A fan rant in defense of Derrick Rose

droseBY SCOTT PHILLIPS

Every morning I check Facebook and Twitter and read the select group of Chicago Bulls fans that continually throw Derrick Rose under the bus. They question his toughness and his heart and it’s equally laughable and sickening. For anyone in Chicago to question Derrick Rose is completely ridiculous and they’re making an emotional overreaction.

Derrick grew up in Englewood – one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America. Rose opened the 2010-11 campaign on a very bum ankle after missing the preseason and also rushed back from a litany of injuries during a lockout-shortened season last year only to see his season (and in the minds of some, potentially his career) end on a freak play in which no contact occurred.

Did people forget about these things?

Do people see that nobody that is around Derrick Rose on a regular basis, be it teammates, coaches, Bulls employees, beat reporters, or anyone else has had anything negative to say about this process and his recovery?

No, because they all see how hard he is working every single day since his surgery to come back and play basketball and help the Bulls win. It’s why Joakim Noah — after winning the biggest game of the entire frickin’ season — felt it was necessary to go on an impassioned rant sticking up for someone who hasn’t played a single minute all season. Derrick Rose is not out club hopping every night or dicking around or slacking off, he’s been at the Berto Center and with the team for months working to come back. Despite what people say about him as they call him names and question his heart, he continues to sit on the bench and be a great teammate every single playoff game even though some NBA superstars in similar circumstances keep their distance from the team.

Forget about Reggie Rose, BJ Armstrong, adidas and every other stupid conspiracy theory; this is a Derrick Rose decision.

I realize he’s been 100% medically cleared to play, and doctors are trusted; I can understand the frustration and the disappointment from fans. And — personally speaking — I would have liked Derrick to come back and test his body this season so that he doesn’t have an entire second summer of uncertainty about playing at the NBA level lingering in the back of his mind.

But if Derrick Rose doesn’t feel mentally ready to play then he shouldn’t play. Derrick has spent more time playing basketball and honing his craft than any of us have spent time doing anything so if he feels something is wrong then something is definitely wrong.

Derrick Rose does things physically that other point guards have almost never been able to do. He’s in the .000001% athletically. Derrick played with fearlessness around the rim, hurtling through the air and taking contact at full speed from 7-footers and that is rarely seen in players that are much bigger and stronger than him, let alone other point guards.

“Yeah, but Derrick Rose is dunking in warm-ups. He should play!”

Yeah, and so did kids in my gym class at my nearly all-white high school, but it differs greatly when the Miami Heat are throwing themselves in front of you and knocking your ass to the ground over and over again as you’re fighting a grueling 48-minute playoff war.

Friends used to say that they wished Derrick would show more caution and not play with such reckless abandon. So now he’s showing caution and some of those same fans crap on him and question his toughness after all that he’s been through?

Huh?

Derrick Rose is not “Hockey Player A,” “Basketball Player B,” or Adrian Peterson; every injury, every body and every recovery is different. ACL tears — although they’ve advanced medically — are still a potentially career-threatening injury in any sport and it doesn’t take a doctor to see how serious Derrick’s injury was.

ACL tears generally take 8-12 months of recovery time. Derrick Rose had surgery on May 12, 2012. Last time I checked today is May 7, 2013. That’s within 12 months. It’s not 2014; stop freaking out.

Maybe Derrick isn’t even worried about re-injuring the ACL, but another part of his body. If he’s mentally not ready, it means that he’s playing or landing differently and could potentially risk injuring another part of his body.

Remember how a sprained big toe turned into back spasms turned into a groin strain turned into an ankle sprain turned into an ACL tear in 2011-12? I’d be stupid to think that ALL of those injuries were directly related to one another but because Derrick rushed back from those injuries and played differently then he would if healthy he probably led himself into further injury with different parts of his body because he was overcompensating for a previous injury. It happens to athletes all the time.

So maybe Derrick doesn’t want to hurt another part of his body or overcompensate and land on the other knee and hurt it because he’s scared to land and re-tweak the previous knee injury. Wouldn’t you be skittish after your first major injury after being nearly immortal for your entire basketball-playing life?

Doesn’t Derrick Rose deserve the benefit of the doubt after all he’s given Bulls fans and all he’s been through to become the youngest MVP ever and a bona fide NBA superstar?

The expectations put on Derrick by himself, his family, his neighborhood, his city, and the unprecedented $250 million contract adidas threw at him only makes the pressure of returning to his elite form that much more difficult.

For Bulls fans to hate on their own superstar — let alone a homegrown product that shows humility, works hard and has spent time giving back to his gang-riddled community — is absolutely appalling.

And you wonder why Chicago high school superstars often want to leave the state of Illinois and play college ball elsewhere and why elite NBA free agents never want to sign with the Bulls? There are many other reasons for those issues, of course, but Bulls fans hated on Joakim Noah his first season and Carlos Boozer and Hinrich and Hamilton and so on and so forth and those kinds of actions are seen by other ballplayers around the league and the young players of Chicago.

Derrick Rose came to the Bulls on a 1.7% chance in the NBA Draft lottery and the Bulls are lucky to have him in every way possible. Stop being so spoiled by the Jordan era or the previous few years and appreciate what you have in front of you, Bulls fans.

Chicago needs to stop eating its young and hating on its own. This is getting out of control.

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10 thoughts on “A fan rant in defense of Derrick Rose

  1. Dan Csiszer says:

    Good article Scott. I admit, I’m one of the fans who has really pushed for the return of Rose this year, but it is pretty crazy how far some people have taken it. I want him out there badly, and in my personal opinion I feel it’s extremely disappointing that he’s taken this much time off, whatever the reason may be. This whole issue could have been avoided if the Bulls organization would have privately given him an ultimatum, say “you come back at this date or we’re shutting you down for the year”, and then publicly state that it’s their decision to shut down Rose, instead of giving him a bad image like it currently has.

    The Bulls organization and his teammates have been extremely supportive of him, which is really all that matters when it comes to the future of the Bulls, because the fans will come around, but you can’t blame people for expecting Rose to come back after watching how hard the Bulls have played all season, injuries and all (even if they aren’t as serious as an ACL tear). The whole team is in a “win now” mentality, and for whatever reason you want to choose, Rose isn’t, and that’s disturbing. It would be different if the Bulls’ season was done by January and there was no reason to come back, but that’s not the case. They’re in the second round of the playoffs and putting together an unbelievable playoff run, and with multiple players being injured every game, it would be nice for Rose to step up for his team.

    Now, I think that time has come and gone, because with or without Rose I don’t think the Bulls stand a chance to beat the Heat in a 7 game series. But a Game 7 against the Nets, where you KNOW that the Bulls with Rose, even for 15-20 minutes, would without a doubt take that game, and he still doesn’t play!? I don’t how a person with a single competitive bone in their body in Rose’s position could sit that game out.

    And with Rose sitting out longer, is he guaranteed 10 more years of basketball? Tomorrow is promised to NO ONE. What if he sits out until the start of next season, and he hasn’t improved mentally, and realizes the only solution to his issue was getting out on the court and playing? I won’t be surprised if 10-20 years from now Rose states that sitting out these playoffs was the biggest regret of his career, knowing that he could have gone and helped his team but decided not to because he didn’t feel right.

    And Chicago fans can be a bit crazy and judgmental, but if you give your heart and soul to this city and it’s teams, you will be revered forever. And yes Rose has played through a ton of injuries and shown all the heart in the world, and I think that’s why this disappoints everyone even more, because he set the bar so high for himself in every aspect of the game that people expect so much out of him, whether it’s fair or not.

    And I’m not sure exactly how it is on the college level, but I’ve never heard of players not coming to the Bulls because the fans can be too mean. The Bulls organization has had issues signing elite level players in the past because of the front office’s reputation to have bad relationships with said players, not because of the fans. I’m not sure where you pulled that from but that seems completely erroneous.

    DRose will come back eventually and this will all be in the past hopefully. We’ll have to wait for the “Return” a bit longer, which I can only imagine will increase the hype and expectations for him, adding pressure that he already doesn’t need.

    • Steve says:

      I had a response that was 2+ pages in Word analyzing each argument (seriously). I realized I did it more for me than for you. If you want it, I saved it (admittedly, this is sad). So that it isn’t all for naught, here is a summarized version of the main points (even sadder that I did this). Note: nothing’s an attack; I’m just analyzing your arguments from a neutral, procrastinating-studying-for-a-final perspective.

      You say Rose should step up for his team because multiple players are suffering injuries and returning, but in the same paragraph concede that the other injuries may not be as serious as his; right or wrong, this is not the clearest argument.

      I am not sure why it seems impossible to you that a person who’s at all competitive could sit out of a Game 7. Either: 1) it’s impossible to be even slightly competitive and also sit out of a Game 7; or 2) it’s impossible to be completely uncompetitive and also become a #1 overall draft pick. I’d pick the latter. That you think it’d be impossible that a person like him would sit out, and that he did, should indicate something’s wrong.

      Yes, down the road Rose may say that sitting out now is his biggest regret. However, regret just means the other choice may have been better; he can still be wrong. Also, if he does not feel any better mentally next season and realizes he has to play through it, at least he would know it was the only way. In other words, he would be certain about needing to play with uncertainty, not uncertain about playing with uncertainty. I feel much more confident accepting uncertainty when I know the it is unavoidable.

      Basically, you said, “If you do X, you will be revered forever; Rose has done X; Rose is not doing X anymore; everyone is disappointed.” The raising the bar and people’s expectations stuff is a totally valid point, but not as reasoning for the contradiction. Contradictions cannot be valid. I think you meant: “Because Rose set the bar so high for himself in every aspect of the game, people expect it from him, whether it’s fair or not, and so the fans are disappointed, despite that in the past he has played through several injuries and shown all the heart in the world.” In other words, whether or not it’s fair, the fans are disappointed because they think the disappointment is justified, even though loyalty would be appropriate. If none of this accurate, then either “right or wrong, it is not the clearest argument,” or “contradictions cannot be valid.”

      Your final paragraph should be bolded so it can stand out in all of its glory. Here, IMO, you have identified the true reason for all of this: the “Return.” I remember thinking Rose was hurt a second time because so much time had passed since the commercials, but then I found out he had never actually come back. So fault falls to either the Bulls or Corporate America.

      Feel free to analyze my analysis. Thanks for your time.

      • Dan Csiszer says:

        Hey Steve,

        This is a really well thought-out response, so I would actually feel bad if I didn’t respond after the effort you put into this.

        In terms of the injury issue, regardless of injury, if you’re physically healthy and can help your team, you should play. Period. I honestly cannot think of any athlete in the history of sports delaying their return to action this long because they’re not mentally ready. And I’m not saying that mental aspects of the game aren’t extremely important, because they are, but that’s all it is, is mental; it’s in his head. The only way to get over that is to get on the court and just play.

        I’m not sure if I’m understanding your point on me questioning Rose’s competitiveness, but just for the record I do believe Rose is competitive, which is why I was so surprised that he wouldn’t have tried to suit up for the game. As for “it’s impossible to be completely uncompetitive and also become a #1 overall draft pick,” being a #1 pick doesn’t automatically mean that athlete is competitive. Most are, and some rely on God-given talent. Just ask Kwame Brown.

        I think Charles Barkley sums it up best with what he said today (or maybe yesterday): unless the info is inaccurate, Rose has been practicing for over two months in 5-on-5 drills with no limitations. It may not be actual game speed, but practice will never be, so continuing to practice and expecting to be ready without ever playing in an actual game is silly.

        At this point I don’t think he should come back because with or without him I don’t think the Bulls can beat the Heat in this series, but I wish somebody would come out and say he’s shut down for the year so we know one way or the other.

        Good luck with your finals.

  2. C says:

    One of the reasons why I can’t stand most fans. Most of them can’t walk straight and chew bubble gum at the same time but find it necessary to comment on other people athletic abilities or emotional toughness. STFU and watch the game. Your not owed anything. You don’t like what you see don’t purchase a ticket, don’t watch the games. STFU have a coke and smile..

  3. Dan,

    Thanks for the comment and reading the article. Addressing a few points:

    “The whole team is in a “win now” mentality, and for whatever reason you want to choose, Rose isn’t, and that’s disturbing.”

    How exactly can you prove that Rose isn’t in “win now” mode? If he’s not mentally prepared to play, then he’s not mentally prepared to play and something is wrong with him, that’s my overriding point. These fans that are making assumptions like this have absolutely zero basis because Rose has won and competed at every level he’s ever played at and played his heart out. He’s on the bench giving advice and yelling help to his teammates when he can. Does that seem like a guy that doesn’t want to win? He could just as easily sit in his loft in Trump Tower and not give a crap if he didn’t care about the team like some superstars would choose to do. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for the reasons I listed in the article. And I think Joakim Noah’s statements will back my points.

    “But a Game 7 against the Nets, where you KNOW that the Bulls with Rose, even for 15-20 minutes, would without a doubt take that game, and he still doesn’t play!? I don’t how a person with a single competitive bone in their body in Rose’s position could sit that game out.”

    This is one of the most ridiculous points people continue to make and I should have addressed it in the column. Do you know how rusty Derrick Rose is going to be upon returning from a yearlong layoff and you want to throw him to the wolves of playoff basketball? Given the way the Bulls move and cut on offense and the intensity and physicality of NBA Playoff basketball the results could be potentially disastrous since Rose is a point guard and would have the ball in his hands. I can see that argument for a big man because at the very least they can defend the paint, contribute fouls and grab rebounds and not harm an offense or turn the ball over, but a point guard dictates the entire flow of the offense and is the primary defender in pick-and-roll scenarios. How can you have a flow in an offense with a new point guard that you’re installing in game 7 of a playoff series? Rose has never played one minute of game action with Marco, Nate Rob, Nazr or Marquis Teague. Not that he would play much with Nate Rob and Teague, but you get my point. (And, yes, I purposely left Vlad Rad off that list.)

    “And I’m not sure exactly how it is on the college level, but I’ve never heard of players not coming to the Bulls because the fans can be too mean. The Bulls organization has had issues signing elite level players in the past because of the front office’s reputation to have bad relationships with said players, not because of the fans. I’m not sure where you pulled that from but that seems completely erroneous.”

    I never said this was THE reason why free agents wouldn’t sign but it definitely plays a factor — and I even say in the next line of the column, “There are many other reasons for those issues, of course,” and I get that. But agents that represent current Chicago Bulls also represent clients league-wide and basketball people are absolutely eyeing this situation with a keen interest. Adidas has even told employees not to say a word on Derrick Rose because the situation is so delicate. This type of behavior doesn’t reflect well on Bulls fans and although they can love you just as easily and make you the hero, there are plenty of egomaniacal, thin-skinned NBA players that have seen the way Bulls fans have treated some of their own stars and will also hear that in negative recruiting from other teams and take that into account for their future if the Bulls are lucky enough to be considered.

    That point wasn’t meant to be a be-all/end-all, “Oh, Player X isn’t signing in Chicago because the fans are mean,” comment because when every team is offering the same amount of max contract money, other factors come into play and this is one of them that will be discussed with certain players.

    • Dan Csiszer says:

      Hey Scott,

      Thanks for the responses. I don’t believe Rose is in a “win now” mode simply because if he was, he would be on the court. He has even stated himself that he “doesn’t mind missing the whole season if it means getting healthier.” I’m sorry, but you don’t just potentially rule yourself out for the season if you’re trying to win, especially when your team is the 3rd or 4th best team in the conference at the time of that statement. Up until this injury, Rose had pushed himself extremely hard to always be on the court and compete, even when he’s not 100%, and he wants to be cautious with this injury and not make any mistakes; I understand that. However, the Bulls are trying to win a championship, and as much of long shot as that is, there should be some sense of urgency on his end to want to compete and win. And that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

      I agree that inserting Rose in the playoffs for his first minutes of the season isn’t ideal, but there’s no way you can convince me that Rose knocking rust off his game is going to be worse than Bellinelli or Teague running point. Rose is too elite of a player. And as you know, Thibs’ players play with intensity and physicality to the max regardless of playoffs or not, so Rose is going to be “thrown to the wolves” either way, whether it’s now or next season.

      And if it’s such a “ridiculous” and “potentially disastrous” concept to have Rose return in the playoffs, then why haven’t the Bulls NOR Rose ruled out him returning in the playoffs? You would think such a terrible idea would have been shut down at the end of the regular season, but it seems as the playoffs roll on, the chances of Rose coming back become better. It doesn’t seem like either party shares your sentiment.

  4. […] A fan rant in defense of Derrick Rose (poorscholars.com) […]

    • Dan Csiszer says:

      “But again the truth is that only Rose will know when he is physically and mentally able to return”

      False. Only God knows when Rose will be physically and mentally able to return, according to Rose himself.

      “Do you personally know how his knee feels and what his comfort level is with making the basketball moves he is accustomed too?”

      No, I do not. In fact, I don’t think anyone on this planet knows how his knee feels, including Rose. And that’s because he keeps everyone-even the Bulls-in the dark about what’s going on with his knee, choosing to have everyone wonder when he is going to return. Somebody needs to step in, whether it’s the Bulls, Derrick, or Reggie, and end this God-forsaken PR disaster.

      “In the meantime, stop judging people you do not know and imagine how bad he feels watching his teammates lay it on the line day in and day out while others just judge and question his toughness.”

      For someone who is very involved in sports, you’d think that he would realize that judging is very much a part of sports. If we can’t judge athletes in sports, what the hell can we do? People are going to judge a superstar athlete, and Rose should know this. If he didn’t want to be judged, he probably should have picked a different profession.

  5. Dan,

    I have no clue why there hasn’t been an official shutdown of Rose by either his camp or the team, but it’s absolutely hurt the perception of him in the general public. If anything, not shutting him down discredits your point about him not wanting to “win now” because maybe he refuses to shut it down because he wants to come back so badly.

    My take is that if he isn’t healthy, he isn’t healthy be it mental or physical and he shouldn’t play if he isn’t healthy for the reasons I listed in the article.

    I understand your sentiments and frustrations, but there’s really no way to prove either us of correct with some of these arguments without going into Derrick Rose’s brain and seeing things for ourselves.

    As for playoff basketball, I’m more worried about Rose taking cheap shots and hard fouls from goons like Reggie Evans than anything. In the regular season, those shots obviously happen, but in playoff basketball they become borderline necessary to enforce some muscle and physicality.

    And going against Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague in practice is 5 steps below facing Deron Williams in a playoff game, even if Deron has lost a step. D Rose defending Deron Williams on a year of rust could have been really ugly. Just my take.

  6. […] A fan rant in defense of Derrick Rose (poorscholars.com) […]

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