Too big. Too strong. Too fast. Too good.
Indeed, there was no better way to sum up Derrick Rose then Stacey King’s famous catchphrase. He was just that good. And now, we have to add another item to that list: too injured.
There are very few athletes that you just find yourself pulling for. Derrick Rose is one of them. Born and raised in Chicago, getting to play for his hometown Bulls, desperately wanting to bring a title back to his city. The city of Chicago rallied around him, and he became our sports hero.
2010 was one of the more incredible seasons ever. Rose averaged 25 points and eight assists a game en route to becoming the league MVP. The Bulls won 62 games and were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. For the first time since Michael Jordan left, Chicagoans had a reason to believe in the Bulls. That reason was Derrick Rose.
Then, just as quickly as it started, it all came crashing down on us. Leading late against the 76ers in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, Rose drove the lane, went up for a floater in the lane that he’s made 1,000 times, and was never the same again. Once he came down, you knew it was serious. A helpless Rose lay on the court. Everyone feared the worst, and unfortunately, those fears became reality.
He took a lot of heat for it, but Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season to rehab his torn left ACL. Both fans and members of the media chastised him for not playing, but Rose was making sure that he was going to be 100% before playing another game.
And then it happened again. Just when we thought our hero was back, he went down. This time, the right meniscus gave out on him. After just 10 games, the leader of the Bulls was relegated to the sidelines, getting yet another surgery to fix his knees. The doubts started creeping into people’s minds. Can this guy stay healthy?
This past season started shaky for Rose. He was on-and-off all season before finally playing a long stretch of games starting in December. Although he wasn’t playing at the same level as he once had, he was still playing, and that’s all that mattered.
You could see him getting better. Slowly but surely, Rose was showing flashes of his old self. In the final game before the All Star break against Cleveland, Rose scored 30 points on 12/24 shooting and seven assists, easily his best game back. The Bulls had all the momentum in the world heading in to the break and seemed poised to make a deep playoff run. For the first time in four years, it was all coming together.
But all title hopes are put on pause again due to this latest injury. And once again, a city is in mourning. Chicago finally had its savior back, and now he’s gone once again. For the fourth straight season, the Bulls won’t have Derrick Rose for the playoffs.
The news is beyond devastating. Those who know me know that Rose was one of, if not, my favorite athlete in the city. The things he was able to do were simply incredible, and he electrified a fan base that wanted to see another championship brought to the city. Rose was supposed to be that man. He had everything going for him. He was “our” guy.
I had always held out hope that someday Rose would return to the same level he was at before the injuries. I knew he’d probably never win the MVP again, but to even be 80 percent of what he used to be would make him a top five point guard in the game. And now, all we’re left to wonder is “what if?”
What if Derrick Rose never tore his ACL? Would the Bulls have won a title by now? I’m a believer that if Rose doesn’t tear his ACL in 2012, the Bulls win the championship that year. How many more MVPs could have he had won? Where would Rose rank amongst the greatest point guards of all time?
He’s still only 26 years old, but his playing career may be all but over. Who would have thought that four years after winning the MVP, Derrick Rose might have to start thinking about retirement. The fact that this question is being asked is just tragic.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to check out the other blogs I’ve posted, and stay tuned as I go more in-depth on all the things going on in the sports world. This is Game of Sports.