Derrick Rose Adidas Ad Gets FreeDarko Treatment

Underground hoops book goes mainstream with adidas ads

The FreeDarko book -- the Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac -- was good in just about every way, but its greatest feature was its style guides, each describing a featured player's style in a series of metaphorical steps. Besides being visually beautiful, these guides managed to create spot-on replicas of what it's like to watch, say, Carmelo Anthony, by charting every muscle twitch from that first dribble to a final thunderous dunk.

While the book itself was a success, those designs are probably only known to readers of the NBA blogosphere, or the hardcore, intelligent fans of FreeDarko's previous blog work. They are still, for lack of a better word, underground.

No more: adidas has picked up the style guides, added animation, and collaborated with FreeDarko on a new series of "Basketball Is A Brotherhood" commercials. Among the first players featured? Chicago's own Derrick Rose.

The ad describes Rose's style as a combination of the jigsaw (for figuring opponents out), the peregrine falcon (for his ability to shoot through the line), the yo-yo (because he keeps the ball on a string) and the dart (for his pinpoint accuracy). Unlike the original FreeDarko designs, there's also some mention of the various adidas sporting goods that help Rose's game, but, you know, of course there are. The whole point is to sell stuff.

It's a tremendous ad campaign, and it couldn't utilize the genius of the FreeDarko fold -- or the easily-diagrammed abilities of Chicago's 2008-09 Rooke of the Year -- any better.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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