Adidas is strange. Let me back up for a moment. During this week's SEC media days, Dan Mullen wore Yeezy 350 Boost Lows, a shoe designed by Kanye West and manufactured by Adidas. To back up again, after a successful collaboration with Nike that resulted in such shoes such as the Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October, West and Nike parted ways. Kanye has since begun to work with Adidas, who allow him more control over the shoes he designs (The highlight of the Nike/ West relationship was when Nate Robinson wore the fashion sneaker in a competitive NBA game. He changed shoes in the second quarter). The Boost Lows have met more positivity than their boot-like Yeezy 750 Boost predescessors.
Given Kanye Wests's profile in both music and sneakers, the whole Dan Mullen endorsement confuses me. I think Mullen's attempt to be hip is patently lame (I don't feel the same about Bret Bielema's Air Force 1 response, since Bielema will take any opportunity to professionally troll). Maybe such perceived lameness is unfair. Mullen is forty-three, which is not the oldest age that a person can be. Maybe he is an afficianado of both popular music and sneaker culture. But still, it's strange.
Let us ponder, for instance, that Mullen is a huge Kanye fan and a huge fan of new sneakers. He wears his sneakers to SEC Media Days to show some personality. I don't think there's anything wrong with that in theory - BUT
- The tweets have him playing up the Adidas connection more than the Kanye/ sneaker portions
- I am not sure if this provides any recruiting benefit. It doesn't seem like Adidas schools can outfit their student athletes with Yeezys at will. A coach's sneakers would not really move the needle for recruits.
- His wardrobe choices don't seem to accentuate the sneaker he wears. The sneakers seem like an afterthought rather than something to be showcased.
- He's also wearing sneakers and a suit! This will always feel weird to me in a non-music video context.
I have no authority to tell anyone how to dress as I own enough dumb t-shirts to open a Spencer's Gifts in the nearest mall. I would love to wear those shoes to work, but my manager at Staples has some really strict rules on what people manning the sandwich board are allowed to wear. However, I feel compelled to tell Mullen that he should dress for the job he wants, not for the job as Adidas spokesperson for a shoe that has the least to do with SEC football.
Which brings me back to the real offensive perpatrator in this - Adidas. In the past, I have liked a great deal what the company has done. This was pre-strange track patterns on Notre Dame and UCLA's respective blues. This Adidas commercial with Notre Dame, Katy Perry, B.o.B., Derrick Rose, and Lionel Messi blew me away. I was all in! This was four years ago. Now? Adidas seems not to care.
For all the opinions of Under Armour at the beginning of their relationship with Notre Dame, they have carved themselves out as an outfitter on the rise. Some of that is luck (big ups to the concurrent rises of MVP Steph Curry and all-world golfer Jordan Spieth) but a lot of that is not trying too hard. There's restraint in what they have presented. Adidas doesn't have that same restraint. Instead, it's just about forcing weirdness on teams and athletes with no regard for function or narrative. UCLA has one of the most gorgeous blues in the college game, so Adidas threw a pattern all over it.
Tennessee's new Nike uniforms have received almost universal praise, and Michigan fans are psyched that UM is back with Nike. The strongest part of Adidas's brand is consumers' faith that they are only three or less years away from their favorite team not brandishing the three stripes.
Ellen Emmerentze of the Wall Street Journal was covering an Adidas event in April. There, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said this
CEO Hainer: the NBA has not helped us sell footwear and it has not helped us connect with the kids #adidas— ellen emmerentze (@ellenemmerentze) March 26, 2015
The NBA is going to start a $24 billion dollar television deal in 2016. It seems like the visibility in a league that merits that sort of media deal would help you sell some shoes. Not for Adidas, though. Maybe they can't connect with the youth, but hey, they have some rec league shorts they can sell you. Maybe elite college basketball players would consider staying in school if they didn't have to don those abominations.
Dan Mullen put on some sneakers. It was fun for a bit, but no one really thought much of it. People think about Kanye. People think about college football. People try not to think about Adidas.
More importantly, this marks another step in the march to college football. In May, I would not have devoted so much time to Dan Mullen's shoes. But in July? At SEC Media Days? I am practically making charts with string and chalkboards in a dingy Staples basement. Hurry, hurry, college football. Don't be late!
Huge scoop from Black Heart Gold Pants as they received the second survey being sent out to Iowa season ticket purchasers.
After a string of unsettling incidents involving FSU players, Jimbo Fisher is banning them from bars. This is not really a laughing matter, but it could be if Jon Taffer walked into FSU practice and just kept yelling for everyone to shut it down.
Kyle Field might get a lake. Water features are the new trend in college football stadium renovations.
Steve Spurrier shines at media days. Here is some of that shimmer.
Bret "Bert" Bielema also shines in describing how it felt to beat Texas. Also, if you want to be a Razorback, clean up your Twitter account! Delete all those forced puns. I think that is what Bielema means about recruit.
Michigan's new Nike deal might pay more than the Notre Dame/ Under Armour deal. Who is keeping score though? A thing that does keep score is a scoreboard and checking a scoreboard I keep in a pocket watch. . . it looks like Michigan still has not scored on Notre Dame.
ICYMI ON OFD
Commit alert! Commit alert!
Joe checks in on the Irish players competing in NBA summer league. To take you behind the curtain, my initial comment here was how the Knicks were undefeated since drafting Jerian Grant. I deleted that comment as I did not want to jinx the Knicks. Turns out, even typing that comment jinxed the Knicks as they lost to the summer Golden State Warriors on Thursday evening. I take the blame for that one.
The kind folks of the South Bend Tribune sent us their season preview magazine. Here's a preview of their cover story on Malik Zaire.
Who is the top Notre Dame running back since 1997? Maybe it is you*.
*this only applies if you are one of the running backs in this article. If you were not a Notre Dame running back, your chances of inclusion are very slim.
Can Notre Dame make it to the CFB playoff? There's a way! And it is a reasoned and logical way, as opposed to my suggestion that the Notre Dame offense score 120 points a game.
I'm not a gambling man like in the song "Gamblin' Man" but maybe you are. Check out some early over/unders for 2015 win totals.
IRISH LINKS OF NOTE
Jarrett Grace is one of the more intriguing players on the 2015 Fighting Irish squad. Keith Arnold takes a look at Grace's role on the team.
Matt Fortuna checks in on our close friend the ACC who seem to be building some good schedules.
Fox Sports runs through the most expensive games of the upcoming season. I'd say it is time to crack open the piggy banks, but the rate of inflation has rendered your childhood change useless.
Irish Illustrated podcasts the Opening. This link is brought to you by SquareSpace and Lootcrate and Nature Box.