I’ll be the first to admit that I am extremely biased towards Chicago Bulls Basketball star Derrick Rose. Although if I were to be born away from Chicago and its great basketball tradition I am beginning to realize I would love him just the same. One of the most humble, hard working and genuine athletes I have ever seen, you cannot help but cheer for Rose, and the city of Chicago.
A Brief History.
Derrick Rose grew up in the high-risk, high violence ridden Southside neighborhood of englewood. It is not uncommon to hear about shootings on a daily bases, in-fact it has unfortunately become the norm. From a young age Derrick’s basketball skills set him apart from his peers and while attending Simeon High School and everyone knew he had a ticket out of the ghetto. After graduation he was offered a full athletic scholarship to Memphis University where he guided his team to the national championship. What happens next, you could not even begin to make up.
After Rose’s freshman year at Memphis he declared himself eligible for the 2008 NBA draft, and was projected to go number one right away. Coincidentally the struggling Chicago Bulls had just won the draft lottery and with it, the number one pick. The stars were aligned that day, and with the first pick in the 2008 NBA draft the Chicago Bulls selected home grown point guard Derrick Rose. Since that time Derrick Rose has guided the Bulls back to relevance and has once again made Bulls games the hottest ticket in town. Already earning NBA Rookie of the year and MVP awards, the future is bright for both Rose and the Bulls.
Not Your Typical Superstar.
Now that we have some context under our belt, lets dive into the heart of the matter. I believe Derrick Rose is a very rare professional sports super star. He does not walk around with the typical swagger of the likes of Kobe or LeBron, and certainly does not put on a spectacle like Dwight Howard, or fake glasses like Brian Westbrook. The big lights, city and media have yet to change or deter Rose from who he really is – just kid who loves to play basketball, and loves to win.
Athletes these days are not just athletes. They are brands, endorsing their products and others that they have signed on with. They are movie stars, TV stars, entertainers featured in the tabloids; in many cases basketball seems to be the furthest thing on their minds. Not Rose. In my opinion, ever since he set foot on a court and started bouncing that ball, it has always been about basketball. No matter how big an Adidas contract he signs, or how big his NBA contract is, it will always be about basketball. For some reason all the unnecessary details of being a professional athlete have no affect on Rose, and it shows in his play, his personality and his love of the game. The simple fact is Rose is determined to be the best basketball player he can be, and the rest is just details.
Humble. Hard Working. Genuine.
I am a big believer in judging people by the content of their character. It is impossible to fake your true character. Every day we are tested to show our character, and everyone knows when you are not being truthful. In the life of a superstar your decisions and character are magnified that much more. Derrick Rose again, has no problem with this. For being as big of a star as he is, I have yet to see someone as humble, hard working and genuine as Rose. Like your character, these three traits you cannot fake.
These traits mixed with his passion for basketball and the city of Chicago make him one of the most loved people in the city of Chicago, and I believe he will be the most loved when his time is over. Yes, even more than the great Michael Jordan himself.
When rose went down in a 2012 playoff game due to a knee injury you could hear a pin drop at the United Center. But the arena was not silent because our hopes of winning a championship were gone, but because everyone in the city of Chicago knows who Derrick Rose is, on another level. We were concerned for him as a person, not a basketball player. We didn’t see an NBA millionaire, we saw a kid from Chicago who was hurt and screaming out because he knew his passion was going to be taken away. Chicago is a midwestern city that prides itself on it’s people, and there was no better night to understand this idea than that night. We felt for Derrick that night, just like he has been feeling for Chicago ever since he set foot on a basketball court.
Calling for More.
Derrick Rose has brought character back to the spot light in a world that has been missing it for too long. Today we are surrounded by greed, corruption, over indulging and an unaware population. Rose is a breath of fresh air, and a living example that being genuine, honest, sincere, hard working and living with passion is the only way to live life. Too many times do we turn on the news and see the opposite. There are people out there like Derrick, we just do not see them enough. In the crazy world we live in who would have thought it would be just an average kid from the southside of Chicago who was good at basketball to remind us all of this?
The world needs more heros, idols, NBA superstars like Derrick Rose. His charter, drive and passion are an inspiration to us all.
Thank you Derrick, for being yourself.