By Barry Janoff
April 15, 2014: On the same day that adidas unveiled a "long-term partnership extension" Damien Lillard, the second-year All-Star point guard with the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, showed off his acting chops in a new spot for Foot Locker.
Lillard's new deal with adidas was put at eight-to-ten years and ranked as the third-highest shoe contract behind LeBron James with Nike, and adidas' alliance with Derrick Rose, both valued in excess of $10 million per year, according to industry analysts.
According to adidas, Lillard would "continue to be an integral part of adidas Basketball's marketing campaigns, product launches and global initiatives moving forward."
The spot from Foot Locker, "No Rings," breaks tonight (April 15) during NBA games on TNT and then will run throughout the post-season.
The ad shows Lillard at home on the phone talking to a friend about the upcoming playoffs. "I just picked up some fresh adidas gear from Foot Locker," he says. "Look good. Play good, right. The last thing I want to be is one of those guys who never won a ring."
We then get a nasty reaction from two guys sitting on Lillard's couch and watching hoops on his flat-screen TV: Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders and LaDanian Tomlinson, who rushed for 13,684 yards and 145 touchdowns during his NFL career. Neither man won a championship ring.
Lillard tries to cover his tracks. "Barry. L.T. I meant one of those basketball players who never won a ring."
We then get a nasty reaction shot from Chris Webber, also sitting in Lillard's living room, who was a member of the University of Michigan's Fab Five that lost twice in the NCAA Finals, then scored 17.182 points and had more than 8,100 rebounds in an NBA career that yielded no title rings.
Again, Lillard seeks to cover his tracks. "Chris, I didn't mean you. I meant one of those legends who lost in the Finals over and over."
With that, in walks Karl Malone, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, whose career included more than 36,900 points, 14,968 rebounds and 5,238 assists with the Utah Jazz, a team with which he won the Western Conference title five times, plus another Western Conference title with the Los Angeles Lakers, but fell short of winning an NBA championship.
Lead agency for Foot Locker is BBDO, NY. (See the full spot here.)
"Adidas has been great to me over my first two seasons," Lillard said in a statement "I've had the opportunity to wear a lot of great product, help design special versions of shoes, be a part of TV commercials and travel the world with the brand. I'm excited for what the future holds for me and adidas."
According to Chris Grancio, head of global basketball sports marketing for adidas, "Damian has proven to be not only an amazing basketball player, but a great partner, member of the community and someone who creates excitement for our products. His leadership and commitment to success on the court and his ability to interact and relate to fans through social media and the community make him the perfect fit to be one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand."
The Foot Locker spot features the newest performance footwear from adidas basketball, including the Lillard Edition Crazy 1, Crazy 8 and D Rose 4.5, as well as the latest apparel styles from adidas Originals.
"We enjoyed working with this amazing cast of athletes to create a spot that taps into the anticipation of this important part of the basketball season, while having some fun," Stacy Cunningham, evp-marketing for Foot Locker, said in a statement.
"Playoffs are the time to step up your game," said Lillard. "It was such an incredible opportunity to work with Barry, LT, Chris and Karl on Foot Locker and adidas' new commercial to tip-off the playoff season."
In addition to Lillard and Rose, adidas hoops spokesperons inclde Dwight Howard, Candace Parker and Tim Duncan.
In 2012-13, Lillard was named the unanimous Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. This season, he earned a spot on the Western Conference NBA All-Star teamand also became the first player to complete in all five events at All-Star weekend.