ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell came through with a very well-written, interesting, and expertly researched piece on the free-agent chase for current Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.
In the column, Friedell documents the lead up to Boozer's signing with Chicago, how the team tracked him down in a hotel room in Los Angeles as Boozer was about to meet with the Miami Heat, and surreptitiously handed Boozer a striking briefcase with a Bulls logo on it.
"He gave me a briefcase," Boozer said. "I pop open the briefcase, and it's an iPad with an intro to the team and the players that they had. The history, showing the championships that they had won in the past. Showing how good we can be if I came."
Boozer was impressed.
"On the briefcase, there was a big Bulls logo," Boozer said. "It was like a titanium briefcase, and you opened it up and it had the iPad sitting there, and it had a big picture of me in a Bulls uniform."
Not bad, Chicago Bulls. The team commissioned a company called The Material Group to develop applications for the device that went far beyond the typical Photoshopped shots of Boozer in a Bulls uniform. The iPad featured highlight reels of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Derrick Rose, along with interviews with Bulls executives regarding the future of the team, and sneaking the briefcase into Boozer's room right before a scheduled dinner with Pat Riley certainly made an impact on Boozer, who signed with Chicago the next week.
Each iPad app was filled with videos and history about the franchise. Prospective free agents could skim through a host of different areas and view profiles about a number of topics related to the team, the city and how they could grow their own individual brand. There were interviews with Bulls general manager Gar Forman and profiles on the players whom Boozer and the other free agents might play with.
Pretty cool, right me hearties?
Well, there's more. As in, Boozer got a bunch of other iPads, too.
"All the teams ended up doing the same thing," he told Friedell. "I got them from every free-agent team."
Still cool, right? No? Not as much? That's fair.
Couldn't Carlos have just pointed out that the Bulls gave him an iPad, while everyone else handed him an MP3 player or a PalmPilot or a MiniDisc Walkman?
- Carlos Boozer