A sad fall from basketball grace

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The story of Derrick Rose was just predestined to be something special: A humble, soft-spoken kid coming from the poverty-filled neighborhoods of the south side of Chicago gets drafted to play for his hometown team. It also helps that the city has been starving for another transcendent player since the great Michael Jordan retired. It was great for the city of Chicago, and it was that much more poetic because it couldn’t of happened to a better individual. Derrick Rose instantly caught the NBA’s attention. He became a fan favorite throughout the entire league. It was such a spectacle for everyone to watch Rose play because there’s only been a select few of guys who play like Derrick Rose: superior athleticism and explosive leaping ability packaged together with point guard skills. It felt like a privilege for all viewers to witness across the country, and for the NBA’s sake, he was box office( which means more generated revenue). He sold tickets, shoes, jerseys and sold out arenas. With the NBA being such a star-driven league, Derrick Rose was everything that it wanted and needed. The marketability of this young star was everything sponsors across the country were looking for. Derrick Rose went on to be the NBA’s youngest player to ever win MVP at the age of 22, and he led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals in a losing effort against the Miami Heat. But even though Rose and his Bulls were unsuccessful in that series, It was inevitable that this guy would go on to be one of the greatest talents that the NBA has ever seen. But unfortunately, there would be a roadblock to Derrick Rose’s journey of greatness occur during the 2012 NBA playoffs…

The first injury: April 28, 2012

The diagnosis for that injury would result in Derrick Rose missing the rest of the NBA Playoffs and all of the following season due to a torn right ACL. I remember the injury just sucking the life out of the entire United Center.The Bulls won, but there was obviously another issue the Bulls’ fans were concerned about. It was a black eye to the 2012 NBA playoffs because it was losing one its premier stars in one its grandest showcases. For the Chicago Bulls, it was losing its hometown franchise player that put the Chicago Bulls back on the basketball map and relevancy. For the NBA, it was losing one of its more marketable players that was box office for a league that is run off its player’s star power. The show known as Derrick Rose would be put on a complete hold.

It was time for the Chicago Bulls and the NBA to move on from one of its more embraced and beloved players for an extended period of time.

Like I said earlier, the NBA, in my opinion, is successful as a corporation because they know how to market its product(which are the players). With the NBA, as a corporation, being the successful marketing entity that it is, it found a way how to use Derrick Rose’s injury as a marketing stunt. They collaborated with Adidas- the shoe brand Derrick Rose was sponsored by- and made a series of ads on television and Twitter titled “#TheReturn” to build anticipation for Rose’s heroic return back to the NBA hardwood. Prior to this year’s NBA season starting, Adidas came out with an ad titled “Basketball is everything“, which displays how much fame and money basketball has given Derrick Rose. But the ad reminds us that it’s about the love for the game of basketball; it is life for Derrick Rose. The ads were very reminiscent for what Nike did for Michael Jordan’s brand.

So fast-forwarding to this year, Derrick Rose made his anticipated return back to prominence. He finally could get to the Derrick Rose we all knew and loved. He started out the year rusty, but everyone just knew he would get back to his old form. Even if he wasn’t back to being the superstar Derrick Rose, the league and its fan were just happy to have him back. So all was good. What could go wrong? Well, as we all know by now , this happened…

The second injury: November 22, 2013

Unfortunately that happen, and it was the other knee this time( left torn meniscus). This injury just leaves all of basketball asking one question: “why?” How could this happen to such a good person like Derrick Rose? What did he ever do to the basketball gods to deserve this? It was inevitable that this guy was on the path to basketball greatness. The first injury just felt like a roadblock to Derrick Rose’s rise, but this time it just feels like more of a permanent mark is being left. Keep in mind that this injury is not just a physical hurdle for Rose, it is psychological as well. His game is predicated off his quickness and leaping ability. Do you think it’s easy to mentally come back to a fast-paced NBA game if both of your knees are hobbled? I don’t. And on top of that, you’re expected to come back to a team you figuratively carry on your back. You have to look at this situation from the Chicago Bulls perspective too. Even though Rose has carried the franchise, the Bulls, at the end of the day , are a business. It’s the inconvenient truth about professional sports that we all hate to hear: It’s all about making money. I don’t want to be too cynical, but they have to consider the possibility of moving on from Rose. I’m not interpreting that they should release him from the team; he’s still a valuable asset. But as the centerpiece of the franchise, I’m not sure if Rose is that person or even capable anymore. Trust me, it pains me inside to even write this about one of my favorite players, but the Bulls have to do what’s best for the Bulls. This could be just the beginning of the moving on process for the Chicago Bulls. Major questions have to be answered for the franchise: Luol Deng’s contract is almost up, do they pay him his 15-16 million a year he’s likely going to want. Carlos Boozer is getting older and an undersized power forward that struggles against bigger players, do you make a commitment to him? For Derrick Rose, you have to wonder what the game plan is now. His brother, Reggie Rose, is also his manager and makes a lot of vital decisions for Derrick Rose’s brand. He received a little criticism last year for comments he made about his brother’s elongated return. So how will he handle the situation this time around? But it remains to be seen, and it is unfortunate. We already went through this saga last year, and it just had to happen again. It’s extremely sad, but we could possibly be looking at Derrick Rose as a “what could of been” player.

Stay tuned for when I compare Derrick Rose to a former NBA player who situation was similar to Rose’s…


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