After his strong summer-league performance helped earn him a four-year contract with the Boston Celtics, rookie point guard Carsen Edwards has landed a multiyear footwear-and-apparel endorsement deal with Adidas.
The Celtics selected the former Big Ten scoring leader, who averaged 24.3 points during his final season at Purdue, with the 33rd pick after a draft-day trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Edwards smoothly transitioned into the league's summer session, where he averaged 19.4 PPG on 48% shooting from the field and nearly 47% from beyond the 3-point line.
For the Houston-area native, growing up idolizing one of the brand's Hall of Fame icons impacted his decision and helped spark his childhood love for Adidas.
"I was a big fan of Tracy McGrady's," Edwards said. "Whatever shoe he was wearing, I was trying to wear. As a young dude, he just scored all of the points for the Rockets, so that was cool. He just did it all."
Edwards remembers lacing up the Adidas TMac 5 as a youngster, just as he was "really starting to take basketball more serious." He's channeled McGrady's attacking mindset ever since.
Soon launching his 10th signature shoe with the brand, Derrick Rose also has helped inspire Edwards along the way.
"I always looked up to the way he played and how explosive he is," Edwards said of Rose. "Just the way he's been fighting to get back to where he is now, that's something that I really think is dope and have liked to watch."
During a recent brand photo shoot near The Adidas Village offices in Portland, Oregon, the company introduced Edwards to McGrady for the first time.
"Being able to meet Tracy McGrady is absolutely insane to me," he said. "Them actually wanting my opinion on new things that they're looking to drop, asking me would I wear it or what I would change, that's been really cool."
Scoring has come to define the 6-foot guard's game. Edwards averaged 34.8 points per game during March Madness, and his first 42-point game came during a blowout win over defending champion Villanova. He poured in another 42 points during his defining performance in the Elite 8, as the Boilermakers fell just short of topping eventual champion Virginia.
While players throughout the league have taken to scribbling a series of phrases along their shoes in recent years, Edwards has his own pregame writing ritual. After wrapping athletic tape three times around his left wrist, he'll write a series of quick expressions in all caps for motivation:
"HELP MAMA OUT. THANK GOD. HAVE FUN. KILL EVERYTHING"
Since wearing more subtle black or wheat-colored shoes in college to match Purdue's subdued hues, Edwards was spotted in navy-and-red Adidas sneakers during summer league. Later this fall, he plans to revert to more simple shoes matching the Celtics' more classic jerseys, even though the NBA now allows players to wear sneakers of any color.
"I'll probably be low-key with it," he said. "I can just picture my parents if I'm wearing some crazy colors -- 'You're not producing enough to be wearing crazy colors. Why don't you go do something first?' I'll keep it calm at first, and if I start doing some stuff, I might branch out."