsor Adidas and other rival shoe companies.
Well, the good news came for all of the Adidas Basketball and Lillard fans out there about one month ago when he resigned with the brand for an undisclosed amount. This was a big day for Adidas Basketball because Lillard has become an unexpected rising star for the brand and someone who they can focus on footwear wise and for marketing as well. In a way, he has become the face of the brand with the absence of guard Derrick Rose. Since resigning with the brand, Lillard has been featured in Footlocker TV advertisements like the one below that aired during the beginning of the 2014 playoffs. Although Portland isn’t exactly a big market for professional athletes, Adidas U.S. has their headquarters in Portland which is great for Lillard and gives him a lot of freedom within the brand.
With Derrick Rose, Adidas Basketball’s key signature athlete, sidelined for the better part of the 2013-2014 NBA season, Damian Lillard had no problem filling his shoes for the brand. Lillard wore Rose’s signature shoes such as the Adidas Rose 4.0 and Rose 4.5’s throughout the season as well as other Adidas Basketball models. I think this was actually a good move for Adidas Basketball and letting a rising star such as Lillard wear Rose’s signature shoes in his Portland red and black colorways was a no brainer. With Rose out, someone had to wear his shoes during the NBA season. Now, had Lillard signed with another brand after he opted out of his contract with Adidas, I believe the brand would have been in some real trouble. Not having Derrick Rose on court during the 2012-2013 really hurt the sales of the Adidas Rose 3 and 3.5. The shoe was priced at $160 and were not selling well at all, mainly because Rose couldn’t take the court to wear the shoe. However, Adidas Basketball noticed the problem and made adjustments for the Rose 4.0 and 4.5 and brought the price down back to $140 and let Lillard rock the shoe on court in various player exclusives. Lillard became the main-man to wear the Rose signature line throughout the season and even began to receive his own player exclusives in his own colorways. Below is a picture of Lillard’s Crazy Quick 1’s that feature DAME on the heel of the shoe as well as his Adidas Rose 3.5’s featured in a all white and red combo for home games.
During this years 2014 Playoffs, Lillard debuted the Adidas Crazy Quick 2 in both home and away colorways for his Portland Trailblazers. The brand and Lillard have also worked very well together when it comes to player exclusives and debuting new shoes. Back in March of 2014, Adidas made some exclusive Adidas Crazy 1’s, a shoe formerly worn by Kobe Bryant during his Adidas days, for Lillard commemorating the Rose City nickname for Portland. The shoes were released at the well known sneaker store in Portland, IndexPDX. Fellow NBA guard and Adidas Basketball endorsee John Wall was also in attendance as he had a player exclusive for the launch in Portland as well. The Adidas Crazy Quick 2, pictured below, became Dame’s go-to shoe during the playoff push. The shoe features a PUREMOTION+ midsole and SPRINTFRAME around the collar of the shoe. The molded collar design brings GeoFit to the outside of the shoe and the TechFit sockliner has been moved closer to the foot for a more energized and closer fit. The outsole of the shoe features a large herringbone outsole that increases traction at toe off for quicker push offs and more control. You can buy the shoe at Foot Locker now for $130.00 by clicking here.
With Lillard “All In” for the long run with Adidas, all is well with the brand. They will most likely will look to revamp their already solid roster with this years highly anticipated NBA draft class. The brand signed Jeremy Lin from Nike in early 2014 which added depth to their already star-studded guard lineup with John Wall, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jeff Teague, and Harrison Barnes just to name a few. Lillard has been focused with the brand and has blossomed into a great fit for Adidas. Ever since Rose went down with the injuries, Lillard has been the focal person to promote the Rose signature line, as well as the new products coming out. Some would even go as far to say that Lillard should receive his own signature shoe from Adidas Basketball. With the recent technology advancements Adidas has had with the Energy Boost, things are on the rise for Adidas. Boost is a great footwear technology that Adidas has used well within running and something that will soon be featured on basketball shoes. The cushioning set up of Boost is unlike anything we have seen from the brand before. Boost is made from a foam that is a lot more softer than any other technologies Adidas has used in footwear such as Adiprene and Adiprene+. Just last week, images surfaced of a new model from Adidas Basketball that will feature Energy Boost. Below is the Adidas Crazy Light Boost, made specifically for Lillard. The shoe features the well-praised Boost technology in the heel of the shoe.
With plays like these coming from Lillard, it will be fun watching what Adidas will have in store for him next season.