By Ryan Baker-
(CBS) Getting strong armed by a shoe company is nothing new to the Bulls.
Brand Jordan was born in 1985 out of the deft defiance of “His Airness”. Michael Jordan put himself ahead of his team by breaking the rules to wear his fancy red and black sneakers. Thus, NBA Commissioner David Stern made his first foray into being the fashion police and fined the budding superstar $5000 per game for stepping his size 13 feet outside of league decorum. Nike picked up the tab, which turned out to be the best investment the Swoosh ever made.
I think we all know who got the better end of that deal.
Almost 30 years after Air Jordan took flight, Derrick Rose is balancing his commitment to the Bulls with his growing business interests with Adidas. When you look at the dollars, it all makes sense. This season, Rose’s $95 million contract extension from the Bulls kicks in, but it’s chump change compared to the reported $260 million that he’s being paid by Adidas. Almost every arduous step of the former MVP’s “Return” from a torn ACL has been controlled and commercialized by Adidas. Rose has profited off of his pain by traipsing the globe to sell sneakers. Maybe now the Bulls can finally get a return on their investment.
I didn’t care for the orchestrated charade last spring when we were teased about whether or not No. 1 would morph into No. 23 and come back to the save the day before he was fully physically, and more importantly, emotionally ready to play. Team Rose should’ve just come clean and said he was shut down for the year, which was the safe and smart play. The soon-to-be 25-year-old has the bulk of his career ahead of him, and there are countless examples of All-Stars who rushed back from injury, only to be a step slower. Regardless of the stated confidence in his health, we won’t really know if Rose is the same player until he plants his surgically repaired left knee on the court Oct. 5 in Indianapolis — his first game action since we watched in stunned silence as he crumpled to the floor way back on April 28, 2012.
I think he’ll be better and more determined than ever. I’m excited to see him earn his stripes all over again. And so is Adidas.
Ryan Baker serves as CBS 2 Chicago′s lead sports anchor on the 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM weekday newscasts. He joined CBS 2 Chicago from WMAQ-TV in Chicago where he had worked as an anchor and reporter since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @RyanBakerSports, on Instagram @RyanBakerSports and on Facebook. You can read more of his CBS Chicago entries here.