By Barry Janoff
April 26, 2013: Adidas is launching a campaign featuring a trio of young NBA stars: John Wall, who in January switched from adidas division Reebok, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday.
The campaign, "Quick Ain't Fair," supports the release of the Crazyquick basketball shoe. The effort is anchored by a TV spot that hits YouTube this week and is scheduled to break on TV May 1, to air during NBA playoff programming on ABC, TNT, NBA TV and ESPN; as well as on BET.
Support includes Internet and such social media destinations as Twitter and Facebook. Lead agency is 180LA.
Observers are hoping that the trio does not fall prey to what is becoming the equivalent of the EA Sports Madden NFL and Sports Illustrated curses, in which bad things happen to many athletes who have appeared on the cover of those two franchises.
In the case of adidas, lead NBA endorser Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls missed the entire 2012-13 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in the first round of the 2012 playoffs that required surgery, Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers had back surgery prior to the current NBA campaign and quarterback Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins is rehabilitating surgery due to a torn LCL and ACL in his right knee.
In the commercial, Wall of the Washington Wizards is seen in action in a dimly lit gym along with Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers and Lillard, who just completed his NBA rookie season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The action is narrated by rapper A$AS Rocky (Rakim Mayers), who tells a story about watching great young basketball players as his song, "Goldie," plays.
"I wore the Crazyquick throughout the season and I'm happy to have my first big thing with the adidas family," Wall said in a statement. “I'm a big fan of A$AP. He's somebody that has real good music going out. He's a different type of person, a different type of style and it's great to have him narrating this commercial. I think everyone's gonna like it a lot.”
The spot opens with A$AP Rocky rapping and shot of a huge Crazyquick shoe overshadowing a neighborhood, then moves into the gym.
"There was a family of 'Quicks' on my block, a family we all knew," says A$AP Rocky as basketball action unfolds behind him. "I'm talking about John, Damian and that boy Jrue. They had an unfair proof that lived in their shoe. Technological truth made them quicker than you. Their quick was quick. I'm talking about the quickest quick that was ever seen. From outside the gym you could hear the crowd scream. Challenges and challenges brung 'em to the floor. They cut and crossed-over until there wasn't no more . . . Competition, that is".
As Wall, Holdiay and Lillard continue their action, A$AP Rocky continues his rap. "People keep asking, 'Yo, what's up in that shoe?' First draft pick (Wall, who was selected No. 1 overall in 2010, as well as first round selections Holiday and Lillard), rookie of the year (anticipated for Lillard) and All-Star Games, too (Holiday). Lookin' back on this tale, homie, who even knew that all of that quickness could come from inside of his shoe.Those kicks make these cats rare. And when you're crazy quick, quick ain't fair."
The spot directs viewers to Twitter with #QuickAintFair. (See the full spot here.)
"[Wearing Crazyquick] really helps me because I'm a point guard and I have the faster, quicker guys guarding me," Lillard said in a statement. "So having that first step, you know, being quick and having that burst really helps me get in the paint where I can make plays. It really backs guys up off me. It gives me room for a jump shot because they know I got that quickness and I can get around them. And you know this shoe, this shoe that this commercial was about, it really helps."
The Crazyquick shoe drops May 1 in five colorways and is available for pre-order at adidas.com.