To adidas, Derrick Rose’s brand definitely is worth that sum of money. That is a significant amount of money to invest in one person long-term, let alone someone that is 23. Was adidas crazy?

To be fair, they played a part in helping him develop and market the brand that he is today. In looking into it further, I believe this is an occasion where Derrick is the exception rather than the norm. Young in age, yes, but with a brand foundation that demonstrates a greater maturity. For Derrick’s Personal Brand Scorecard, I chose to look into key elements of his brand foundation – Authenticity, Value Alignment, and Brand Vision.


“My mom did a great job letting me know it’s just a sport,” Rose said. “If I keep working hard and treating people the right way, good things will happen to me.”

Derrick Rose was taught priorities from his mother from an early age. At 23, Derrick continues to live this way, playing for and giving back to the city he grew up in and loves. He signed a 5-year extension, puts on basketball camps for Chicago’s youth each year, and stays busy in his down time by helping out local charities such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.

Who he is, is showcased in all areas of his brand. It appears that Derrick is at least somewhat involved in content delivery, from videos, Facebook, Twitter and Q&A on his website. It is normal for athlete of his stature to have outside help running most of those areas. The reasoning for my grade here is that the professionals, or endorsed brands, that help out with execution know what Derrick stands for and execute accordingly.
Grade: A-

Value Alignment

Read enough articles about Derrick, or follow him on Twitter and common elements about him emerge almost immediately. For Derrick the values of family, humility, and commitment are at the core of who he is as a brand and the choices he has made so far, from endorsements to team location, have showcased this.
Grade: A+

Brand Vision

Signing a $260M deal with adidas, and a $95M contract with the Bulls, as well as deals with Wilson, Force Factor and Skull Candy, means he won’t ever have to worry about money. Knowing this at such a young age can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Not worrying about money also opens doors with regards to decision-making around what legacy you want.

It would be in Rose’s best interest to have an idea of what he wants to achieve. Outside of wanting to win a championship someday soon, he speaks very much in the now. I would like to see him have a vision for what he wants to achieve and stand for 10-15 years from. Having a brand vision is the first step before creating a strategy to help you reach your goals. It certainly helps that he knows what his values are and therefore I think only a matter of time before those working with him help him to define a long-term vision for himself outside of achievements on the court.
Grade: C-

Overall there is a laundry list of things that make you want to root for the Derrick Rose brand. In fact outside of lack of vision, I can’t find much to criticize him on. $260M is a lot to put behind an athlete these days, but in this case, an investment in him seems worth the risk.

So, what do you think? Is Derrick Rose’s brand worth $260M plus?


Katie Marston is a partner in VMGelement , a personal brand development company focusing on professional athletes. Follow her on Twitter at @ktmarston