“He’s kind of gone from being this lovable, endearing guy wearing Superman capes and winning dunk competitions to being a guy who sort of messes up teams, is just not really a winner and doesn’t try hard enough,” Dorfman said of Howard’s image. “So he’s not the answer. The other thing is he’s a big guy, and big guys don’t really sell shoes like the guards.”
Rose is just the latest high-profile Adidas player to suffer serious leg or foot injuries, including NFL stars Robert Griffin III and Frank Gore along with the NBA’s Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas.
“It’s certainly possible, but I don’t think it’s an Adidas thing,” said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a former Philadelphia 76ers physician and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “I think it’s just the fact that the shoes are so good that you can stop on the dime and that allows you to maybe twist that knee a little quicker or land and have it shift a little quicker. I don’t think we’re at a point where we can definitively implicate.”
With Rose out again, where does Adidas turn at least for now?
A committee approach that also includes players such as John Wall, Ricky Rubio and Damian Lillard might be an option. Another possibility is going after Kevin Durant, whose Nike contract is coming up, or a college star such as Andrew Wiggins at Kansas. Dorfman also suggested focusing more on sponsoring leagues or teams instead of individuals.
How Adidas handles Rose is another issue.
“I’m not sure what you do with him,” Dorfman said. “You do your best to try to keep him in the public eye.”
He said that could mean Rose serving as a commentator during Bulls games, appearing at awards shows or even maybe some sort of reality show. No matter what Rose does, Dorfman said, the message needs to be tweaked.