Former Weber State men's basketball guard Damian Lilllard may not be a superstar yet. But if he keeps scoring $100 million shoe deals -- like the one he just signed with adidas -- he may be well on his way to becoming the most famous Utah athlete of all time.
A commercial from adidas that stars Utah Jazz great Karl Malone was released on Tuesday, April 14 -- and features fellow ring-less wonders Chris Webber, Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson and others -- called “No Rings.”
In a word, the commercial -- which pokes fun at ring-less athletes -- is hilarious. From the opening seconds of the spot, Lillard doesn't waste time sticking his own foot in his mouth, telling someone over the phone “I don’t want to be one of those guys that never won a ring.”
Lillard’s main problem is he happens to be sitting in a room with Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson -- both of whom he just insulted. Lillard then backtracks, telling the two football Hall of Famers he meant to say "basketball guys.”
Chris Webber happens to be seated next to Lillard and shoots him a glare. To which Lillard replies, “I didn’t mean you; I meant one of those legends who lost in the finals, over and over.” Karl Malone emerges holding a tray of burgers.
Lillard earlier this week signed the most lucrative shoe deal for any professional athlete since Derrick Rose signed a $185 million deal with the shoe giant in 2012. Since his days in Ogden, Lillard has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the NBA.
It all began with Lillard delivering a jaw-dropping performance at a Pre-Draft Rookie Camp in Chicago that saw his draft stock rise and Portland select him with the sixth overall pick. It continued when he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, scoring 19 points per game in 2012-13.
And with this latest deal Lillard signed with adidas -- and the ensuing commercial that followed -- it doesn’t appear that he’s going anywhere bad. It’s a 10-year deal with incentives and from the looks of the commercial -- which has already surpassed over 1 million views in its first day, there will be plenty of Damian Lillard adidas commercials to come.
"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."
Lillard was also named an NBA All-Star for the first time this season, and averages 20.8 points per game for the Trail Blazers -- who will be the No. 5 seed in the West going into the NBA playoffs. The playoffs begin later this week.