How excited Skullcandy must have been.

In the battle of headphone brands, competing with the insanely popular Beats By Dre product line must have seemed like an impossible task. Marketshare was decreasing rapidly. What they needed was a miracle, the kind of great idea that can rocket their brand back into the competition. What they needed was a celebrity endorser big enough to compete with Dr. Dre but cheap enough that it didn’t totally break the bank. But who could that be? How can you get someone who’s universally respect and beloved at a reasonable price tag?

And then, it became clear. Derrick Rose, Bulls star point guard and Chicago’s most cherished native son, was on his way back from an entire year spent cheering from courtside after sustaining a devastating knee injury. The narrative was already being written by Adidas: Rose was back, and better than ever. The story was one of redemption; an opportunity to tell off the critics who felt he was sitting on the bench when he was well enough to be back on the court. “The Return” is what Adidas called it. Rose had the charisma, the talent, the credibility and, much to Skullcandy’s delight, a relatively reasonable price tag due to his year spent in street clothes. It must have sounded almost too perfect to Skullcandy’s marketing team. As preseason rumors spread this fall about Rose adding four inches to his vertical jump, fives must have been highed, glasses must have been clinked, and the familiar feeling of optimism must have crept its way back inside the Skullcandy offices.

I wonder who was watching the game, a late November Friday night as the Bulls faced the Portland Trailblazers. Who saw Rose pivot awkwardly on his knee while fighting for the ball, and limp gingerly toward the sidelines? Who had to make the mournful phone call when it was reported the star needed emergency knee surgery? Who first gasped when news broke on Twitter that, oh God, not again. Who remembers the studio, Gentleman Scholar, who wanted to use the above spot as their showpiece? Who can see a billboard on the Kennedy Expressway and thinks “Skullcandy!” instead of feeling a toxic mixture or sadness and frustration brought the reminder that another cold winter in Chicago would go bye without seeing #1 on the court?

Man, sucks to be them, huh? By the way, the song that plays in the background is “Back to Ballin’” by Wale. HA! ¬†Credits after the jump.

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