When Michael Jordan retired, Tracy McGrady became my favorite player in the NBA. He was unguardable. When you’re 6’8 with a long wingspan, that can shoot, attack, post-up, rebound, and create for others, you can’t be stopped. The only that did stop him was injuries. Besides the fact he was never the same player, he never played for my favorite team.
When Derrick Rose was drafted to the Chicago Bulls in 2008, I instantly became a fan. Once I saw his energy and heart, him and McGrady shared being my favorites in the NBA.
Rose became the engine of the organization. He gave hope to a franchise that has been in the cellar since the Jordan era. I mean, yes we had the “Baby Bulls” but we weren’t a title contender then. D.Rose elevated the expectations in the city. We, as Chicago fans, “Bullieved” that we can return to the glory days. Nobody was more important and had a bigger impact for a team than Rose was during his MVP season in 2011.
Rose has had his number of injuries including a torn ACL and a torn meniscus. Even then, Rose showed his efforts of fighting through rigorous rehabilitation to try to get back to MVP form. This past season, he looked like his explosiveness was back to elite status more times than not.
It’s sad that he has carried the weight of his city on his back for so many years (he didn’t have any help for multiple seasons) that when he finally has help, his career is derailed by injuries. Also, a lot of fans have turned on him because he’s not the Derrick Rose that they are used to seeing (even though he’s been in the top 5 in jersey sales since his MVP season).
The fact that my favorite player, who happens to play on my favorite team (also born and raised in Chicago), is traded away, it takes something out of you. My Bulls didn’t play well last year and that probably won’t change this year (pending something drastic). With Rose gone, that extra nudge… that determination, dedication, motivation… that initial spark that generated hope for the city just died.
And what a lot of people don’t know is that not only he was humble on the court, he was humble off the court as well. Rose was active in the community. He paid for a funeral for a kid that was murdered. He spoke up for the teachers of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) who went on strike. D.Rose also donated money to help bring up the community.
Now that he belongs to the New York Knicks, I’m torn. I will always be a Bulls fan, but I will buy a Derrick Rose Knicks jersey and/or shirt. He will continue to be my favorite player. Also, I hope he has career nights against the Bulls just to show management that they made a mistake. He has too much heart to give up and too much motivation to fail.