Will Derrick Rose's Lack of Personality Effect His Legacy?

Without a doubt, Derrick Rose is one of the most unique players in the league and one of the most unique point guards of all time.

He makes a strong argument to be the most athletic point guard we’ve seen since Magic Johnson, perhaps ever.

His game is constantly improving, he has led his team to the Conference Finals and won an MVP, all before he was 24 years old.

By no means am I denying how good he is nor how good he could be, but Rose is severely lacking something that the other stars in the league and the other stars that have come before him have in an abundance.


You always hear commentators talking about how Rose’s facial expression never changes whether he’s 0/20 or 20/20, whether he has just dunked on someone’s face or missed a buzzer beater. They say how they admire this, but it never seemed right to me. I just dismissed it as him holding a killer poker face, that was until I saw his comments made following the recent All Star Game in Orlando.

When Rose emerged up the steps during the Eastern Conference All Stars announcements, he was the only guy without a smile on his face. He looked like a kid that had been dragged to the supermarket by his mother.

LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were all smiling, waving and dancing away as Rose stood there like he was above it all.

“There’s a time and place for that and I don’t think it was right, then and there”.

Excuse me?

“There’s a time and place for that and I don’t think it was right, then and there”.

One more time, I must have heard you wrong.

“There’s a time and place for that and I don’t think it was right, then and there”.

There’s a time and place for dancing, but a glorified exhibition game as voted by the fans where you emerge on a stage with smoke and fireworks with dancers and rappers all around you, is not the place?

A few ways I can attack this.

I can be overly dramatic and emotional sports fan guy:

Who are you Derrick Rose? Who are you to comment or criticise on what the others are doing? It’s an All Star Game buddy, zip it up. I didn’t hear LeBron or Dwight come out to the media asking why you were standing there like a sulking child, motionless as the rest of the building rocked out, so what gives you the right to have even the slightest sigh of judgement over your TEAMMATES enjoying themselves?

I can be show some respect guy:

You are the worst player of that starting 5, you are the only one that cannot perform for the crowd that voted you in, but most of all you take shots at those who did? Show some respect kid you haven’t gotten close to earning the right to say that kind of crap yet.

I can be obnoxious Chicago sports fan guy:

Unlike the rest of the stars out there, Derrick Rose respects the game. He doesn’t have time for any of that clowning around. He gets into game mode and has one goal in mind. I love what he said, shows he takes it more seriously than those other buffoons. 

I can be unbearable bandwagon guy (most of the country):

LeBron is a choker.

Let’s move past those cliches and onto the issue I brought forth.

Clearly Derrick Rose is never going to be the energetic, enthusiastic, outgoing sportsman that you either love or hate, but one way or another you feel very strongly about. He doesn’t have it in him. I don’t know what he’s like with his friends or family or girlfriend, but it must be early bed times in the Rose household, no fun going on there.

When you look back over time, what still resonates today is that the stars with the greatest legacies more often than not had a larger than life personality.

Michael Jordan was as known for his attitude, his will, his confidence and his competitiveness as he was for his play. Sure Rose has all of that, but he doesn’t talk about it. Michael Jordan never shut up about it.

Kobe Bryant is the same. Always gritting his teeth, talking at opponents, getting scrappy, yelling at teammates and coaches.

Then you have the opposite yet still hugely outgoing stars.

LeBron James is as friendly and free spirited a star as you will ever see. He has secret handshakes with every teammate he plays with, dances before, sometimes during and after games, plays with the media, pulls pranks on anyone in the building.

Magic Johnson had the golden smile.

Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley were brutes who wanted everyone to know they were the toughest dudes on the court.

I can go on and on, but you get the point.

If you have a look at the greatest players of the past few decades, there are very few that are as guarded and downright boring as Derrick Rose.

So as sport evolves into this saturation of tabloid desires, as stars look to move to big markets for business opportunities and social media becomes more powerful by the second, will a star like Derrick Rose be considered less of a player than he is because he has no impact off the court?

Well at the moment, I can’t see it happening. Why? Because he is the darling of the league. Some people have the nerve to call him the best player in the league, or at least top 3. He isn’t the best point guard in the league, so that is ridiculous.

Everyone’s hate of LeBron has elevated Rose to a level he is not on.

However, once this wears off and we realise that Derrick Rose is less interesting than the Charlotte Bobcats, I can definitely see him losing a lot of the gloss he has collected en route to becoming one of the faces of the league. The fact he plays in Chicago, and on a very good team means that the decline won’t be so brutal or obvious, but I still believe it will effect his stance in the memory of those remembering his era in the NBA.

The most recent and relevant parallel I can draw to this is Tim Duncan. Duncan is a four time NBA champion. He is quite possibly the greatest ever at his position AND he is one of the most respected players in the history of the league.

He averages 11.3 rebounds for his career. FOR HIS CAREER. Add to that 20 points and 2 blocks and you’ve got one hell of a player. He is playing less minutes this season than any other season in his career and is still registering 15 points and 9 rebounds. If you average that out to his normal playing time, he’s above career numbers, at age 35.

Yet Kevin Garnett still holds a much greater reputation and standing, at least amongst the media and fans, despite having 3 less titles. Garnett is an amazing player and may even be on the same level if not better, but why is he such a household name and not Duncan?

I think a lot of it has to do with personality. Tim Duncan is a very quiet, very respectful guy who has been in the newspapers 4 times during his 15 years in the league. Those were the four championships. He never creates a stir, never gets in trouble, never calls anyone out. Duncan is a victim of his own demeanour.

KG could not be more opposite. Always in the papers, always yapping at the media, at the fans, at his teammates, at his opposition, at his coaches, at opposition coaches. Making gang signs to the camera, screaming during interviews, crawling down the court like a wild dog, fighting. He is outrageous. Love him or hate him, you feel strongly about him and everyone knows who is he and what he does.

I can’t say the same for Tim Duncan.

You can make the argument that he plays in tiny market of San Antonio, but KG was still a huge personality in Minnesota, LeBron was in Cleveland, Dwight is in Orlando, Barkley was in Philadelphia and Pheonix, the list goes on.

To those that really know their stuff, Duncan is as good as there has been. If Rose continues to improve as he has done, he could be on the level with some of the greats.

But in the end, the thing that separates stars from being all encompassing historic superstars is not necessarily their ability to play the game. It’s their ability to sell their game.

Perhaps it is harsh of me to say his sleeping pill of a personality will ultimately condemn his legacy to that of a lower standing, but surely you cannot argue that it will effect his popularity?

Does popularity have an impact on legacy?

Give us a smile, Derrick.

It may be for your own sake.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Carmelo Anthony Charles Barkley Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Dwyane Wade Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant LA Lakers Lebron James Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat Michael Jordan Minnesota Timberwolves Philadelphia 76ers San Antonio Spurs Shaquille O'neal Tim Duncan

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