Daily Archives: April 25, 2012

Interview: adidas Designer Robbie Fuller Breaks Down the adiZero Crazy Light 2

Yesterday in Los Angeles, adidas Basketball introduced the adiZero Crazy Light 2. Set to hit stores on May 24th, the $140 9.5 ounce shoe will be the lightest basketball shoe in the world — edging out its predecessor, the Crazy Light, by 3/10ths of an ounce. We sat down with designer Robbie Fuller to get some insight into the process, and find out what it takes to make a successful sequel.

So where did you guys start with this?

Not from scratch [laughs].

Right – because I know how long the leadouts are, you must have been working on this before the first adiZero Crazy Light came out.

Yes. For sure. There are bits and pieces of the shoe we can trace back for years. But generally when everyone was celebrating over the Crazy Light1, I was at my desk putting pen to paper for the Crazy Light 2.

Were elements from the D. Rose line — did those get incorporated into this, too?

I wouldn’t say directly, but I’m the same guy going after a similar benefit, which is light. So I think of it as a spectrum. If you pick up the Rose shoe, it’s light — sometimes freaky light — but it has the lifestyle a little more into it because the recipe for success for that , but here it’s just laser focus of the lightest basketball shoe of all time, so some of those same solutions like the SPRINTFRAME go across both, but over here we gotta turn up the knob on lightweight.

Was there a specific weight you wanted to hit with the 2, knowing where you were at with the 1?

Lighter than the 1. [Laughs] I mean literally, it was just like, all right we have the Crazy Light 1, we’ve had half a million people all around the world ballin’ in this shoe, D1, NBA, so we know it’s a great shoe, but any shoe can get refined. Any product can get refined. A house, a car, whatever. A [Porsche] 911, right? It doesn’t change over the years that much, just slight tweaks. So in the same vein, I was just looking at this shoe [the 1] like, “all right, did I take enough advantage of the SPRINTFRAME,” “did I take as much advantage of the forefoot support,” of the rubber, could I thin down the rubber? So I really just made a list — I call it a gameplan — marketing gives me a brief, but I’ve got my design gameplan and I just call out the pieces that I thought still had room to improve: who was the sixth man on the Crazy Light 1, you know? It was like, all right, SPRINTFRAME, here we go, you’re gonna step up. That’s definitely how I made it up for this particular shoe, because it’s so geared towards performance — it lives and dies on the performance of it. Trends come and go, winning is always cool. As long as we keep delivering like this, we’ll always be in the mind of anyone lacing up their sneakers.

Is that where you looked to first, the SPRINTFRAME, to lose weight?

Yeah, because it’s the material on the shoe that has the most strength for how much it weighs. So the more you can use it to stabilize the shoe, you’re taking off some of the other layers, the laminates and such that you’d like to reduce. And so, that was definitely the key thing. And the bigger thing was also just about, the first one was just focused on the ultimate court, the NBA court. This one we were like, hey, can this be outdoor? Can you get these things where you thicken up the rubber, you add more abrasion-resistant rubbers, in order to make sure it can play indoor and outdoor. So if you go around the shoe, whether it’s the high-abrasion rubber, how it’s different, we’ve got high abrasion on the toe, the stripes are reflective, little cues from outdoor, one of the materials, the embosses are ripstop from outdoor jackets. So that was another little piece of the pie. The first one was so great, but can you add a little more durability to it. Which is crazy, right? I’m the designer, I’m thinking “hold on, this brief is asking how can I add all these things to it and still make it lighter?” But luckily, with the right team, we came to the right product.

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Interview: Norah Jones Talks About Her New Album, Danger Mouse, and Murder Ballads

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

“Go out with me!” These are the kind of requests—or rather, orders—that came flying at Norah Jones as the sultry vocalist took the stage at South by Southwest to play her forthcoming album …Little Broken Hearts (out May 1) in its entirety. “I think I’m taken,” she responded, flattered.

“Is it weird hearing music you’ve never heard?” she asked while floating from the piano to the guitar. “No? Great!” Indeed, the packed-out crowd was obviously in love with Norah’s latest work, produced in collaboration with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, who’s worked on projects as diverse as the Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album and Gnarls Barkley. Working with him was a bold move for an artist who’s sold tens of millions of records and earned a slew of Grammys on her own. Though she still gets dismissed by some critics as a soft jazz act.

Broken Hearts more or less chronicles the stages of grief that occurred during Norah’s split with her boyfriend last year. It opens with “Good Morning,” in which she awakens realizing that she’ll be leaving her unfit man. She confronts him about the younger woman he’s seeing on “She’s 22,” then threatens to kill her on “Miriam.”

Her feathery vocals carry all these hefty subjects with ease, while writing partner and producer Danger Mouse provides a bounce that knock those “coffee shop singer” critiques on their ass.

The day before her SXSW show, Complex met up with Norah, 33, in a worn-down house just outside of Austin’s downtown area. She met us outside on the patio’s bench swing in a denim jacket over a long summery dress. Her publicist offered lemonade. Walking across the creaky wooden floor, Norah kicked off her shoes, curled up on the living room couch, and talked about everything: her critics, her breakups, working with Danger Mouse, and that song about killing off her man’s mistress.

Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

How do you feel when they say you’re a “coffee shop singer”?

That makes me cringe a little bit. I don’t think it’s really fair to lump somebody up like that. But also, who cares? [Laughs] Some people don’t mean things as an insult. Some people do.

I heard you say that you want to do a “real” jazz album or a “real” country album. What do you mean by that? Is your new album not “real”?

People always ask me, “What would you love to do?” I would like to do it some day. I mean to kind of go back to my roots and really do what I intended to do when I was young, even though I strayed from that path and I am really happy I did. My world has been a little bit more open. But that’s the kind of music I grew up loving and I really wanted to play it for so long. It would be fun to play it again. For my mom, for my teachers growing up, stuff like that. I think it would be sentimental and really nice.

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Real Madrid 2 Bayern Munich 1 (agg 3-3, 2-3 on pens): Shootout agony for Ronaldo and Jose as Germans set up Chelsea final date

It’s Munich in Munich for Chelsea. The hopes of a grand reunion with Jose Mourinho in Bavaria fell apart on a drama-filled night at the Bernabeu.

The German ability to convert penalties proved itself again after two full games and and 30 minutes of extra time could not separate two well-matched sides.

Real Madrid missed three of their first four penalties and Bastian Schweinsteiger drilled in the crucial third for Bayern.

Wunderbar: Bayern Munich celebrate after Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the winning penalty

Wunderbar: Bayern Munich celebrate after Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the winning penalty

Agony: Madrid players react during their penalty shootout defeat at the Bernabeu

Agony: Madrid players react during their penalty shootout defeat at the Bernabeu

Cristiano Ronaldo scored one in normal time but Manuel Neuer saved his opener in the shootout.

Mourinho kissed some religious beads before the penalty duel but then disappeared swiftly down the tunnel. He knew Real’s great chance had gone. They have followed Barcelona out of the Champions League.

An enthralling match saw Real roar into an early two-goal lead, only for Bayern to reply in a non-stop first half. The game began at a blistering pace and by the 14th minute Ronaldo had scored his 53rd and 54th goals of a stellar season for Madrid to wipe out Bayern’s one-goal lead from the first leg.

But the reds of Munich took the punches and jabbed back. They were inspired by Arjen Robben, once of Chelsea, who scored a 27th-minute penalty. Tens of thousands of white flags created a euphoric atmosphere before kick-off.

‘This is our moment,’ Ronaldo had said on Tuesday and that was the unmistakable feel in one of the great cathedrals of football. A huge banner was unveiled that declared: ‘The Years Pass, The Legend Is Eternal’. Bayern could hardly miss the message.

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Why that moment of madness will haunt Terry forever

Red mist: John Terry is sent off for reckless lunge at Alexis Sanchez

Red mist: John Terry is sent off for reckless lunge at Alexis Sanchez

In the end, John Terry only cost himself.

VIDEO: Terry apologises for this daft Barca red card

Why did they do it? John Terry and four more clips of when football greats attack…

Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea: Daily Mirror player ratings

Tweet my Goal! The best gags from Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (2-3 agg)

Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (agg 2-3): Knees-up as Torres puts Blues in final

He cost himself the honour of being part of one of the most incredible team performances in Champions League history.

He cost himself the chance of being involved in one of the most remarkable feats of defiance football has ever seen.

He cost himself a part in Chelsea’s momentous draw with Barcelona. Against all odds. Against astonishing odds.

He cost himself the privilege of being part of an occasion that somehow matched the 1999 Champions League final here for mind-blowing drama.

And, yes, he cost himself the chance for the shot at redemption he has dreamed of ever since he missed that penalty in the shoot-out in the 2008 final in Moscow.

The brutal reality comes down to this: Chelsea will play against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the final at the Allianz Arena later this month but their captain will not.

His 37th minute red card for kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the back has seen to that.

Somebody else will lead Chelsea out in Munich now. And if, somehow, with four of their first choice players suspended, Chelsea win, someone else will lift the trophy.

Not Terry, not the man who believes he is destined to lead and destined to complete Chelsea’s epic quest for club football’s holy grail.

He will be in the stand somewhere in a suit and tie, watching as another man lifts the trophy that he always believed fate would hand to him.

It is hard to fathom exactly why the Chelsea skipper did what he did last night.

The moment froze the blood just like David Beckham’s flick-kick at Diego Simeone in 1998 and Wayne Rooney’s stamp on Ricardo Carvalho in 2006.

It is hard to guess why he snapped and kneed Sanchez hard off the ball.

It is hard to imagine why it was then, not even half way through one of the most important matches of his career, that madness enveloped him.

It is so baffling, so inexplicable, because Terry has charted his way through the chaos buffeting his career this season with a strange stoicism.

Hurl controversy or derision or disgust towards him and he has sailed on unabashed and apparently untroubled.

He has been accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and he has lost the England captaincy and yet still he has refused to fold.

More pertinently, he has never bowed to provocation on the pitch. When he has been baited by opponents or ridiculed by fans, he has refused to react.

He has kept his head when others would have surrendered to angst or anger or wounded pride.

But here, suddenly and catastrophically, something finally broke inside him.

Maybe it was because Chelsea had just gone a goal down at the Nou Camp and their defence had finally been breached after 127 minutes of heroic resistance against the best footballing side in the world.

Maybe it was because in that instant, he thought he had sensed his last hope of winning the Champions League fading to dust.

Do not forget that this is a man who has never been able to watch a replay of the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.

A man who has never been able to bring himself to see the images of the penalty shoot-out at the end of extra time.

A captain who knows he could not bear to see a replay of the moment he missed the kick that would have won the Champions League for Chelsea.

His fear must be that, despite everything he has won, despite everything he has given to the club, that moment will taint his career.

So maybe when Sergio Busquets brought the scores level on aggregate for Barcelona, it was finally too much for Terry.

All the old images of Chelsea’s cursed love affair with this competition must have come flooding back.

The so-called ghost goal against Liverpool at Anfield in 2005 that effectively knocked Chelsea out.

The shoot-out in Moscow, Didier Drogba’s bulging eyes as he confronted the referee at the end of the injury-time loss to Barcelona in 2009.

Winning the Champions League, after all, is the measure of modern greatness for a footballer.

His England teammates, Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes have won it. He has not.

For a strong man, it is an area of vulnerability.

For someone who sometimes seems physically indestructible, it is an Achilles heel.

So even though there was still so much time left last night when he did what he did, maybe going behind was enough to trigger Terry’s fall.

Maybe it was enough to make him run up behind Sanchez and jab his knee hard into his lower back on the edge of the Chelsea box.

Perhaps he thought he would get away with it, that the Turkish referee would not see what he did.

But the referee’s assistant saw it and pointed it out. Terry pretended to be astonished but deep inside, he must have known he was in trouble.

His consolation is that he did not cost his teammates a place in the final although their resistance was so desperate that another three earned suspensions.

It will be scant comfort, though, for a man who just earned himself another moment that will haunt him for the rest of his days.


Gallery : Test Driving the Overachievers

2012 Jaguar XJ Supersport

Its lithe design may evince all the calm of the cool exec in the corner office, but underneath lurks muscle that could only be forged in the boxing gym. For its line-topping sedan, the XJ Supersport, that brute power comes in the form of a 5-liter, 510-hp supercharged V8 which, come workday’s end, propels it to sixty mph in a scant 4.7 seconds. With more leather, wood, and fine English speakers than a cigar bar, that figure seems an anomaly — until you find out that an aluminum frame partially offsets the added weight of those posh amenities. On our test drive, a laggy infotainment system caused a few minor headaches, but its all-day torque offered enough respite to make every ride ten times more fun than any corporate retreat.

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