Adidas must have thought it struck gold when it convinced Derrick Rose to sign on the dotted line and endorse the apparel giant's products in 2012.
The Chicago Bulls star was fresh from being crowned the youngest ever NBA MVP at 22 in 2010-11 and the 2008 No. 1 draft pick was on track to become the poster boy of the league.
The only way was up for Rose, and Adidas wanted to cash in.
So the iconic sports brand negotiated a 14-year endorsement deal with Rose's management which Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann reports was worth a minimum of NZ$264 million.
Since Rose put pen to paper six years ago there's only been one winner in a partnership that hasn't gone to script — and it's definitely not Adidas.
Rose's path to stardom quickly took some wrong turns. A couple of months after signing with Adidas he tore his left ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs, signalling the start of a lengthy run of injuries.
He missed the entire 2012/13 season because of the issue and a meniscus tear in his right knee soon followed that kept his appearances in 2013/14 to just 10. The same injury returned to interrupt his next season in which the Bulls lost to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Adidas was hardly getting bang for its buck.
Injuries meant Rose was failing to live up to the hype that accompanied his arrival into the NBA and the 2009 Rookie of the Year's steady decline has continued to the present day.
The last of his three selections as an All-Star came in 2012 and the Cavaliers point guard — who arrived in Ohio after one season in New York with the Knicks — is on a paltry salary compared to what he once commanded.
Rose's one-year deal with the Cavs is worth $2.7 million, which is the veterans minimum salary, a far cry from his Bulls days when he was at one stage raking in upwards of $25 million a season.
Late last year an ankle injury reportedly led him to question whether he still wanted to put his body through the rigours of being a professional basketball player.
But while the man once touted as the NBA's brightest prospect has suffered more downs than ups, Rose's lucrative pay cheques from Adidas have continued to roll in.
As explained by Jon Wertheim in a piece for Sports Illustrated, the deal signed by Rose's team is still paying off to the point where family and friends are getting a slice of the pie that is as fat as ever despite his career slide.
Sports Illustrated obtained Rose's 40-page Adidas contract and outlined how he's still making a motza (all figures are in US dollars).
"The deal called for annual retainers of $12 million per season from 2012-13 until 2016-17 (this season, he is entitled to $11 million)," Wertheim wrote. "It also included annual royalties of up to $6.25 million per year, as much as $4.8 million in annual appearance fees and use of a private plane.
"Reggie Rose, Derrick's older brother, is paid between $250,000 and $300,000 annually as a consultant. Randall Hampton, Rose's best friend since sixth grade and his assistant, is paid between $50,000 and $75,000 annually for 'consulting' services.
"Adidas also pledged to contribute $150,000 annually to the AAU team of Rose's choice."
So despite the 29-year-old being a shell of the player he once was — and as such, lacking the star attraction he once had on tap — Adidas continues to fork out million of dollars a year to Rose.
As Wertheim points out, many contracts have clauses that can justify players' pay being docked if they miss out on All-Star selection or miss too many games. But per Sports Illustrated, Rose's team negotiated to have these deductions made redundant if he continued to make promotional appearances, which he has stuck to.
Surprisingly, Adidas didn't abandon its man when a former girlfriend accused Rose of rape in 2015 (although he was never criminally charged), passing on the chance to implement the "morals clause" that could give the company reason to terminate him because the allegations could tarnish Adidas' reputation.
"I've never seen anything like this," a longtime sports agent who has worked with Adidas told Sports Illustrated. "The shoe companies are rigorous enforcers (of contracts). There's a saying: There's always another player and never enough money."
The US sports media has reacted with dismay to the contract details broken by Wertheim. For The Win called Rose's contract details "mind-boggling" and maintained "the trajectory of his career has been a nightmare for Adidas", Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports said it was "all very bizarre and confusing, especially considering there is no shortage of stars in today's NBA that would seemingly be better suited for the investment that Adidas is committing to Rose" and SB Nation's Michael D. Sykes wrote: "Rose has been hurt and Adidas is paying for it."
Market analyst Matt Powell of American research company NPD Group told SB Nation the reward from making long-term investments in athletes rarely justifies the risk.
"They're paying far too much to get a return on those investments," Powell said.
Rose has played just 15 games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 10.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per outing. Though tough to judge from such a small sample size, those are easily the worst numbers he's dished up in his nine-year NBA career.
Declining output or not, Adidas' $264 million investment is still paying off — at least for Rose, if not the company, who will likely be regretting the decision made on that February day six years ago.
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