Derrick Rose was MVP and admired by all just a couple seasons ago. He was looked upon as a try-hard, give-it-your-all, exciting, and supremely gifted player. Chicago loved him. Basketball loved him.
Tragedy struck on Saturday April 28, 2012. Derrick Rose tore his ACL. The top-seeded Bulls dreams of a NBA title died on the spot. Thoughts quickly shifted to next year. Would when Rose return, and could the Bulls win enough without him to be relevant when he came back?
Actually, the question seemed to be the second part. How would Chicago do? Could they avoid missing the playoffs? After-all Rose is the one that carried them. He was the MVP. Could the Bulls even play well enough, long enough for Rose coming back to matter?
I don’t think anyone doubted Rose coming back. Not him. Too much moxy. Too much grit. Too strong a work ethic. He’d be back, and heck, after watching Adrian Peterson destroy the NFL, I think much of the sports public assumed Rose would be back sooner than expected. He was a super athlete with a super commercial talking about his rehab. The hero would return.
Not only did Rose not come back on time, he hasn’t come back at all. Making matters worse it wasn’t because of a health setback. There wasn’t that disappointing visit to see Dr. James Andrews. Just the opposite. Doctors have cleared him. He’s practiced. He’s warmed up. He’s been praised by his teammates for his play in practice.
But no #1 on the court. Not in the regular season. Not in the 1st round. Not in the 2nd round.
Chicago not only survived, they thrived, and finished as a 5th seed. They were a team filled of players battling health issues. But they battled. They’ve been a team of warriors.
Speaking of which, the Warriors David Lee is playing through a season-ending hip injury that requires surgery! That’s toughness.
Something Rose clearly is lacking.
His teammates have defended his choices. Analysts have as well. Some have rationalized citing the Bulls chances of winning or others that have come back too soon from injuries and regretted it.
No matter your opinion, the image of Derrick Rose has changed. He can’t be viewed anymore as tough, or as having a fire in his belly for winning that is unmatched. He’s no longer the hero. This Rose has it’s thorns. We can’t compare his competitive spirit to the greats of the game today. We can’t even begin to talk about mental toughness. He’s just another player, and perhaps even a selfish player. Maybe he cares more about his image and his endorsements than he does about his teammates or winning.
The Bulls held up their end of the bargain. They battled. They survived. They even advanced. But Chicago’s hero never showed up. And now he’ll never be looked at the same again.