Chicago is not just a city. It is a space represented by moguls. Anywhere represented by a powerhouse like Oprah Winfrey should be praised and held at a higher standard. Of course her contributions to the world of athletics are very little to none. But, the fact that her name is tied to the state allows the thought of accolades and plentiful mentions of success stream into your mind.
Who can forget Michael Jordan? The man and the legend that walked in Chicago with a chip on his shoulder for absolutely no reason at all. Jordan had nothing to prove to his critics, because there were rarely any.
His efforts at North Carolina spoke monuments to the talent that he would be and even when in opposing arenas he was favored. The only naysays were those who were shaken by the amount of attention he was receiving in his first year in the league, but those are problems that only your average hooper cannot overcome. Jordan was and still is considered the finest the franchise had to offer.
However, there is a young man slowly rising in the ranks that would appreciate being considered as well.
Chicago’s own Derrick Rose is not a man of many words. You will not see him lambasting his squad for things they should have done or screaming at his coach about his time out of the game. He blends well into the inner-workings of the Bulls and every man on that team appreciates him for what he has done even in the absence of their own efforts.
In the playoffs series against the Indiana Pacers, we all knew what the outcome would be. But even in the face of an NBA Goliath, the Pacers were willing to do everything within their power to make the Bulls fight for every victory. On the other side of the court, however, there was a young man too motivated by the threat of failure. He was not going to allow Indiana more than two feet in the door.
In Game 4 of the playoffs series against the Indiana Pacers, Rose went down after he rolled his ankle on a drive towards the basket. He went out and everyone held their breath. Without Rose, the train was without the proper mechanics to survive any regular season game, let alone any postseason contests. It was not unknown to the public or his comrades that the loss of him would be it. Rose knew this himself. So, what did he do?
Did he diva-play his injury throughout the rest of the series so everyone could pat him twice as hard on the back for struggling through it? Did it serve as an excuse for any inconsistencies in his game?
Rose stepped back on the court and played the game like his team needed him to. He was not babied by his coach, nor did he expect to be. The moment he began regular playing time, in such a crucial part of Chicago’s season, he took full responsibility for everything he would and would not be able to do after his return.
The eventual result of Game 4, was a loss at Indiana, and it was something that would not sit too well with the regular season MVP. He scored his lowest total of the entire postseason that he would score against any of his opponents. The series was not lost but Rose was not playing as explosive as Rose should have been.
Fans did not blame him. But he blamed himself. A true leader takes the primary blame for a loss and spreads the credit for the victory. Game 4 was not a result of his injury, but it was a result of his shots simply being too short to make it.
“A sprained ankle is going to slow you down a little bit, but all of my shots were on line,” he said. “They were just short. No excuses. It’s the playoffs. I’ve sprained my ankle many times, you’ve just got to make shots.”
That statement embodies everything that Rose means to the Chicago franchise. He is the spirit and the push that the Bulls need to make it to the next level. Even with the emergence of the Big 3 in Miami, Derrick Rose still gives Chicago a chance at victory at the highest level the league has to offer.
In the new era of point guard importance we are dawning upon, Rose is the ideal fraction of a franchise necessary to succeed. He has the speed to elude anyone attempting to forego a scoring attempt. Rose is the definition of athleticism. There is no acrobatic move that he has not introduced the world to during one of his daring drives to the hoop. Rose has all the characteristics that a team could desire or require.
In time, he will rise in the ranks of the league, but for now he seems particularly fond of his place.
Young, able and eager.